DAILY FILM DOSE: A Daily Film Appreciation and Review Blog: TIFF REPORT #13 - No Country For Old Men

Sunday, 16 September 2007

TIFF REPORT #13 - No Country For Old Men

No Country for Old Men (dir by Joel and Ethan Coen) 2007
Starring: Josh Brolin, Javier Bardem, Tommy Lee Jones, Kelly MacDonald


Guest review by Blair Stewart

Here's a last Toronto review to come your way. It's the most buzzed about film, Coen's instant classic - "No Country For Old Men".

A mean son-of-a-bitch of a film, the Coen brothers have shaken off the light-weight doldrums of "Intolerable Cruelty" and "The Ladykillers" for a return to their "Blood Simple" roots with an adaptation of Cormac McCarthy's neo-western "No Country for Old Men".

Laconic Vietnam veteran Moss (Josh Brolin) is out hunting antelope in the backcountry of early 80's West Texas when he discovers the remains of a Mexican drug deal turned "colossal goat-fuck" as one character puts it mildly. Finding $2 million convinces him to pack up his little lady (Kelly Macdonald) and leave his trailer park existence behind for the open road, with some help from the remaining drug dealers and an angel of death embodied by Javier Bardem nipping as his heels. Meanwhile, Tommy Lee Jones is Sherriff
Ed Tom Bell, cleaning up their messes and anticipating their next moves.

A relentless thriller that curls and doubles-back on itself like a desert snake, "No Country for Old Men" strength comes from its unpredictable plot shifts, unconventional casting, awe-inspiring bloodlust (Bardem mows down half of the entire cast, and would make mincemeat of Hannibal Lector), and dry, brittle Texas dialogue.

This is return to form for the Coens after their recent audience-friendly work, the characters have been tripped of caricature and the humour is shaded with misery, hopefully a sign of maturity in their subsequent work, like the impact of "The Unforgiven" on Clint Eastwood's as a director. Highly recommended, just be sure to shield your eyes.

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