Sunday, 27 January 2008
The Good, The Bad and the Cinematic: No Country For Old Men
Never has a film struck me on all fronts quite so immediately as No Country For Old Men. From the opening scenes and the fantastic Texan slur of Tommy Lee Jones' monologue until the end credits started to roll there is barely a moment when the intelligent viewer is not in awe at this film, a true benchmark in the quality of cinema.
Visually, No Country is strikingly shot, and stunning throughout. The Coens have an eye for the little things that make the scene in much the same way as Spielberg does - scuff marks on the floor add to the terror of an early murder, even once it has long finished, a dead dog just increases the horror of the discovery of a drug deal gone wrong.
All three of the lead actors (and that is, really, what they should be described as) deserve Oscars for their roles. That only Javier Bardem was nominated - and in a supporting role, at that - is a minor crime. That isn't to say he doesn't deserve it, beyond a doubt Bardem is the strongest contender for said award. His heartless killer is a more human, and thus more terrifying, equivalent of the Terminator - his air-powered murder weapon a chillingly original tool to death.
Tommy Lee Jones, in what must be at least his fifth fugitive-chasing role, does not let this one slide by. As ever, his performance is well-placed, well-judged and impeccably acted, adding both wit and pathos to a film already subtly soaked in both.
It is so hard to say everything there is to say about this film - everything that makes it so wonderful, so worthwhile and so rewarding. A necessary watch.