Saturday, 7 July 2018

NO COUNTRY FOR OLD MEN

The Modern Western! To quote +John Campion "chronicles of the modern West wresting with its own mythology". There's something delicious about this film. It's a 2007 Coen Brothers outing adapted from a book by Cormac McCarthy.

It stars Tommy Lee Jones as the cop, Javier Bardem as the psycho-fruit-loop and Josh Brolin as the bloke seeking greener grass. And that's where it starts. He stumbles on some drug money by chance and after thinking twice about it, decides that he's keeping it! (Nod to 'A Simple Plan'.) The people to whom the money belongs are not happy with that, so they set their fruit-loop onto the case in order to recover it. The police are trying their best to intercept the mayhem and protect those of their community from having made unwise decisions.

Javier Bardem, best known to me for his role in Woody Allen's 'Vicky Cristina Barcelona', plays his part so incredibly menacingly that you really fear what on earth is coming next and what he's capable of doing! He has a particular MO and style of dispatching undesirables which is very inventive! The others around him play their parts very well, particularly Kelly MacDonald, Josh Brolin's character's wife. Some of her scenes show real fear and dread for the situation in her face, from a starting point of happy-go-lucky.

Much of the class comes from the suspense when there's not violence and mayhem going on. There are various scenes which keep the viewer wide-eyed and on the edge of their seats - one being a protracted scene in a hotel room with our hero awaiting an attack. The silence and drama is eerie in this one, and various other scenes, as the directors keep the audience tense.

The direction, needless to say, along with the photography is quite brilliant and a joy to watch. The Coen brothers have made so many quality films now which have the wonderful hallmarks of European cinema, for the masses. The setting is deep south of America and into Mexico, so it's hot, dusty and dry. The same formula in fact, that often made Breaking Bad such a cut above, and indeed a Modern Western too, its own way. The modern western genre is so engaging - you're really expecting Clint Eastwood to turn up any minute!

All in all, it's a film that every adult must see. It's not so gory so as to put off a general audience, there's also enough to feed the bloodthirsty but the strength for me is in the suspense and scenes which keep you thinking and wondering about what's coming next. A lot of the scenes put the potential inside your head and don't actually show outcomes. It's a treat, too. As we see at least three times our anti-hero being left inside a scene with a potential victim and next cut is him coming out. Delightful. If you haven't, you must. Go get it!

As a footnote, whilst typing this review, I had so many feelings of deja vu but I've searched G+ to see if I've done it before, but I can't find it! It'll be interesting to see, if I have, if I said the same things ;-)

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