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PHOTOGRAPHY

NO COUNTRY FOR OLD MEN
DVD Review by David Blackwell

DETAILS: 122 minutes, three featurettes
VIDEO: 2.35:1 (Anamorphic Widescreen)
AUDIO: English 5.1 Dolby Surround
Subtitles: English SDH, French, Spanish

STUDIO: Miramax/ Paramount Vantage/ Scott Rudin Productions/ Mike Zoss Productions
Theatrical RELEASE DATE: 11-9-2007 (limited), 11-21-2007 (wide release)
DVD RELEASE DATE: 3-11-2008


"What's the most you ever lost on a coin toss?"- Anton Chigurh

Hunter Llewellyn Moss (Josh Brolin) comes across the aftermath of a shootout between a drug deal gone wrong (out in the middle of the desert). He picks up $2 million in cash. He makes the fateful mistake of coming back and it unleashes sociopathic killer Anton Chigurh (Javier Bardem) on his trail acorss Texas. Sheriff Bell (Tommy Lee Jones) hears about Anton's trail of carnage while he hopes he can protect Moss. Moss has a fate in store ofr him. How can he survive when you have a killer who will never budge?

Javier Bardem is chilling as Anton Chigurh. Josh Brolin pulls in a good performance as a guy who is just as clever as Chigurh. It just seems every other actor is wasted in NO COUNTRY FOR OLD MEN as you wait for them to connect with the story more instead of just act as ciphers to satisfy the plot. It is a good film, but NO COUNTRY FOR OLD MEN is no masterpiece. It is flawed just like the characters within the film. They make their own mistakes that cost them. Llewellyn's choices also dooms another character. Just to think what would his life be like if he made different choices (and maybe at least not come back to give water to a dying Mexican drug thug). Fate is what we make it. Cigurh may be evil and seemly unstoppable (he even keeps going after taking time to tend to injuries). the choices the characters make sets in motion what haapens to them.


NO COUNTRY FOR OLD MEN is a fantastic film for the 100 minutes before the Cohen Brothers pull a funny on the audiences that leave many audience members wondering where is the rest of the film. All the characters build during the story as you think there will be a big payoff which ends in not much. Many will say it is meant to be that way. I know NO COUNTRY FOR OLD MEN is meant to be an unconventional narrative, but I wanted the fate of one character to be shown onscreen and not just the bloody aftermath. It pays a disservice to at least a few viewers. You can be bold with your storytelling. Just be careful how clever you get. Maybe the Cohen Brothers were too clever for their own good. However a second viewing (the first on DVD) haws made me understand the last 20 minutes more. You see events through the living and not the dead which means many main character deaths are off-screen. The characters intersect into events often after the fact.

SPECIAL FEATURES: Only three featurettes grace the extras and no theatrical trailer for the film. No audio commentary is a thing to be expected for the Cohen brothers since they hardly ever do them.

THE MAKING OF NO COUNTRY FOR OLD MEN tells what attracted teh Cohen Brothers to adapt the novel, the actors talk about their characters and the story, and a look at the make-up and visual effects in the film.

WORKING WITH THE COHENS- cats and crew explain how it is to work with the two directors and their input (and allowing for input from others) on costumes and props among a few things.

DIARY OF A COUNTRY SHERIFF- Tommy Lee Jones and other discuss the character of Sheriff Bell.

FINAL ANALYSIS: NO COUNTRY FOR OLD MEN is an interesting film. The narrative is different, but repeat viewings make the experience even more rewarding. Too bad the DVD didn't have more extras than the three featurettes.

this DVD review is (c)3-6-2008 David Blackwell and cannot be reprinted without permission. send all comments to lord_pragmagtic@hotmail.com  

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