No Country for Old Med (2007)

“No Country for Old Men” (2007)


the children who got out of the sandbox

This film is a great experiment in many levels, it is one of the best uses of widescreen i’ve seen in recent productions. The photography is enviable, and i call attention to all the scenes taking place at the slaughter location. Day, night, down up, up down, all the situations and angles are tried, they all mean different things in different moments of the narration. It’s really good work. But there are questions to be reckoned, i think.

I’m convinced that most of the enjoyment one can take out of a film (or other creative work) is a matter of personal decision. Basically you have two choices: get superficial, or think/feel. The vast majority of the average cinema crowds work in the first case which basically translates into “did i like the story”, “did i like the performances” (on the basic level of convincing/artificial), and the prettiness of the images. For that kind of crowd, this film will work perfectly, because it is built with already seen situations/plots/characters. None of this is unusual, drug dealers, money, sheriffs, and the border with Mexico, Oh and the psychopat. With this lines, i’m not taking myself out of that average crowd. I work my ways in trying to understand what might be behind what i’ve seen. In this case, i don’t believe the Coens would simply go with the flow, and make what would be expected from other competent directors. But indeed, apparently they do… i suspect it was on purpose.

I like to check for self-reference in films, or metaphors to the real world machinery of things. I tried to make my one interpretation of the world i watched in this film and establish a possible relation that may have some logic, or none at all. It is important to say that i didn’t read the book, nor am acquainted to McCormack’s writing, but i think the influence of it may be felt in the narrative structure, of episodes which are parallel which from time to time intersect and connect (the Coens don’t often work this way). Anyway, i decided to watch this: we have a film starting in the aftermath of a slaughter. Several bodies, dispute over drug in a border territory, and a huge amount of money. This is staged for us, it is the section in the film where we are more forced to really see the set and be placed there. We have someone who is totally clueless about anything that has occurred, and fate/fortune takes him to find the money. And we have him being hunted for that. Check the hunter. Everybody thinks he is crazy, that “you (he) don’t have to do this”. But he never gives in a little bit. He has his own moral, he creates his rules, and he even gives fate a chance, when he uses a coin to decide on life or death. All and all he just seeks exactly the same as everybody else, the ‘macguffin’ (money), but somehow we know he has other motivations, though we really can’t tell what. This was made by two brothers, who are proud of being the ones who play in sandbox of the corner of Hollywood, make their games and don’t get annoyed by those who are “just” after the money. But hey, they also play the big game, they also produce in the context of the Moss and the Wells, and they are under the jurisdiction of the Bell. They are not independent in the bankrupt European vision, they are not even low cost filmmakers. They are stars, and the mediatic success of this film made them even more like stars. So I think i watched a game. The Coens putting crowds, investors, producers watching themselves running and fearing the Coens, and laughing. Undercovered irony. But i’ll add a catch to this possible game. The film filled many pockets, it is watched, and its success may turn it into some kind of a paradigm, of a style to be chased, copied, and recognizable. So who won the game?

And by the way, i think this is one the most “conventional” Coens films ever, conventional in relation to the Coens films as much as in relation to conventional films.

My opinion: 4/5, it’s playful to watch Joel and Ethan, but i think they’ve done better. But this is a good film

This comment on IMDb


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