Wednesday 3 November 2010

No Country For Old Men (2007) - Coen Brothers

I can't help but feel this is a bit overrated, though after the amount of awards this has won, I'm probably in the minority here.

The central theme of the film is chance, but the narrative is quite simple.  Set in 1980s Texas, an ordinary man, Llewelyn Moss (Brolin), discovers a crime scene and chances upon a bag of cash.  But a hitman (Bardem) is sent to recover the money, whilst a cop (Jones) is also on the case and a game of cat and mouse ensues between the three men.  My main problem with the film is the slow pace.  For me it lacked vital tension, which is largely due to Bardem who just didn't feel as threatening as the film would have you believe.  All his talking is done via shotgun.  Further, this is very sparse film-making.  The narrative is relatively simple yet drags out longer than it should.  The soundtrack is pretty much non-existent, with just a few splashes of diagetic music.  There's not a huge amount of dialogue either, but the actors mumble their way through with such strong southern accents they're unintelligible. 

On the plus side, the film is beautifully shot.  The wide vistas of the opening are particularly impressive and prove it was worth buying that HD TV - on Blu-Ray every grain of sand is detailed.  But so much screen time is given to the visuals and creating atmosphere, the film feels a bit self-indulgent without a truly gripping narrative to back them up.  The ending especially is incredibly drawn out - I was just plain bored and wanted it to finish.

It's certainly a film worth watching and the Coen brothers are excellent directors.  I just found it a bit disappointing.