No Country For Old Men (2007)

Psycho haircut, qu’est-ce que c’est? This was such a popular film that Wikipedia has a separate page just for the awards it won or was nominated for, and the main entry notes it appeared on no fewer than 354 critics’ top ten lists for that year and topped 90 of those. I’ve clearly missed something, then, and I wish I could work out what. I suspect at least part of that is a rationale for setting the story in 1980, other than the fact that the book it’s taken from was set then, cos I didn’t feel the film actually made much of its period setting (I gather the book offers a bit more justification if the Wiki description is right) other than Javier Bardem’s hair… it’s much more about place than it is time, and, just as I said Miller’s Crossing evinced a terrific feel for rooms with big empty spaces, this film similarly evinces a similarly terrific feel for its locale, the specific way the people there talk, that sort of thing. This story could’ve been an urban noir, or it could’ve been a classical Western, and it’s interesting insofar as it both updates and combines both of those things. Beyond that, frankly, I’ve got to chalk it up as another Coen brothers film (seven out of fourteen so far, or sixteen if you count portmanteau segments) that I just don’t particularly care about. And I know that, at least to some extent, the film is about the failure of Tommy Lee Jones’ Texan county sheriff to adequately face the reality of the changing modern world before him (as represented by Bardem’s psycho Chigurh), but there’s something about his utter uselessness—I mean, what does he actually do?—that, in the end, is just infuriating. No film for this old man, sorry.

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