Movie worth seeing.
Dad and best friend Scott and I went to the movie house today to see No Country For Old Men, a movie based on the book by Cormac McCarthy, who's one of my favorite living authors.
Go see this thing in the theatre. There's a lot of subtlety in the sounds that make a person turn around, and the change in shadow that imply that a bad guy approaches, which will get lost on the small screen.
The Cohen Brothers have managed to get past the fatal flaw that they showed in Fargo: they've quit making fun of a regional culture. Good for them.
This movie takes place in southwest Texas in the summer of 1980. (Side note: they took some liberties with location, sometimes portraying mountains 90 miles from the location that was supposed to be the setting. That area of Texas is vast. Eagle Pass is almost 500 miles by road from El Paso, and both places are set in the movie. All of that is west of San Antonio.)
In the first few minutes of the movie, a welder (portrayed by Josh Brolin) hunting pronghorn in the high mesas finds the remains of a drug deal gone wrong. He ignores the tons of heroin, and looks for and finds the money.
You find yourself wondering if you're supposed to like the man. He's sly. He's a little insensitive to the fact that he's rooting around the bodies of several dead men for the cash. He's a little greasy, and he lies to his wife some, to start with.
I found myself liking the character. I liked him a lot.
That's a mistake, when you read one of McCarthy's novels. He'll endear a guy to you, so that it'll tear your heart when you see what they go through.
Tommy Lee Jones finally is in a movie where he's not playing a cocky man shouting orders and saying witty things fast. He is an aging sheriff, who doesn't hide the fact that he doesn't understand what the hell is going on with the world. He is from a different breed than what he is seeing today. And he's beginning to suspect that the world's always been different from what he understood it to be. The only people that he can really talk to are old people.
Let me say this about Jones' performance as Sheriff Ed Tom Bell: I know this man. I've been around him for years, wearing different faces, standing different heights, and carrying different weights. They mostly all spoke with a drawl, and they all wondered sometimes how it all got to be so crazy. Between McCarthy, the Cohens, and Jones, I saw the bewildered squint of people that I've known personally, perplexed and aghast.
The bad guy was a deliciously sinister madman, and you get this from the way he quietly picks an argument with a store clerk. The clerk knows that he needs to be very afraid, even though no overt threat has been leveled against him. The bad guy has an odd array of weaponry, which I'll leave to you to find out about.
Shotguns figure heavily in the movie. An autoloader (M1100?) of the bad guy's, modified in a way I've never seen (I'll let you go see it yourself), and an 1897 Winchester that Brolin's character cuts down with a hacksaw fore and aft are both particularly evident, along with an unseen model of shotgun early in the movie that makes a nasty but not fatal shoulder wound. Also seen are a bumper-chromed Government Model and the sheriff's custom 1911, carried hammer-down on a loaded chamber with a thong loop on the holster. His deputy had some blued K-frame (Probably a M19, though I really didn't notice if the sights were adjustable or not.).
The worst part about this movie was that they cast that idiot Woody Harrelson to play a small supporting role in it. I suppose that it's somewhat comforting that the guy he plays is also a cocky jerk, but no matter; he doesn't belong in the movie. If I'm not making myself clear, then let me be plain: I personally think the actor (I'm not confusing the the actor with the roles he played) Woody Harrelson is a frickin' moron, and I think that his acting is over the top. I won't say that I wouldn't micturate upon the man if he was afire, because, hey-- it's not every day that you get to piss on a dumbass and get congratulated for it.
I could stand to see a little more of that actress Kelly MacDonald.
The movie does not end the way you expect it to, unless you've been tipped off.
You're left thinking of some of the conversations that hung in the air like smoke, between the killings.
Two thumbs up. Way up. Matt G sez Check It Out.