DIRECTORS: Joel Coen & Ethan Coen
Winner of the coveted Best Picture Oscar for 2008, I really wasn’t sure what to expect from his film. The Coen’s sense of humour, whilst amusing me, often leaves me a little cold whilst their sense of irony and universal observations of human nature can begin to grate on me after a while. Fargo must be their best work to date, with me residing firmly in the camp that The Big Labowski wasn’t all that it was cracked up to be. Other efforts such as Intolerable Cruelty have struck a chord but the Coen Brothers are what they are, and you either like it or you don’t.
But then, No Country For Old Men turns up, and whilst defiantly rooted in their style, this was the Coen’s done to a tee. A perfect blend of drama, thrills and all of the above, leaving me tense from start to finish. I don’t want to go into the plot as I went in cold, and am so very glad that I did. But I will say that the cast, all of them, did themselves proud, with big hitters such as Tommy Lee Jones and Josh Brolin, leading cast of other up and coming great talents, such a the remarkable Javiar Bardem. Britain’s very own Kelly MacDonald of Trainspotting fame was first class in this also, utterly convincing as a Texan trailer park wife, even though she’s very Scottish, certainly putting Sean Connery’s Scottich/Russian submariner to shame!
The same for Bardem, Spanish by birth, portrayed a psychopathic American with frightening power, subtle yet menacing for every moment that he’s on-screen, and even when he’s not. The film is not for the faint hearted that’s for sure, gripping with a relentless tension throughout, atmospherically and precisely directed, the 117 minutes do not zip along, nor does it seem to drag. The plot plays out naturally, inventively and engrossing from the opening frame.
This is a great blend of performance meeting the narrative, the story being presented perfectly on the film, and since this is a relatively direct adaptation of the source novel, it’s admirable that they’ve managed to do this without losing the spirit of either. This is a film very worthy of an Academy Award, and is defiantly worth two hours of your time. Love it or hate it, this is a classic, a true film.