Tuesday, September 9, 2008

No Country For Old Men

While watching No Country For Old Men I was reminded of those dreams where you are being chased, but you can't run. The harder you try to run, it seems the slower you go...and the whole time your blood is pumping. That's about the best way I can describe this film. It doesn't necessarily move fast...it sort of drops you into the middle of a story that has already started evolving and ambles toward a conclusion that leaves you almost as perplexed as the beginning. Yet the entire easy paced ride keeps your blood pumping. There is something to be said for cinema that can keep you pumped without the constant motion that some films seem to thrive on.

I'm going to start with the casting, because the Coen brothers film really relies on strong acting to pull this one off. They did a tremendous job of casting this film. Tommy Lee Jones is the perennial good guy, sprouting up in films with uncanny regularity. He is the kind of guy that you can instantly accept as a hero...and his part in this film was actually minor. Javier Bardem was brilliantly cast in the bad-guy role. He is a creepy dude in this film and utterly believable. I would hate to meet him in a sun-lit room filled with people, nevermind a dark alley. I saw Josh Brolin recently in American Gangster and thought he did a decent job. In that film he played a bad guy. In No Country he plays a role that is somewhere in between. He sells the part, and does a great job of taking us along with him on a trip that belongs primarily to him. The other supporting cast were selected well, but none necessarily worthy of mentioning specifically.

Recreating 1980...This film is set in 1980. Exactly 1980. There were a few references that made me scratch my head, so I checked them out. One was a reference to getting money from an ATM Machine. My bank didn't have an ATM Machine in 1980...I googled it and found that ATMs were introduced in the late 1970s, so this fact checked out. Overall, the clothing and hairstyles had a very 1980 feel. 1980 was sort of an odd time period, somewhere between the Disco era and that 80s look that some of us are trying to forget (knit ties, parachute pants, Michael Jackson zipper leather coats...need I say more?) The costume people did an excellent job of recreating 1980. I didn't notice any clothing that seemed out of period in this film.

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