Thursday, December 27, 2007
No Country for Old Men
We went to see "No Country for Old Men" this week. It's an impressive effort from the Coen Brothers based on a novel by Cormac McCarthy. Critics have already begun pushing it and its cast for Oscars, and rightly so. "Old Men" is as perfectly crafted as any film I have seen in the past decade. The cinematography by Roger Deakins, a long-time Coen collaborator, is excellent -- so is the acting by the principals and the score by Carter Burwell. The narrative is literate and faithful to the novel on which the film is based. The pacing is superb and relentless. Not since Alfred Hitchcock at his peak have we seen a film that so ruthlessly and efficiently [and one might add, sadistically] toys with the audience. In fact there are several points in "Old Men" that are reminiscent of Hitchcock films, particularly "Psycho".
If you enjoy the craft of film as much as I do you will be excited, even exhilarated, by "No Country for Old Men" -- it is a master class in effective film-making. But be warned, this film is essentially an exercise in audience manipulation and brutalization. It is a nasty piece of work -- one that will mark you for a long time. One thing is sure, you won't forget the experience soon.