Wednesday, January 30, 2008

No Country for old men

I need to stop reading reviews. Every review I saw prior to seeing this assured me it was a masterpiece. I should have known then that I was going to be dissapointed. I am increasingly of the opinion that it is impossible to say what is a masterpiece on the instance of its release.

The reviews also harked on about this being a more ‘mature’ film from the Coens. This is a pose critics often adopt when a cult favourite makes something more ‘naturalist’, more ‘realist’, less enshrined in their own universe. But the idea that the Coens are finally ‘growing up’ is absurd. These are men in their 50’s!

So, the film is no masterpiece. What it is is an old fashioned thriller in a period setting (no mobile phones, no sat nat, no internet). It is very visceral, the action is painful and brusing and muscular and there is very little dialogue, but crucially, for me, there is no character development. The acting is great but you never engage with anyone. The filmmaking is of a very high standard but you are never drawn into the story in a meaningful way because you don’t care about the people on screen – you don’t know them. The story itself is oddly plodding, there are no themes that immediatley jump out at you, some might put that down to subtlety and depth, I wouldn’t.

There are things to like here but I was interested rather than engaged.


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