The student media organization of California State University Northridge

Daily Sundial

The student media organization of California State University Northridge

Daily Sundial

The student media organization of California State University Northridge

Daily Sundial

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Award-winning ‘No Country…’ scores high

This is a country without mercy or repose. This is a country that doesn’t permit the na’ve or the faint of heart. In this country, the hunted and the hunter are equals, and there is no room for error or happenchance. In this country, only the new-age strong and proud-to-be crazy survive. This is “No Country for Old Men.”

As the winner of several esteemed awards, including best picture for the New York Film Critics Circle and the National Board of Review, “No County for Old Men” is the latest directorial opus by Joel and Ethan Coen, better known for their Academy Award-winning film “Fargo” and cult classic “The Big Lebowski.”

The film begins with a pitch of dialogue in the form of diatribe that is used to set the opening pace of the film, and give the audience a hint of initial insight that is spoken with a background view of iconic desert scenery.

The dialogue and the setting are key, even in the opening stages of the film; as the dialogue speaks of a changing and chaotic world in juxtapose surroundings that are the die-hard lineage of the American southwest.

Directed and adapted from the novel of the same title for film, the success of the Coen brothers’ film lies in their masterful ability to meticulously tell a story using an equal amount of dialogue and detail. The film was adapted to a novel originally written by Cormac McCarthy, and “No Country for Old Men” is one of the most unique and triumphant examples of novel to film in many years.

Set in the rugged and desolate southwest Texas in the 1980’s, the thick of the film begins when the main character Llewelyn Moss, played by Josh Brolin of “Grind House” and “American Gangster,” stumbles upon a pile of dead bodies, a pick-up truck full of heroin and a satchel filled to the brim with $100 bills.

Subsequently a chain reaction of violence and chaos ensues for Moss, who is almost permanently on the run from a Mexican drug cartel and a shotgun-wielding mad man by the name of Anton Chigurh, played by Academy-Award nominee Javier Bardem. Tommy Lee Jones also plays a small but meaningful part in the film as Sheriff Ed Tom Bell, who represents the last vestige of order and reason in a new world over run by bloodshed and bedlam.

Brolin gives a knock-out performance, funny at just the right times and very serious in others, true to the character that he depicts. But the real applause and spotlight is stolen by Bardem who is exact in his role as a silent-but-deadly hired killer who stalks the screen with an almost impossible intensity. There are certain performances in the annals of American film-making that are remembered and will continue to be remembered for their fearlessness and passion; De Niro in “Raging Bull,” Pachino in “Scarface,” and now, Bardem in “No Country for Old Men.”

In this film the acting of Bardem is second only to the directorial success of the Coen Brothers. The cinematography is impeccable, from the choice of the calm desert setting to the eerie use of lighting, lack of music and emphasis of individual sounds.

The Coen Brothers made this film play out like a Hitchcock thriller that evokes an equal amount of fear and intrigue. Even though this film ran a little over two hours, the dryness of the script and direction are at a bare minimum.

The only twist in this film is that it is what could be considered by most to be a “think piece.” If you, as the audience member, do not pay attention to tiny details like finer points of dialogue and time sequence, then you might be disappointed and confused by the ending. The resolution of the film is the resolve of a story that you were watching but didn’t know you were watching.

“No Country for Old Men” is an instant classic that will set a new standard for film making and film makers alike. Anyone who has an appreciation for films with deep-rooted themes and complex story structure will love this film.

This film is a powerful piece of artistry that should not go unnoticed or be overlooked. The Coen Brothers did it again.

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