Tuesday, January 22, 2008


Yesterday we went to see No Country For Old Men at Exeter's excellent and civilised Picture House.

I know that Cormac McCarthy's books are bleak, but this film made All The Pretty Horses seem like a Miss Marple story.

Directors Joel and Ethan Coen and actor Javier Bardem, who plays the psychopathic killer Anton Chigurh, will no doubt be nominated for awards, but the mindless violence and bleak message were too close to reality to say I enjoyed the film.
We never really get inside the mind of Llewellyn Moss, who finds $2 million dollars as a result of stumbling on a drug deal gone wrong, and then goes on to make some rather poor decisions.
Javier Bardem sleep walks through the film killing people in various ways, and carting a "cattle gun" around with him. He uses this to kill and to blast out locks; I wondered what had happened to door security bolts. I heard an interview in which Bardem said he does not drive, speak good English or like violence......
Tommy Lee Jones, as bitter Sherriff Ed Tom Bell, does a workman like job with his part and utters most of the clever lines in the film in a suitably deadpan style.
Woody Harrelson as Carson Wells, a hired gun, makes a cameo appearance, but the star for me was Kelly MacDonald. The young Scottish actress, who played a maid in Gosford Park, is Carla Jean Moss, Llewellyn's wife, she speaks with a believable American accent and shows she has a fine career ahead of her with a virtuoso performance.
The stark empty beauty of the American South West contrasts well with the sad run down motels along the roadside.

Go and see this film and decide for yourself whether the unremitting violence and the very bleak message that our society is being overrun is just too full of despair to stomach.
I was reminded of driving from Santa Fe to Taos and watching the young pilgrims walking to the little adobe church at Chimayo for Good Friday. The sun was hot and the scenery beautiful, and so very different from green England.
The next morning in Taos were found out that two of those young pilgrims had been murdered and left near the roadside.


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