Wednesday, November 21, 2007

"Call it, Freind-O"

"McCarthy and the Coen brothers have just collaborated on a movie version of McCarthy's novel No Country for Old Men, a thriller about a serial killer and a busted drug deal. It's a searing, shocking movie that plays like a eulogy for the great American West. It also features the best scene ever filmed of a dog chasing a guy in a river."

The above quote is from a Time magazine article located here. It's pretty much just the goddamn coolest single paragraph review of a movie ever. The men in question above are Cormac McCarthy, the National Book Award and Pulitzer Prize winning author, and the Coen brothers (Joel and Ethan), renowned filmmakers of American classics such as Fargo, Raising Arizona, and Miller's Crossing. And simply speaking, they've just made the best movie of the year.

I've been wanting to see this film since I first saw any press about it. I knew about the book, and had already read some of McCarthy's work prior to any knowledge of this film. Well, needless to say I tracked down a paperback copy of No Country, plowed through it in a week, and have been counting down the days until November 21. Did the film live up to my generous expectations? Very much so. I loved the book and loved the film. Some scenes, if not most, are taken directly from the novel. And I mean directly... dialogue and all.

I seem to have this attraction to films that deal with violence in such an unflinching manner. The Departed. History of Violence. Fargo. The types of films that don't just use gratuitous violence as a backdrop for some shitty overproduced action movie, but the kinds of films that almost use these "grotesqueries" of the human psyche as future talking points (look at me with the made-up words). Almost as minor characters in the film, for lack of a better term. Why am I so attracted to these films? I don't know, maybe it's because we secretly all want to be serial killers and throw our bosses out of 30-story office buildings, and murder our wives in their sleep with dull, over-used kitchen knives. Or maybe it's just 'cause these films are so fucking good. Yeah, I'm sticking with that one. Otherwise I have nightmares.

One other thing I'd like to note is the "non-use" of any real score in the film. I'd really have to see it again to appreciate everything fully, but it seemed as if the Coen brothers used the background sounds of each location as the music for their film. Cascading winds through the Texas countryside. Ambulance and police sirens following brutal shootings. Dogs barking. Televisons blaring. It really is an interesting way to present a movie. Obviously it left some sort of impact on me if I picked up on it. And that's really all that can be asked of a filmmaker, isn't it? To leave an impression. And this film does so in spades.

Watch it. You'll be glad you did. Or maybe not.

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