Oscar Ritual 2008 : NO COUNTRY FOR OLD MEN
Winner of 2008’s Best Picture of the Year, Best Supporting Actor (Javier Bardem, Best Director(s), and Best Adapted Screenplay
I’m not certain I would have seen No Country for Old Men had it not been such an award-winner this year. For some reason it didn’t really register on my radar despite the terrific cast and my great love for Josh Brolin. Thankfully, the movie did receive much acclaim, including the Oscar for Best Picture, and I developed an interest. I would have been very disappointed in myself had I never seen this film… it is as good as anyone ever says it is.
The story begins with a murder site near the Texas/Mexico border, a grizzly scene stumbled upon by Brolin’s character, Llewelyn. For a good length of time there is only the sound of the desert, no dialogue. But Brolin has developed a great talent for expressionless emoting, and he is in his prime throughout this film. There is more conveyed in his body language than 100 words on a page could have achieved. And it is during the first act of the film that I realized just how phenomenal a talent he has become. For this 20-year fan, his performance set the stage for me to really enjoy this film.
The pace of the film is sheer perfection, the performances by all superb, and the chase of Llewelyn by Anton Chigurh (Javier Bardem) is thrilling. The two actors hardly share a scene, and yet the horror was palpable throughout the film. I’ve not had the pleasure of this kind of thriller in many, many years, and I do hope Hollywood takes notice of the acclaim. This is how a suspense movie ought to be done. And what truly elevates this to art is the way the movie ends. Now you’re on the edge of your seat, and then it’s over, and you really don’t quite know how to digest it. I couldn’t stop thinking about it the day after, and I had to recommend it to a coworker just to have someone with whom to hash out the ending. Simply perfect.