Friday, December 07, 2007

No Country for Old Men proves that it's really not that hard to make a good movie. This is not to say that it's at all easy, but it does in comparison with absurd tripe like The Darjeeling Limited with its reliance on non-sequitur, probabilistic humour. I say the humour is probabilistic because it really wasn't that funny, but humour is the only thing which could justify the tedious, hours-long journey through northern India. The Darjeeling and others like it expend tremendous energy, all of which seems to be spent struggling in vain to produce a bearable film.

I went to see this movie through a hazily-remembered trailer and the praise of our resident poet, and I was surprised that it was exactly as good as he said. No Country for Old Men blows the doors off its peers in this department, blowing doors off being something that I was going to say before I realized how appropriate it is here. It doesn't rely on linear story-telling, but it doesn't fall into the absurdist trap of mistaking a focus on small details with profundity, as many a teenage micro-photographer does. There's nothing at all new or novel about what happens in No Country: there are some bad guys, a morally questionable man, a sheriff and lots of open country in Texas. The merits of the movie are not that oddities about the characters which pass for character development. Rather, No Country draws the viewer into an ostensibly unremarkable story with an intensity of experience which gets to be unbearable at times. As an added bonus, shots are fired. Lots of them.

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