I don’t like struggling with movies that are supposed to be holy crap awesome. Michael Clayton was holy crap awesome. Juno was…awesome. Yet, No Country For Old Men, a boring cat and mouse “thriller” was not. It was slow, unfulfilling, like an expensive date that doesn’t tell me until halfway in that she’s not that kind of girl, but alas, I’m feeling like I really screwed myself on this one. How did this movie manage to beat the other two for Best Picture? I don’t know. Well…I know for Juno, but not for Michael Clayton. Sigh…oh well, let’s do this:
No Country For Old Men is about Llewelyn Moss (Josh Brolin), a man in West Texas who stumbles upon a bunch of dead bodies, a bunch of heroin, and a bunch of…$2 million in cash and decides “well, one of these is going to be useful someday” and casually walks off into the sunset with it. Not once thinking he was going to get off scott-free, Moss is pursued by psycho-fuck Anton Chigurh (like “sugar” or “Chigurgitate”), played creepily perfect by Javier Bardem, who is hired to reclaim the lost cash and does so by doing what all smart hitmen do: kills practically everyone he sees with a silenced shotgun because that doesn’t raise suspicion at all. Who it definitely doesn’t raise the suspicion of is Sheriff Ed Tom Bell (Tommy Lee Jones) who, despite butting in once and a while like that creepy guy who steps in the middle of a group of laughing people and begins to laugh hysterically even though he doesn’t know what the fuck is going on, is more of a show piece meant to send the message that “there are some battles that the law should just stay the ever-living fuck out of.” Blah, blah, blah, there’s shooting, death, and by the end of it you’re glad that nobody burst out into song.
I must have missed the point, or perhaps I’ve seen A Simple Plan, a significantly better movie about the same general concept without psycho-fuck hit man with a bottle of canned air chasing after everybody, but I was just really damn bored. Yeah, it was dark and…dark but there were no twists, no turns, and no character development, which is shocking for a Coen Brothers movie whose niche has always been embracing that which is twisted and uncomfortable and turning it into something charming and understood. I feel a little cheated.
There were a couple of interesting gun battles, but you never really knew what was actually going on, you just saw a door open and there were a bunch of Mexicans dying inside. There wasn’t a lot of dialogue and explanation and before you knew it, it was all over with Tommy Lee Jones saying “so yeah, that explains this dream I had.” I’m just glad they didn’t zoom out and we learn the whole thing took place in a snow globe.
I’m giving this a 7 dustbusters out of 10 because though it was boring, and didn’t really have any fun or true creativity, it wasn’t a bad movie at all. I just had higher expectations…because it beat Michael Clayton for Best Picture. The story was good enough, you knew that what happened was going to happen, but I can’t say I saw everything playing out that way. The characters did a phenomenal job with their dry-Western clichés and it was a rugged, gritty action-y kind of movie. I just really hoped for some surprises, some twists, some reason to be amazed and captivated and interested and was instead left holding myself in dissatisfaction wondering if there was anything that was going to make the evening alone worth it or if I was going to have to use my imagination again and dream a film that didn’t fall asleep after first thrust.