A scorching blast of tense genre filmmaking shot through with rich veins of melancholy, down-home philosophy and dark, dark humor, “No Country for Old Men” reps a superior match of source material and filmmaking talent. Cormac McCarthy’s bracing and brilliant novel is gold for the Coen brothers, who have handled it respectfully but not slavishly, using its built-in cinematic values while cutting for brevity and infusing it with their own touch. Result is one of the their very best films, a bloody classic of its type destined for acclaim and potentially robust B.O. returns upon release later in the year.
Reduced to its barest bones, the story, set in 1980, is a familiar one of a busted drug deal and the violent wages of one man’s misguided attempt to make off with ill-gotten gains. But writing in marvelous Texas vernacular that injected surpassing terseness with gasping velocity, McCarthy created an indelible portrait of a quickly changing American West whose new surge of violence makes the land’s 19th century legacy pale in comparison.
For their part, Joel and Ethan Coen, with both credited equally for writing and directing, are back on top of their game.
19 May 2007