Well, time for another Coen Brothers movie. Like most David Lynch movies, some Coen Brothers movies don’t quite go down easy for me. I find myself engaged more than average during the process of watching their films. However, I am often left with vaguely unsatisfied feeling — a yearning for the movie to have been more than it was. No Country For Old Men was no exception.
Don’t get me wrong — I freakin’ loved Raising Arizona and The Big Lebowski. The Hudsucker Proxy, which I didn’t realize they had anything to do with, was an incredibly fun and hilarious adventure. I adored Fargo (you got to have your eggs!), and noticed some of my mom’s Wisconsin-bred inflections for the first time ever. I remember liking Barton Fink pretty well, but it was a good 15 years ago that I saw it.
But the other ones I’ve seen? They’ve left me vaguely dissatisifed. The Ladykillers was about my least favorite, despite quite charming characters (“Mountain Girl is 54!”). O Brother, Where Are Thou, with similarly charming characters, still left me wanting. I watched Blood Simple in the last 2 years and just had to read the IMDB plot summary to even remember what happened. Miller’s Crossing was a bit more memorable (“look into your heart!” was about the best scene I watched that entire year) … But in the end, a lot of their movies are just a series of violent events, chasing some unseen goal which often doesn’t get met. They just aren’t as memorable as most movies to me. I can’t quite gauge how much I like them.
I also take into consideration Ian‘s advice that the stories in life don’t always have a concrete beginning and ending, and don’t always have answers… And that some directors try to make their movies like that. I believe we were talking about our disagreement with Robert Altman’s Shortcuts. The advice does help me understand more, but I’m not sure that it makes me enjoy more.
In the end, I had mixed feelings about No Country For Old Men. The killer is such an asshole. The gas-station coin-toss-for-your-life scene was brilliant. But it was just another “everyone kills each other while chasing the money” movie too. I’m not sure how much I like it. Carolyn says 4/5 stars [Netflix], 7/10 [IMDB]. I think I can agree with that, though I’m more likely to say 3.5/5 stars [Netflix]. And maybe more like a 6.8/10. I just have a nagging feeling about this.
Of course, maybe that was the intent. Sort of like how Last Days made me want to die with boredom, and thus captured an aspect of the feeling of Kurt Cobain before his suicide. But I sort of doubt such grand machinations are in motion. This really reminded me of Miller’s Crossing, but with less reason. Instead of gangsters with factions, you have a sociopath with universal hate. It just didn’t strike me as being quite as interesting as the others. Perhaps the silence and aloneness contributed a bit to that — there was hardly any score, the 3 main characters do not share any screen time with each other, and there were very few human beings in the movie (not counting those that were killed rather quickly). And I can’t say the ending made me happy… Especially her reluctance to call it! Jesus!
Considering the 4 Oscar wins (and 83 other wins), and IMDB #45 movie of all time rating — I must conclude that this movie is a bit overrated.
Not saying it’s bad. It’s not quite to my taste. But it’s definitely overrated. :)
BTW — Funny that they got the killer’s hairstyle [IMDB link] by looking at an 1879 photo of a brothel patron. That explains something, at least…