Monday, 30 November 2009


I first saw this about a year ago and deliberately didn't write about it because I wanted to see it again to see how I felt about it after a second viewing. I still think it is a cracking piece of film making which contains some terrific direction, writing and acting. Certainly it deserves all the praise that that was heaped upon it. And yet......maybe it's just me, but how many people are totally satisfied by the ending. Not many, I suspect. But it just isn't cool to say so. I've always been a Coen Brothers fan since BLOOD SIMPLE and I accept that Cormac McCarthy is a great writer (although I'm not a fan of his work) and I do, truly, love this movie. However, I'm still uncool enough to like a film where you have a beginning, a middle and an end. I know life isn't always like that but this ain't life, it's a movie - a drama. I don't mind an enigmatic ending which is open to interpretation (John Boorman's POINT BLANK is a perfect example) but the problem I have with NO COUNTRY is two fold. From a purely personal view I still like to see the bad guy get his come uppance - again I know that isn't always how life plays out. I hated it back in the 1970's when the trend began in horror films that the villains/monsters began to win. All those totally predictable twist endings really pissed me off. My second objection which is more to do with the film itself is that NO COUNTRY sets everything up for a climax which however it turns out is good dramatic story telling. A character we have followed throughout the film, been lead to identify with and like is placed in a dramatic situation that we desperately want to see resolved. Then what happens ? Well, whatever it is it happens off screen and the character is killed. The bad guy gets away. End of movie. I did not, however, have any problem with the scene at the end where Tommy Lee Jones (a brilliant performance) narrates his dreams - that he was not involved in the resolution did not worry me, I thought that was a perfect irony for his character. But in respect of the other two characters I needed resolution - maybe life is like that but dramatically its all a bit coitus interruptus to me. Rating ****

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