Back Seat Producers Fanboy Smackdown Season 02 Shows

FBSD Episode 054: No Country for Old Men

Tony and Adam talk up podcasters, podcast novels and the Oscar Best Picture Award winner, No Country for Old Men.

More detailed show notes when Tony recovers from his wicked weekend and this week’s Jury Duty.

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Y’know, when I wrote about this movie, I realized I didn’t get it posted to this site because that’s when I wasn’t sure if it was coming back or not, so here’s the No Country For Old Men review from right after I saw it:

LLewellyn Moss is a simple man, a welder by occupation, he resides in a trailer park with his wife. As we’re first introduced to Moss, we’re watching him hunt in the barren Texas hills. Moss comes across the bloody aftermath of a Mexican drug deal, and out of it, he manages to track down the money for the deal, a cool 2 million dollars. Prior to Moss, though, we’re introduced to Anton Shigerh a sadistic contract killer who’s just managed to escape from being imprisoned. Shigerh is hired to track down the money and the man who took it. And in the background, Texas sheriff Ed Tom Bell, is trying to piece together the puzzle of what’s going on and what’s going to happen.

And that’s the basic premise to the latest masterpiece from the Joel and Ethan Coen, No Country For Old Men, an absolutely terrific crime thriller that’s totally unconventional in it’s approach and most particularly it’s ending, which if you’re coming into this and expecting something that’s all tidied up in some sort of clean and conventional fashion, you’re bound to be disappointed by it. But me, I thought it was exceptional stuff with some absolutely terrific performances, more on that in a moment…

The Coens are certainly known for their unconventional and original films, some with great visual style. No Country tends to lay off of the style in lieu of good old fashioned storytelling, and as long as you’re paying attention, you won’t miss a thing. Two things of note here; Their willingness to go for long stretches with little or no dialogue whatsoever, letting their actors and their actions tell the story and absolutely no music is heard at all through the movie until the end credits. The lack of music here really does work, especially considering the milieu of the film- it would almost seem wrong if you did have some sort of dramatic notes leading you through this.

Josh Brolin is Moss, Javier Bardem plays Shigerh, Tommy Lee Jones is Ed Tom Bell and we also get an appearance from Woody Harrelson as Carson, a man sent to find the money and Moss in a little more peaceful way. Josh Brolin has had a hell of a year, with very cool performances in Grindhouse and American Gangster and he really delivers the goods here, often reminding me of a young Nick Nolte. Jones was born to play the character that he plays, and he’s solid as a rock. Woody Harrelson, who’s only in the film for a brief period, does a great job for that brief period and it just makes you wonder why we haven’t seen him in more stuff lately. But the icing on the cake is Javier Bardem, his performance as Shigerh is the stuff Oscar performances come from delivering one of the more memorable screen villains seen in awhile, his Shigerh is almost Terminator-like unstoppable and yet nothing seems out of place with him, or necessarily stretching the lines of believability.

This is an absolutely brutal film and it certainly earns it’s R rating, so if you’re squeamish to bloody violence, you might want to hold off, but I think it serves it’s story and especially it’s final point very well. If you’re expecting a Fargo-like ending to this- you’re not getting it, and yet this movie seems to me like a perfect companion piece to Fargo. My stretch of terrific movies continues with No Country For Old Men just a lot of fun, especially if you have an idea of what you’re getting into.

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