Wednesday, June 17, 2009

No Country for Old Men

Here is a little warning if you haven't watch this movie. This isn't a SLASHER FLICK ala Friday teh 13th, Nightmare on Elm Street, Terminator, Predator etc although in this movie Javier Bardem's Chigurh character would've dispatched most of baddies mentioned with his airgun and not bat an eyelid (hell, even "badass" is an understatement for this villian). If you hate indie movies with passion, then NCFOM (acronym for this movie) is a typical award-winning fare that critics worship and Transformers-loving teenyboopers wail like babies if shown to them in a detention class. Have I spared you two hours?

The first ten minutes would have lulled majority of Malaysian movie goers either into sleep or leaving the cinema for good. Camera panning into distance of a desolate landscape, virtually dialogue free activity focusing on Josh Brolin's character who is hunting on a desert. He finds two million dollars in a suitcase on site of a massacre. Brolin finds the money and buggers off, but then returns to the place where he found them. Back there was a dying old man who needs a sip of water. Lesson of the day: Never take what isn't yours or even if you do, leave and never turn back. Moss got found and what is worse is not a bunch of raging Mexicans after his ass, but a hired assasin with a seriously whack hairdo. In the movie also, a Sheriff Ed Tom Bell (Tommy Lee Jones) is assigned to track Moss down and to protect his wife Carla Jean (Kelly McDonald) but on screen he may be seemed a pretty useless character who laments increasing violence in his good town and "lack of old manners" that is much different than "back in good old days". What is the use of a whining, toothless sheriff who is pretty much impotent in this movie? He doesn't even meet Chigurh in the whole duration of the film (or almost). Just minor spoilers btw

The movie will snap sense onto your head when it reaches the credits. This is also where most people at this point will cry "Bullshit". NCFOM is a movie that demands repeated viewings in order to piece together things that doesn't make sense at first attempt. The movie's main themes centres most on free-will and predestination of fate, or rather also how we respond to inevitability of things, such as force of evil. Chigurh is a fascinating character, much like Joker in The Dark Knight who has their own "integrity" and code of conduct and has no history of injustice or abuse that scriptwriters usually use in order to justify their actions. Whereas Joker's "story" of how he got his scars are most likely cock-up rants of a deranged madman, Chigurh is incorruptible in his pursuit that even if Moss hands him back the million dollars he will still blow his brains out with his airgun. The only way Chigurh's target could survive if he himself offers to toss a coin in deciding the fate of his victim.

Also without spoiling the movie since Chigurh represents Death in this movie, the characters such as Moss also represents how we deal with it. Some choose to continue weasel their way out, even knowing that running away is futile. Some prepares for Death and makes no apology for whatever manner that may lead it to them. In any case, you don't need to be an artsy critic in order to appreciate this movie. Still if you're renting this, watching Bardem's character with that bad hairdo walking about with his airgun still kicks ass.