Heads or tails, ‘No Country for Old Men’ a cinematic masterpiece
Todd Mau, Clarion Staff Writer
August 30, 2011
Filed under Arts & Culture
The Coen brothers, “No Country for Old Men” is a dark, twisted, albeit realistic psychological thriller that is destined to be a classic.
Set in 1980s Texas, this story depicts an environment of escalating violence and complexity arising from the increasing influence of the drug trade between Texas and Mexico. Both risks and rewards are high in this rapidly changing environment. As the movie evolves, the aging country sheriff comes to the realization that he is outmanned, outgunned, and out of his league.
“No Country for Old Men” has “grown-up” humor, mystery, action, adventure, and horror in the setting of a modern “wild west.” Various genres are masterfully mixed to keep audiences on the edge of their seat.
Make no mistake about it, this movie is not for the faint of heart and it is not likely to be shown on the Disney Channel. Those who are lazy or who wish to be easily entertained may not appreciate the genius and creativity of this movie. This is an intricate story of survival and of how fate can easily change one’s role from hunter (or even simple bystander) to the hunted. One cannot help but gain a deeper appreciation for the frailty and miracle of life itself while partaking in this movie.
After watching “No Country for Old Men,” few other movies will measure up to your increased standards of cinematographic excellence. As in life, this movie masterfully, yet realistically, blurs the distinctions between heroes and villains. However, the distinction between semi-normal and psychotic is well maintained throughout the show and this provides for a story that audiences can relate to and characters that can be embraced. This movie provides audiences with unique insight into the movie’s diverse personalities while taking audiences on an exhilarating, sometimes terrifying, thrill ride.
Regardless of the inherent complexities of life and its’ shades of gray, the toss of a coin is both judge and jury when the story’s darkest character enforces his warped, psychotic honor code. “No Country for Old Men” exposes audiences to the coin of fate, throws that coin, and challenges audiences to call it in the air. While audiences hope for a positive outcome, just as in life itself, they are also left to wonder if perhaps something could have been done to prevent a tragedy. Are events simply the result of fate, the product of human will and intention, or a little bit of both? Heads or tails, the Coen brothers have served up another cinematic masterpiece in “No Country for Old Men.”