Directed by Ethan Coen + Joel Coen
USA 2007

 

No Country for Old Men premiered at Cannes in May and was widely heralded as the festival’s most sensational entry. When I saw it for the first time at the Toronto film festival in September, the only movie that gave it any competition in the popularity contest was Lars and the Real Girl. Adapted from what is generally considered a minor Cormac McCarthy novel, No Country for Old Men is a very well-made genre exercise, but I can’t understand why it’s been accorded so much importance, unless it’s because it strokes some ideological impulse.

Much the same could be said of Lars and the Real Girl, a fantasy about communal life in a small town that the Reader’s J.R. Jones has aptly described as “Capraesque,” not to mention an evasive (and no less endearing) glossing over of disturbed sexuality (astutely unpacked in the New York Times by Manohla Dargis). As someone who grew up in a small town, I could certainly detect the falsity of the film’s premise—that everybody cares about everybody else, fuckups included—while at the same time admiring the skill of the actors in putting it across. As for its popularity, I can only guess that it must be rooted in the rosy, highly sentimentalized picture it offers of human nature.

The picture of human nature in No Country for Old Men is by contrast so bleak I wonder if it must provide for some a reassuring explanation for our defeatism and apathy in the face of atrocity. I admire the creativity and storytelling craft of the Coen brothers, but I can’t for the life of me figure out what use they think they’re putting that creativity and craft to. As I left the screening in Toronto, all I could think was, “America sure loves its mass murderers.” That conclusion was ratified by a line in the New York film festival’s blurb for the movie: “Wearing an unforgettably frightening pageboy and toting a cattle stun gun that’ll haunt your nightmares, Javier Bardem is Anton Chigurh, a psychopathic assassin of the highest order whose detachment is as shocking as the carnage photographed so gorgeously by DP Roger Deakins.”

Excerpt from Jonathan Rosenbaum's review at the Chicago Reader located HERE

Posters

Theatrical Release: May 19th, 2007 - Cannes Film Festival

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DVD Review: Miramax - Region 1 - NTSC

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Distribution Miramax - Region 1 - NTSC
Runtime 2:01:56 
Video 2.35:1 Aspect Ratio
Average Bitrate: 5.46 mb/s
NTSC 720x480 29.97 f/s 

NOTE: The Vertical axis represents the bits transferred per second. The Horizontal is the time in minutes.

Bitrate:

Audio English (Dolby Digital 5.1) 
Subtitles English (CC), French, Spanish, None
Features

Release Information:
Studio: Miramax

Aspect Ratio:
Original Aspect Ratio 2.35:1

Edition Details:

• The Making of No Country for Old Men (4:3 - 24:27)
• Working with the Coens
(4:3 - 8:06)
• Diary of a Country Sheriff
(4:3 - 6:43)

DVD Release Date: March 11th, 200
8
Keep Case
Chapters: 16

 

Comments:

The DVD from Miramax is progressive anamorphic and dual-layered and looks as good as one would expect from a modern film onto Standard DVD. Detail and colors are strong enough. I actually choose some captures that Leonard used in the Blu-ray - which now looks to have quite a bit of gold-yellow in it. I can't really speak to it though as I don't own it. This SD is coded for region 1 in the NTSC standard.

The 5.1 track (with no DUBs offered) is crisp and supports the film which has many sequences of silence of softly spoken dialogue. Accents can be quite thick at times and if you are having trouble deciphering what is spoken there are optional subtitles in a yellow font.

The supplements are exactly as appear on the Blu-ray edition (reviewed HERE). So I quote from Leonard: "There are three Bonus Features of about 24, 8 and 7 minutes, respectively. The Making of No Country for Old Men looks at the process of translating the book into a Coen Brothers movie, including comments from cast and crew about casting, locations and art direction. Working with the Coens is essential viewing for those of us who have wondered about how a movie can have two directors. Tommy Lee Jones reflects on his character in Diary of a Country Sheriff." This Standard DVD also includes some sneak peaks and a Blu-ray promo.

The film? - entertaining but essentially quite hollow in my opinion. Saying that I suppose it is convenient that I am not a member of the Academy.  I, personally, would say that Into the Wild or Atonement were vastly superior films from 2007. As far as surface appeal, with excessive violence, greed, amoral characters and all the trappings that sell from Hollywood, Yes - No Country For Old Men achieves its goals. But only time will truly judge this work and I don't expect it will hold up in that area.       

Gary W. Tooze

 



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Distribution Miramax - Region 1 - NTSC




 

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