Monday, November 12, 2007

TRH Movie - No Country For Old Men

Yesterday was Remembrance Day, and for shame I only realized when I looked at my TTC transfer on my way to work. Granted, on our way home yesterday we walked past Soldier's Tower, and paused. It's a beautiful monument, covered in wreaths, and lit up from the bottom in that way that feels so respectful. I've written before about the particular significance of Remembrance Day, and it always makes me think of my grandparents, and my great-grandfather, who served in the First World War. Almost every part of my being Canadian is a direct result of them, and that's not something to be forgotten.

I spent most of my day at the office yesterday tidying up some stuff before my holidays this week. And it's nice sometimes to be there with no meetings, no distractions, nothing to keep from concentrating and getting a lot of things done. Although I did promise myself after the evil Boss From Hell experience I would never work weekends again, I feel so much better leaving now for a week now that my entire to-do list has been crossed out.

So when the RRHB called and suggested we go see a movie, at first I balked, because there's always more I could do, and then decided that we should maybe go and see No Country For Old Men. There's no end to my adoration for Cormac McCarthy but having sat through All the Pretty Horses and then writing a very long article for the now-offline Chicklit about how frustrating the adaptation was, I was worried. Until I found out, months ago, that it was a Coen brothers' film.

An incredibly honest adaptation, the Coen brothers' storytelling, straightforward but with incredible impact, ensures the film truly feels like the book brought to life. They've stripped out what won't work on film (a lot of Ed Tom's internal narration; some of the more violent scenes) and added in bits that made the movie more effective (like the visual aspects of the setting; in the sense that it truly brought your mind's eye to life), and the end result is quite spectacular.

Okay, that's not normally a word I would use to describe a film, but the acting is superb, the source material strong, and I really feel like the movies coming out this fall in terms of quality of both film making and storytelling are a cut above. The movie starts off with Llewelyn Moss (Josh Brolin) hunting in the dry Texas back country where he comes across the detritus, human and otherwise, of a drug deal gone bad.

And even though he knows it, Llewelyn makes a few decisions that change the course of his life forever, most importantly, he picks up a satchel carrying about two million dollars of heroin money. Money that doesn't belong to him. Anton Chigurgh (a merciless Javier Bardem), hired gun and strangely philosophical hitman, is charged with tracking him down. On the other side of the law, there's Ed Tom Bell (Tommy Lee Jones), the sheriff in the town where Moss lives, who sits at a crossroads in his own life.

Like I said, the performances are all outstanding, but what's more, I've read the book, so I know what happens, and parts of the movie still had me gripping my RRHB's arm and gasping. Now, that's a sure sign someone's doing something right.


b*babbler said...

Ooh... now I want to read the book and watch the movie!

Have a great vacation!

Carrie said...

Thanks for reviewing this. The commercials have certainly raised my interest in the film and now I definitely want to see it.

Should I read the book first?

hip_ragdoll said...

The film is excellent, but the book is superb -- I'd recommend reading it first, but I'm always wanting to read the book before I see the movie.

I will say, however, that knowing what happens does absolutely nothing to reduce the impact of the film.

Which is quite an achievement. You know, "Into the Wild" was the very same way...