I finally caught up with the Coens brothers' latest, No County For Old Men, this week and what a remarkable film it is. I remember Premiere's Glenn Kenny calling it "three-quarters a masterpiece" when he saw it at Cannes, a view he's since revised to a full masterpiece having seen it a few more times. Having only seen it once, thus far, my opinion mirrors his own initial impression. It's not that I didn't like or get the final quarter — and since seeing NCFOM, the film's seldomed left my mind — nor did I have problems with it in terms of it shearing away from what's seen as a more traditional narrative structure. It's just that the last quarter is so deliberately ambigious, difficult, profound, it leaves the viewer to not only question your eyes, but also the meaning of what you've seen.
Clearly I've not mentioned anything regarding plot, or character, or much of anything, and that's because this is a film that benefits from zero information going in. Suffice to say the performances from Josh Brolin, Javier Bardem, Tommy Lee Jones and Kelly Macdonald are uniformingly excellent and the Coens are not only back to their best, but back to their old tricks again. How we've missed them.
A terrific dialogue on the meaning of the last quarter has been raging on Kenny's blog. May I direct your attention to http://glennkenny.premiere.com/blog/2007/11/a-ghost-and-a-d.html and http://glennkenny.premiere.com/blog/2007/12/more-no-country.html as well as the official site www.nocountryforoldmen.com.
But only after seeing the film...