Everyone kept telling me I had to see No Country for Old Men. I didn’t know a thing about it, other than Tommy Lee Jones was in it and the Coen brothers directed it. Not finding it at all suspicious that no one had told me anything about it, I decided to watch it…alone. Hey, The Hudsucker Proxy was one of my favorite movies! So light-hearted and adorably fresh! This had to be great, right? Why, I’d bet my Pulitzer on it!
Sweet fancy Moses do I wish I could have turned back time and not watched that movie by myself. The first ten minutes alone had me feeling ill in the stomach. By the time I was halfway through the movie, I was wishing someone would come in and kill ME with one of those crazy punch-guns they use to kill cattle (though two nights later, when I woke up covered in sweat and saw a shadow under my door and swore Javier Bardem was standing outside and was about to punch in my lock and kill me, you can bet your ass I was wishing someone would certainly NOT come in and kill me with one of those crazy punch-guns!).
It was one of those movies full of graphic violence that was probably necessary, if you really take the time to think about it, because there are some things that you truly need in order to express the fathomless depths of how insane some of the characters you’re portraying really are. And it was also full of those moments where you think, well that was kind of unnecessary, but I guess that person was killed because of this, and suddenly you realize you just justified the actions of a serial killer to try to see his point of view, and you start to get that ill feeling in the stomach again because, well I mean, at least for me, I don’t want to be able to fully comprehend the reasoning of a serial killer.
Don’t get me wrong – it’s a beautifully done movie. I have no arguments with the story, how the story was achieved, the character development (in fact, props to that one), the dialogue, anything other than I could have done with about 20 more minutes of Tommy Lee Jones. The movie just left me feeling ill and depressed afterwards. Which makes it pretty successful at achieving what it set out to do, I know.
One final comment I’ll add here for the sake of a chuckle: I kept complaining that it was too literary at times, and that symbolism belonged in a Carson McCullers novel, not a Coen brothers movie. My friend Beth was the one who finally broke the news to me: it was based on a Cormac McCarthy novel. I kid you not, I nearly threw my backpack into the