no_country_for_old_men.jpg rating-4.0When one watches "award winners," even "award nominees," there is a certain suspicion that comes with the honor.

I can't say I like the Coen Brothers. In fact, I can say the exact opposite. There movies are often long and boring, I don't care about their technique, I have no interest in their form of writing, and the few times they've made something mildly amusing, it's been destroyed by their overzealous and annoying fans. (No, thank you. The Big Lebowski can burn in hell.)

As for No Country For Old Men, you see a sort of meeting of the minds. By all standards, I don't like the Coen Brothers and I think Cormac McCarthy is a terrible, bland writer. And, yet somehow, the two combine to make an interesting film.

Realistically, it's the stark visuals and good actors that drive this movie. It's not so much that it's a work of genius as a work of competence. They deliver what there is well, though many won't like the movie. I suppose if you're impressed by awards (or easily swayed by them), you might think the film is better than it is.

The story is simple unto a lack of detail. One is only left with a barren character study, desert vistas, and the inside of hotel rooms. The actors manage to give everything an urgency that the bleak flatness of the film actually lacks, but I'm not sure if they make it a good movie.

That seems to be the main problem, if you can call it a problem. It is a well-made and interesting movie, but one can't call it "good" or "enjoyable." You don't sit down to watch No Country For Old Men for fun. It's quiet and sparse (like McCarthy's text, I suppose) and doesn't leave much to rewatch. But it does manage to combine both the writing and visual element into one flowing creature, neither independent of the need for the other to survive. There's something at least artistic about it, even if it's not art to me.

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