After watching Mad Max: Fury Road earlier today, No Country for Old Men seemed like a piece of apple pie. The movie is actually fairly gritty, too, but it does not have the Hell-breathing tenacity of Mad Max. Like Mad Max, No Country does have a few good quotes. I especially like Tommy Lee Jones’s comment in the opening scene.
“There was this boy I sent to the ‘lectric chair at Huntsville Hill here a while back. My arrest and my testimony. He killt a fourteen-year-old girl. Papers said it was a crime of passion but he told me there wasn’t any passion to it. Told me that he’d been planning to kill somebody for about as long as he could remember. Said that if they turned him out he’d do it again. Said he knew he was going to hell. “Be there in about fifteen minutes”. I don’t know what to make of that. I sure don’t.”
I actually believe that the above quote summarizes the point of the movie, which is about a drug and thug-infested Texas Border town that has literally gone to Hell. Javier Bardem is convincingly mean and Tommy Lee Jones is like a well-worn, cotton quilt. Josh Brolin is just a good, old boy who allows himself to be engulfed by a bad choice.
No Country is not a bizarre film. As Texas Border towns probably go now, it is more of a slice of life. After watching the film, I felt that I had just watched the sands drain from society’s hour glass. I thought that the following was also a quote that summarized things:
Bell: That man that shot you died in prison.
Ellis: Angola. Yeah…
Bell: What you’d done he had been released?
Ellis: Oh, I dunno. Nothing. Wouldn’t be no point in it.
Bell: I’m kindly surprised to hear you say that.
Ellis: Well all the time ya spend trying to get back what’s been took from ya, more is going out the door. After a while you just have to try to get a tourniquet on it.
As I heard the above being said, I thought to myself that this is a good representation of how it feels to simply be tired of fighting the odds. I am probably not the only viewer who can identify with Ellis’s comment.
All-in-all, I liked No Country for Old Men, but I am not sure that I would have named it as worthy of Oscar for Best Picture of the year. If I did so, it would have to be by default–simply because there was no better competition, and I am not sure that is the case. I’ll be watching There Will Be Blood again soon. I have not watched that in a while, but it was also nominated for the Oscar in 2007. It might be a more Oscar-worthy movie. Daniel Day-Lewis is certainly capable of delivering Oscar-worthy performances.
©Jacki Kellum February 13, 2016