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No Country for Old Men
Review Written by: Alex Sandell
No Country for Old Men
If some mother-fucker points this thing at you, don't even
bother running. You're not gonna make it.

No Country for Old Men
is a well-crafted film with some quirky, funny dialog and that brutal violence that is becoming a Coen Bros. trademark. Still, when compared to similar Coen output like Fargo and Blood Simple, the movie is a disappointment. It's far too close to Blood Simple for its own good, with the Coen Bros. rehashing many of the same tricks that worked so well for them in the past.

In a lot of ways the movie is almost a remake of both Fargo and Blood Simple. A more meandering version of two superior films. The comedy and clever dialog that was in Fargo is nearly non-existent in this one and the suspense -- which does still manage to work -- isn't as original as it was when it was found in Blood Simple 23 years prior. But what hurts No Country for Old Men more than anything is its repetitive nature.

The movie is stuck like an MP3 player on a loop with 3 or 4 songs
(I was going to say, "Like a CD player on shuffle," but that made me feel old). Man hides money. Bad guy tracks man. Bad guy kills innocent people who did not take the money. Bad guy and man with money injure each other. Man hides money. Bad guy tracks man. Bad guy kills innocent people who did not take the money. Bad guy and man with money injure each other. Wash, rinse, repeat add a few funny lines from a mumbling Tommy Lee Jones and a few funny lines from an easily excitable young cop and you essentially have the essence of the movie. That being said, there's still a lot to like here.

The first half of the film is great. It's only when you realize you're watching the same thing over and over again and that the best moments were already done in Blood Simple that you start wondering how this movie tricked so many into giving it the startling amount of praise it has been receiving. This isn't the best movie of 2007 and isn't close to the best film from the brothers Coen. Blood Simple, Fargo and The Big Lebowski come immediately to mind as better movies. But for every issue I have with the film I have a dash of  admiration.

The performances are incredible from start to finish. Josh Brolin could carry the movie all on his own (he's came a long way since The Goonies), but doesn't need to as Javier Bardem -- as his soulless nemesis -- is so absolutely cold and intimidating the interplay (and gunplay) between the two becomes an acting tour de force. It is these two that keep you watching during the repetitive second half of the film and make the movie one to recommend. Don't believe the hype on this one and don't go in expecting a classic. But do go -- for the acting, the cinematography and some of the wildest gunfights since the days before the West was tamed.

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©2007 Alex Sandell [All Rights Reserved]. Copy this without my permission and that gun in the picture above? It'll be pointed at your fucking head.