Owen Hughes’s review:
I had been putting off watching this for a while, I have to admit. I'd recorded it when it had been on TV, but subsequently deleted it when I needed more space on the SkyHD box. I'd been sent the blu-ray by Lovefilm, but couldn't be arsed to watch it and sent it back to them. I've even bought the fucking Cormac McCarthy novel the film is adapted from but it's just been sitting on my bookshelf for about 3 years, untouched. In the end, I spotted it on the HTC Watch app on my phone, available to rent for 5p, so decided to give it one last attempt, and forced myself to watch it last night in bed.
The reason I kept putting it off was the fact that people kept creaming themselves over it, whilst at the same time, never really selling it to me very well. "Oh, it's about this cold, vile, serial killer who has this really cool way of killing people". Oh, right. "It's really badass!" I see. "It's like a modern Western" Ok then.
To those people who've said those kinds of things when I've asked about it, I say "you arseholes. It's much better than the way you described it!"
To everyone else, I say, it's awesome, really badass and Anton is really really cool and an amazing, psychotic, monster.........
Seriously though, some of the scenes kind of dragged a little. There seemed to be a slightly longer than necessary pause between sentences. A bit like in Eyes Wide Shut when Kidman and Cruise are in the bedroom talking, and they linger on their own words as they're coming out of their mouths, with long, slow, drawn out delivery of dialogue.. not really complaining, I wasn't exactly expecting snappy one liners, but it didn't really make Anton any more scary, nor Llewelyn any more tough, or Tommy Lee Jones any more troubled. They all seemed to say more when they weren't talking, because all 3 actors gave very strong performances. It just slowed down a bit too much sometimes.
However, mostly, it was very tense despite the fact that Anton seems practically invulnerable. If you thought that Brolin stood more of a chance during certain scenes, then.. I dunno, perhaps it might've actually been detrimental to his character and he'd have been less like a monster and more like a man, which is not what they were going for, I think? I'm sure it goes much deeper than that, knowing McCarthy, so I reckon I have a lot of reading to do..!
Whilst I'm talking of characters, I'm not entirely sure of the point of Woody Harrelson. Didn't think he offered anything other than to talk up how dangerous Anton is, which felt unnecessary as he did a good enough job himself.
The film also felt very "large". There was always somewhere for the characters to run to, as unlikely it was to outrun Anton. Which I consider to be a positive of the film, actually. They have they whole of Texas and Mexico to run to, yet the whole time, everyone feels trapped. To create, not really a sense of claustrophobia, but more one of there being nowhere left to truly hide, is quite an achievement considering how open and expansive the setting was.
Just to sum up what I thought: it was a good film, very disturbing at times, very tense, nicely shot and 3 great main characters. Not the 10/10 film that it gets scored as sometimes, but definitely didn't deserve to be put off so many times.