No Country for Old Men ★★★★½

When I first saw No Country for Old Men, I found it an engaging crime story but I didn't see it as much more than that. I think one thing that hurt was that I watched it during the daytime then, whereas I started it this time a little before 3:00 AM. I try not to watch movies during daytime, because the world is too distracting.

This time around, I also already knew the story and plot points. That eliminated the surprise factor, but it also freed me up to get caught up in little things without fear that I would miss something important. For instance, this film is rough on dogs but cats not only go unharmed; they precede death to people, like oranges in The Godfather movies. I'm pretty sure I'm going to die alone and be eaten by the cats, so I was a lot more attuned to that this time than I was when I watched it the first time (when I was still happily married and wasn't concerned about my fate).

I drew a parallel of personalities between Josh Brolin's Llewelyn and my brother, and likewise between Tommy Lee Jones's Ed Tom and myself. Two years ago, I relied heavily on blogging to help me process depression. I felt useful to people, based on the kind of feedback those posts generated. But then last year, all that dried up. I came to feel like all I was doing was contributing to the world's plentiful supply of white noise. I felt a lot like Ed Tom feels about the escalation of depravity in his world. At some point, I think we all wonder what the point of even trying to do anything about the nature of the world even is.

What I appreciated most was what Barry Corbin's Ellis says to Ed Tom, noting "What you got ain't nothin' new." My education background is in history. I know how depraved and cruel the worlds before ours were. I know better than to buy into the myth that things used to be great but have deteriorated only within recent memory. And because I understand these things as I do, I found myself oddly comforted by Ellis making that argument. "You can't stop what's coming. It ain't all waiting on you. That's vanity," warns Ellis.

The last scene is brilliant. Sitting at breakfast with his wife, newly retired Ed Tom clearly has no idea what to do with himself. I have no doubt that he earned his retirement, just as I don't doubt that he's the kind of man who will never be able to enjoy it. He didn't retire to do anything; he retired to get away from things like Anton Chigurh. The rest of his days will be spent feeling guilty for walking away from the war, and frustration at having to stand back and watch the world burn.

No Country for Old Men was nominated for several Oscars and won some of them. I've lost my interest in writing more right now so all I want to say is that of all the great mysteries of the universe, one of the few that I'd truly care to understand is how Roger Deakins has gone so long without winning for his cinematography. I've never seen a movie he shot that didn't look amazing.

No Country for Old Men Re-Ranked on My Flickchart (#426/1615)

No Country for Old Men > Looney Tunes: Back in Action --> #426
No Country for Old Men < The Artist --> #426
No Country for Old Men > Marnie --> #426
No Country for Old Men > The Amateurs --> #426
No Country for Old Men > House on Haunted Hill (1999) --> #426
No Country for Old Men < The Arctic Giant --> #430
No Country for Old Men > Vince Vaughn's Wild West Comedy Show --> #430
No Country for Old Men > Lifted --> #430
No Country for Old Men < The Battleship Potemkin --> #433
No Country for Old Men > Mon Oncle Antoine --> #433

No Country for Old Men was re-ranked on my Flickchart to #433/1615

80th Academy Awards (2007)
(W) ACTOR IN A SUPPORTING ROLE -- Javier Bardem {"Anton Chigurh"}
(N) CINEMATOGRAPHY -- Roger Deakins
(W) DIRECTING -- Joel Coen and Ethan Coen
(N) FILM EDITING -- Roderick Jaynes
(W) BEST PICTURE -- Scott Rudin, Ethan Coen and Joel Coen, Producers
(N) SOUND EDITING -- Skip Lievsay
(N) SOUND MIXING -- Skip Lievsay, Craig Berkey, Greg Orloff and Peter Kurland
(W) WRITING (Adapted Screenplay) -- Written for the screen by Joel Coen & Ethan Coen