No Country for Old Men

Disclaimer: I do not recommend popular books or films to people – we all must exercise discernment. I only comment on what I have seen or read.

I watched this movie last week. I had a free evening when the wife and children were away and I knew that this was a film that Lydia would probably not want to watch or enjoy if she did. I was right.

I was curious to see what all the buzz was about, as the film won the oscar for best picture, Javier Bardem won the best supporting actor oscar, and the Cohen brothers won for best director(s). While I have not seen any of the other pictures nominated in the best picture category, I can see why this movie won these awards.
So here are a few of my thoughts on the movie:

1) It is incredibly well done in all aspects: acting, directing, the overall feel of the movie. It all works.

2) This is not a typical “hollywood” movie, with accompanying ending. All does not end well.

3) The movie is very violent.  Not in a Saving Private Ryan kind of way where the violence is expected and anticipated, but in a context more familiar to most of us.  Of course, violence is always lurking in the darkness of our society – we would just prefer to ignore that fact and shut our eyes/ears to it.

4) There are some incredible scenes, especially when Chighur (Bardem) is in the gas station with the attendant.

5) I felt empty inside after watching the film.  I also made sure my doors were locked (someone reminded me that wouldn’t have mattered, but I wasn’t thinking logically).  In that way, the movie works. You do feel something that is not typical of most box-office movies, even if it’s emptiness.

6) I’m not sure if I am better for having seen this film or not. I did seek out some takes on the movie and appreciated this one from Christianity Today.

If you saw the movie, what did you think? How did you feel after watching it?


2 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by Helen on April 8, 2008 at 3:25 pm

    I’m not sure where to start about this movie. I can see how it might have left you feeling empty. It didn’t for me, and I don’t really know why. My impression afterwards was only how well the story was told, how gripping the plot line, and above all, how well the actors portrayed these very flawed and broken individuals. Maybe I take movies less seriously than you do. I probably should spend more time evaluating the message of the movies I see. What would the message of this flick be?

    Deep evil is all around us and within us? More troubling than that, the movie seems to be telling us that fighting against the evil is useless.


  2. Posted by adamtisdale on April 8, 2008 at 7:26 pm

    I think that is the trouble for me – the message. The options are not very appealing. For this reason, I would be interested to read the book to see if it is a little more clear or more pointed. That said, some of the best stories are those that leave you with questions that are unanswered by that story.

    I would go further with than your suggestions, which are good. It’s not just that there is evil around and within and that it is evil, but that God is nowhere to be found. And there is a greater question: Is he nowhere to be found because he doesn’t exist or because he doesn’t care any longer about humanity and the evil it so easily sows and reaps? Or is this just what society looks like without the presence of God.

    Of course, this isn’t the message of the Bible, but it may very well be how many people view the world.


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