Monday, February 25, 2008

Blog on Life Support... and No Country for Old Men

The lifelessness of this blog will soon render it the blog equivalent of those dead, fly-bothered bodies near the start of No Country for Old Men.

Anyway, nearly three weeks ago, I was going to write about No Country, and now that it's won all those Academy Awards (so I read), I'll finally offer a few words. My initial response was that No Country felt like a secular Flannery O'Connor on steroids (which is what I also said about Harry Crews' great novel, A Feast of Sneaks -- which is probably more like O'Connor on steroids, booze, meanness, and PCP, or something). I didn't, however, read the novel No Country, though my dictionary and I have read a couple other books by Cormac McCarthy. Back to my O'Connor statement: the villain with the wacky haircut in No Country is interested in fate and balance, in meanness as a sort of fulfillment (a la O'Connor's Misfit in "A Good Man is Hard to Find.") and justification for this life on earth. He is ostensibly after money, but that seems like a secondary concern. Unlike, O'Connor -- and unlike traditional crime fare -- No Country does not move toward a clean or at least generically expected end. I don't want to spoil that ending, so I won't say anything more specific, but I would add that its narrative line makes it admirable and troubling, but it will make the film less fulfilling for some viewers. It's worth noting that the film looks great, and there are some fine scenes and great Coen brothers' dialogue. No Country may not be warrant the highest praise it received, but it shouldn't be missed by those who like their crime and violence served neat.

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