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  • 4/5

Beneath the eye-catching photography and violence, and the good acting, there lies an empty plot !!

Other than bratty English major head games, pretty much the entire substance of "No Country for Old Men" is a series of murders and tortures committed by Chigurh, who may symbolize your high school's worst bully a bully so terrifying exactly because he targeted English majors. His victims are often courteous; their likability makes watching them be humiliated and then murdered an uncomfortable, and, given the film's structure, ultimately pointless exercise. Not only are the Coen Brothers torturing their characters, they also torment their ticket-buying audiences.

Chigurh's nice victims are often poor, rural, Southern, whites, the kind of people often not featured as positive, lead characters in Hollywood entertainments. They are often villains witness films like "Deliverance." Here they are murder victims. Chigurh is associated with Mexicans, part of a rising "dismal tide," as one Anglo character puts it. No matter how you feel about immigration, you may find this association of Mexicans with a rising tide of evil to be offensive.

The film's boosters insist that the movie offers three deep and shocking lessons: life doesn't always follow a neat narrative structure; evil often triumphs; and the old days were more peaceful and, nowadays, things are getting really bad. In truth, everyone walking in to the theater already knows the first two "lessons." No one needs the Coen brothers to inform him that life doesn't always follow a neat narrative structure, or that evil often triumphs. We expect filmmakers, and all artists, to offer us a more substantial thesis. As for the third "lesson," that the old days were more peaceful and things are getting really bad today -- have the Coens, or Cormac McCarthy, heard of Attila the Hun, or any number of other less-than-peaceful and courteous personages from our common human past? One might well be dubious about "No Country"'s "lessons." Visit internet discussion boards devoted to this movie, and you will find fans asking, not "What is fate?" or "What is the role of a good man in a bad world?" but questions like, "If Hannibal Lector and Anton Chigurh were locked in a room, who would come out alive?" Given such reflections, one is safe in concluding that the appeal of this film is its emphasis on graphic violence, rather than on any more advanced intellectual or artistic merit.

The worst thing of all though is the ending, you keep thinking that the bad guy will get caught, but no he gets away, after killing like 1 million people, and the film closes with our Sheriff who's done jack anyway talking about some dreams he had. I was literally astounded by this film, it started off well, but just when you were waiting for something to happen, like a showdown between psycho and thief, nothing happened. If you want to waste your time go watch this, otherwise pick something else.

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