Bil’s rating (out of 5): BBBBB.
USA, 2007. Paramount Vantage, Miramax, Scott Rudin Productions, Mike Zoss Productions. Screenplay by Joel Coen, Ethan Coen, based on the novel by Cormac McCarthy. Cinematography by Roger Deakins. Produced by Ethan Coen, Joel Coen. Music by Carter Burwell. Production Design by Jess Gonchor. Costume Design by Mary Zophres. Film Editing by Ethan Coen, Joel Coen.
Every once in a long while, the brothers Coen put aside their desire to make us watch their take on one of their favourite old movies and instead create something vibrant and original. For the first time since Fargo (though I really did enjoy The Man Who Wasn’t There) they accomplish this task, creating a moody, intense western that is probably their best film after the aforementioned snowbound classic. Josh Brolin (superb), is a Texas welder on a hunting excursion in the desert who comes across a group of dead bodies, abandoned drugs and a bag full of money. Across the state, a demon in human form (Javier Bardem) is on a trail towards the cash and will stop at nothing to get it. Brolin gets his sweet wife (Kelly Macdonald) to go hide out with her mother before setting himself on a course in the hopes of outwitting Bardem, but the stakes get crazier as the journey becomes more and more twisted. Riveting from start to finish, this is a perfectly polished film that grabs hold of you and never lets you go, even when the final third goes in some pretty unexpected places. Tommy Lee Jones shines as the sheriff who has seen too much and is starting to be affected by his job, while Tess Harper makes a brief appearance as his wife. Somehow Brolin makes the average qualities of his character entirely compelling, while Bardem’s villain is probably the scariest bad guy the screen has seen in decades. Adapted, most skillfully, from the novel by Cormac McCarthy (All The Pretty Horses).
Academy Awards: Best Picture; Best Supporting Actor (Javier Bardem); Best Director (Joel Coen, Ethan Coen); Best Adapted Screenplay
Nominations: Best Cinematography; Best Film Editing; Best Sound Mixing; Best Sound Editing
Cannes Film Festival: In Competition
Golden Globe Awards: Best Supporting Actor (Javier Bardem); Best Screenplay
Nominations: Best Picture-Drama; Best Director (Joel Coen, Ethan Coen)
Screen Actors Guild Awards: Outstanding Motion Picture Cast; Best Supporting Actor (Javier Bardem)
Nominations: Best Supporting Actor (Tommy Lee Jones)
Toronto International Film Festival: 2007