BluRay/DVD Reviews

NO COUNTRY FOR OLD MEN

By • Apr 20th, 2009 •

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I have to lead with a gripe. Remember laser discs? On laser disc covers you could read all the information easily. On DVDs, it was much harder. Often finding the running time was like doing one of those visual puzzles where you have to find seven barnyard animals that have been hidden in a drawing. On BluRay covers, the small print is virtually impossible to decipher without a loop. And they don’t make it easier by choosing a dark typeface and laying it against a dark background, as is the case with NO COUNTRY.

That said, BluRay has been acknowledged as the final step in outdoing theatrical projection. Some recent releases are closer in quality to the DVD release than older films, in which the BR differences are retina-melting. NO COUNTRY FOR OLD MEN certainly looks smashing on DVD, but the Coens are into ultra-sharp cinematography, and the BluRay has the edge in this area. Distance details are clearly sharper than on the DVD. Blacks are perhaps a little darker, with a little less shadow detail. But the sharpness is profound.

The film has won many best film awards – among them the NBR Award and the Academy Award. At the NBR ceremony, Josh Brolin took the stage and immediately led with “What was up with Act Three?” Very clever. It’s the tilting point between people who love the film and those who think the third act killed it. I guess it’s sorta nice having a split camp on that aspect.

I’m in the negative camp myself. I think the film very intentionally undercuts all it has been building towards, even if, as has been said in its defense, it was practically the same in McCarthy’s book. But it’s a compelling decision to make for yourself. Yes or no on the unfulfilled promises and ambiguities… There’s so much good acting, good directing, and good cinematography along the way, it’s worth taking the ride.

As for the supplements, much has been said of the Coens finally being on display. They’re barely, although you do see them a bit, and hear them talk, and there’s a sense of what it’s like to work with them. Then we get an extra supplement, which isn’t on the DVD, of Josh Brolin’s mini-doc about the shoot, and suddenly things get very mysterious about the Coens again. I like that obfuscation between the docs – it’s so ‘them’.

So incredibly much has been made of Brolin’s screen-test for the film, shot by Robert Rogriguez and directed by Quentin Tarantino, that it is sorely missed as a supplemental.

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One Response »

  1. This movie is the best that I watched recently. The plot is very original and intriguing. I was surprised by the fact that Tommy Lee Jones did nothing during whole movie, he was just appearing here and there, but he didn’t affected development of story at all.

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