In Memoriam 1942 – 2013 “Roger Ebert loved movies.”

RogerEbert.com

Thumb_otcv3wwkz0vjyicozgz2ahej5uv

John Wick

The film breathes exhilarating life into its tired premise, thanks to some dazzling action choreography, stylish visuals and–most importantly–a vintage anti-hero performance from Keanu Reeves.

Thumb_j0gvkbn0bjd9wfkn6jxr1kbyu5

Low Down

Preiss' movie does a consistently excellent job of explaining the lure of jazz, and the psychology of addicts, their enablers and their children, without explaining…

Other Reviews
Review Archives
Thumb_xbepftvyieurxopaxyzgtgtkwgw

Ballad of Narayama

"The Ballad of Narayama" is a Japanese film of great beauty and elegant artifice, telling a story of startling cruelty. What a space it opens…

Thumb_jrluxpegcv11ostmz1fqha1bkxq

Monsieur Hire

Patrice Leconte's "Monsieur Hire" is a tragedy about loneliness and erotomania, told about two solitary people who have nothing else in common. It involves a…

Other Reviews
Great Movie Archives
Other Articles
Life Itself Archives
Other Articles
Channel Archives

No Country for Old Manhood

ncend.jpg

Sheriff Ed Tom Bell's padre is the "younger man" now, but he can't help compare himself to the old-timers like his father, grandfather, Uncle Mac...

Yeah, I'm sick of those "No Country for..." headlines (and the "There Will Be..." variations, too, but this one fits so perfectly.... In the February issue of Sight & Sound, Ben Walters and J.M. Tyree write that, at heart, the Coens' film is "an interrogation of American manhood." This is a wonderful paragraph:

There are no edifying models of manhood here. Sheriff Bell is well intentioned but troubled and halting; Moss is courageously but disastrously foolhardy. (Both Moss and Chigurh make repeated attempts at the sort of improvisatory survivalism that was a staple of 1980s television shows like "MacGyver" and "The A-Team," though Chigurh is notably more accomplished.) In Bell's and Moss' marriages, though -- with Bell's strongly reminiscent of the loving, supportive relationship between Marge and Norm in "Fargo" (1996) -- the Coens once again suggest that human connection trumps Hollywood-style man-alone heroism. Just compare the relaxed, warm atmosphere of the Moss trailer or the Bell homestead with the dump motels to whose garish signage, flimsy walls and soulless decorations the film pays such keen and damning attention. Here as elsewhere, hotels are the setting for a series of big and little deaths, most of them pointless and dumb. Sheriff Bell recognises the absurdity at work in this world. "I laugh myself sometimes," he says. "Ain't a whole lot else you can do."

Walters and Tyree offer a provocative take on the "Chugurh-as-serial-killer" angle, too. I've written about how he doesn't (literally the "serial killer," profile but I dig this a lot:

Bardem's character, however, fits satisfyingly into the Coens' ongoing interrogation of American manhood, which they present as always problematic and often absurd, gleefully suggesting here that its most successful incarnation might be a serial killer. Patient, implacable and ultra-capable, Chigurh is also alien, even supernatural in his presumptive superiority. The model of consummate self-sufficiency, he seems to lampoon the frontier ethos of the Reaganite Cowboy Man: to Chigurh humans are a form of livestock, occasionally diverting but ultimately disposable; his favoured method of execution is a hydraulic cattle-gun. Plainly though non-specifically foreign, he takes a Martian's-eye view of American life.

Sometimes a foreigner can offer an illuminating perspective that's harder for the locals to see....

Popular Blog Posts

Who do you read? Good Roger, or Bad Roger?

This message came to me from a reader named Peter Svensland. He and a fr...

"1941": An Appreciation and Interview with Bob Gale

An appreciation of "1941" and interview with Bob Gale.

A free man: L.M. "Kit" Carson, 1941-2014

An appreciation of filmmaker, writer and actor L.M. "Kit" Carson, a singular talent.

NYFF 2014: Paul Thomas Anderson’s “Inherent Vice”

A review of Paul Thomas Anderson's "Inherent Vice" from the 2014 New York Film Festival.

Reveal Comments
comments powered by Disqus