No Country For Old Men Joel and Ethan Coen

No Country For Old Men Joel and Ethan Coen
For their most violent and perhaps darkest film, the brothers Coen have received the most acclaim. But No Country For Old Men, while certainly dark, occasionally nihilistic and with a downbeat ending that unsatisfied moviegoers dubbed "controversial,” in many ways is business as usual for the Coens. They’re amongst the best the American film scene has to offer, but the impression given by this DVD is that they formed their own little clique years ago and are happy just puttering away. Though they take on a remarkable number of tasks themselves (writing, directing, producing and editing together), their support team is made up of long-time friends and collaborators, particularly MVP director of photography Roger Deakins. The "making of” featurette attempts to define the Coens’ world and vision as stars Josh Brolin, Javier Bardem and Tommy Lee Jones (amongst others) attempt to simply define what a Coen brothers film is: tragedy, comedy, drama, action - it’s just the Coens is the near-inevitable conclusion. Balancing three equally weighted story threads amongst protagonists who never meet and share no screen time, No Country is possibly the most unusual action/chase film ever made. It feels paranoid and homey; it’s a quest and a heist flick; it meditates on greed and justice and the nature of violence while giving no answers and prognosticating no thesis. It offers the characters’ perspective without preaching to the viewer. And that leaves it as open to interpretation - which is likely to change during and after several viewings - as any piece of their film canon. While historically the Coens are not forthcoming with the DVD love, and this has the reluctant feel of studio-backed pressure, three featurettes generally cover similar ground: they’re awesome, any actor would give a limb to work with them (perhaps only Woody Allen inspires such blind faith from actors) and they’re unique in the filmmaking landscape. For that, we can forgive their unwillingness to talk so much about it. (Alliance Atlantis)