Jump to content

No Country for Old Men (2007)


Overstreet
 Share

Recommended Posts

I'll have to spend some time reading the article Jeff linked to that makes n argument for the Coen brothers as anything other than Nihilistic. Every film I see of theirs seems to confirm that idea.

I highly encourage you to read David Dark's essay on the Coens in his book Everyday Apocalypse. Dark does a great job of pointing out the life flowing through the Coens' films.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Replies 202
  • Created
  • Last Reply

Top Posters In This Topic

To me it seems clear that the Coen Brothers are interested in toppling any master narrative: Justice, Law, Religion, Fate. They portray a universe that's unraveling metaphysically and even their own narrative form is a failed narrative. The "accident" teases us into believing that some higher force is going to exert justice, that the bad guy will get caught. But... nope, he makes it out okay.

This is nicely put. As good as Dark is on basically...everything...I disagree with him on the Coens. There are some analogies that can be drawn between No Country and A History of Violence, especially in how critics identify the form of specific violent images in the film (or absence thereof) and the theme of the film regarding the "vanity" of justice/violence/etc... The big difference between the two films is that Cronenberg's film does actually direct the viewer towards a thoughtful pacifism by being exposed to the body horror of physical rage, whether it is righteous or not. The film is ultimately Millbank and Yoder in scope. No Country on the other hand makes none of these decisions, ultimately leaving the viewer to walk out of the theater enjoying whatever thoughts they walked in with. They can either nod along with the trite "It ain't all waitin' on you" bit and find some meaningful statement regarding violence and justice, or they can exit the film with Chigurh pretty much in the clear and think of the film as a quasi-black comedy like Fargo. This sort of filmmaking, especially with all the questions regarding the judicial use of force haunting America's conscience at the moment, is a bit troubling.

"...the vivid crossing of borders between film and theology may save the film from the banality of cinema and festival business, and it may also save the church from the deep sleep of the habitual and the always known."

(Hans Werner Dannowski)

Filmwell | Twitter

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I agree broadly with the sentiment of the last paragraph, but wonder how/why it justifies anything more than a mediocre critical assessment of the film.

Forgive me if I'm misunderstanding you. But I never thought that this paragraph performed the function of justifying my critical assessment. In fact, it only addresses a fraction of what I admire about the film. It was the last paragraph of a review far too short to give the film its due. (Consarn those word-count limits.)

I believe I also praised Jones for one of his finest performances, along with the rather impressive turns from the rest of the cast. I praised Deakins' cinematography, which is as hot and dry and intense as McCarthy's prose. I was impressed with the Coens' willingness to forego their usual Carter Burwell soundtrack to venture into bolder sound design. And all of these things worked together to draw us into the genre conventions just enough that the subversion of those conventions would be effective in spurring us to think about what this mess all means.

And even so, I don't join the chorus calling this the Coens' masterpiece. It is a powerful adaptation of a compelling novel that gives us more to think aobut than the typical genre picture. Of the films I've seen this year, few have been as well crafted, or made me want to write a 5,000 word review instead of a 1,200 word review.

We appeal to this theme so often to justify any number of violences in a given film or text that takes place in America, I am at a loss to determine the point at which such a paragraph becomes anything other than generic?

The silence of God, and the insufficiency of human justice -- it's a rather important theme, don't you think? If a film or any other work of art explores it in a meaningful way, that's better than a work that encourages the downward spiral.

And you find the paragraph generic? I mean, I'm certainly willing to accept that assessment. My apologies.

My aim was to take what little space I was afforded and conclude by bringing people back to a scene that's easily overlooked with the chaos unleashed after it. In that scene, I think, we find one of the key statements in the story's subversion of the typical Western Justice story.

It might be that McCarthy is being cynical, saying that those who excuse themselves of the responsibility only give Evil that much more advantage. Or it may be that he wants to raise the question about where the responsibility for cleaning up the mess of human evil resides. I'm interested in Peter's interpretation: That it might be about how we are vain to expect some kind of settlement to our satisfaction, by God, or karma, or anyone/anything else. And I could go on with other interpretations of that scene. But it seemed to me an important moment that sets this story apart from the typical story of the Killer On the Loose.

I'm just curious: Have you read the book, MLeary? Are you as dissatisfied with McCarthy's work as you are the Coens' efforts here?

It just seems that a film better be formally brilliant if this is the only point it seems to make...

"The only point?" I would never sum up No Country for Old Men as "a film with a point." It is a story. And one well-told, in my opinion. It opens up a space in which we can discuss quite a lot of things. And, as usual, the mirror that the Coens choose to hold up to the culture at large is a fun-house mirror... one that exaggerates for effect (and some of that effect is comical, even as it sharpens our sense of what the story is really about).

This movie has me thinking about the relationship between the rise in senseless violence and the decline in respect for tradition, propriety, family, the sacredness of human life, and more. It has me thinking about whether or not the proliferation of prime-time depictions of law and order (American-style) is finally becoming transparent, finally showing its lack.

I don't think the film glorifies Chigurh or his violence. Chigurh seems like a buffoon, little more than a bloodhound with an air compression tank. He is frightening because he is so ludicrous, and yet even more frightening is the idea of a nation in which he can move about so freely.

If the film paints anyone in a respectable light, it's Carla Jean Moss. She cares for her idiot husband. She has a moral compass that seems somewhat intact. She hangs on to some kind of innocence, and in the end speaks as if there is something more important than her ability to survive a confrontation with a killer.

I think one of the film's most important moments comes when Bell pulls over the truck carrying corpses. What hope is there for dignity in a nation when the cops are busy stopping ordinary people and pleading with them to show even a slight gesture of respect for the dead?

Other moments that seemed important:

- The exchange between Moss and the boys about the shirt.

- The exchange between the younger boys and Chigurh over the shirt.

- The recurring nods to Vietnam veterans as men who receive gestures of respect and pity for having served in a war that was doomed to go bad, as if Vietnam is a metaphor for the attempt to establish law and order in all of Western Civilisation.

Anyway, I'm rambling, but that is partly because I'm a little baffled at how to respond to a question that places so much expectation on the concluding paragraph of a review (especially a review that's only long enough to scratch the surface).

The "accident" teases us into believing that some higher force is going to exert justice, that the bad guy will get caught. But... nope, he makes it out okay.

IIRC, the book ends a little differently, and if I'm right, then that's something well worth considering. I've been impressed with this film as a remarkable work of adaptation, one that revises the text in significant ways while somehow capturing the novel's tone and themes more powerfully than most translations from novel to screen. But I've had this nagging sense that the edits at the end have made things even bleaker, suggesting that the villain has a sort of Lecter-like invincibility.

And about that "tease" ... I don't know, there are chapters in the Bible that make me feel the same way. Jesus' disciples, off getting crucified upside-down and persecuted, and no chariot coming from heaven to save them, no lightning bolts striking down their enemies. The film feels rather true-to-life for me. Ecclesiastes, if you will. There's no satisfying justice, not visible, not playing out on the streets. Not yet. And that leaves open the question: Despair, or faith? I think the film (and the book, frankly) might have "teased" us with questions about faith a little more, but that's a quibble. Overall, I accept this film, and this book, as an eloquent, unsettling, justifiable cry of frustration at the silence of God. It's the kind of thing that set the heroes of the faith in scripture to ranting at their Lord.

Edited by Jeffrey Overstreet

P.S.  I COULD BE WRONG.

 

Takin' 'er easy for all you sinners at lookingcloser.org. Also abiding at Facebook and Twitter.

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Forgive me if I'm misunderstanding you. But I never thought that this paragraph performed the function of justifying my critical assessment. In fact, it only addresses a fraction of what I admire about the film. It was the last paragraph of a review far too short to give the film its due. (Consarn those word-count limits.)

I was speaking more generally there. My logic is: Since, at the end of the day, this is at best a generic film that deals with themes we have seen over and over and over, then any positive review of the film will be accordingly generic in its praise of the way No Country deals with these themes. It wasn't particularly directed at you even though your review is what spurred my thoughts this direction. You are definitely right about their sound design, as I was quite happy to see them trying something a bit different, more appropriate to the adaptation.

The silence of God, and the insufficiency of human justice -- it's a rather important theme, don't you think? If a film or any other work of art explores it in a meaningful way, that's better than a work that encourages the downward spiral.

Yeah, I dig such themes. I just don't think the Coen brothers deal with them as well (or "authentically"?) as many others do.

I'm interested in Peter's interpretation: That it might be about how we are vain to expect some kind of settlement to our satisfaction, by God, or karma, or anyone/anything else. And I could go on with other interpretations of that scene. But it seemed to me an important moment that sets this story apart from the typical story of the Killer On the Loose.

Peter's reading is how I have been thinking of the film, pretty much the classic "Western" question. Even more: "You think you can do anything to stop senseless evil? That is vanity." This begins to echo through so many biblical narratives that I would vastly prefer approaching the question through some other film, as I am bugged by the ambiguity of the Coen's finished product. I don't want to assume I know or understand them, but at times I wonder if they hide behind snark as a way to fend off the need to make bold conclusions. The differences between this film and A History of Violence seem important in that respect.

I'm just curious: Have you read the book, MLeary? Are you as dissatisfied with McCarthy's work as you are the Coens' efforts here?

I am interested by how the Coens empower Carla Jean at the end by letting her not toss the coin. I seem to remember that in the book she agrees to toss the coin because she knows it doesn't matter either way, and thus the film lends her plight a flicker of dignity that McCarthy denies her. I have enjoyed wondering why the Coen's change that little detail. On the whole though Jeffrey, I didn't like the structure of the book, as it tumbles about halfway through into reflection and then moves slowly towards a conclusion of sorts.

I don't think the film glorifies Chigurh or his violence. Chigurh seems like a buffoon, little more than a bloodhound with an air compression tank. He is frightening because he is so ludicrous, and yet even more frightening is the idea of a nation in which he can move about so freely.

I had the toughest time apprehending this character in particular. The fact that he really is a "buffoon" is very troubling, especially as he got the most laughs in the theater. I don't think the Coen's really "got" what Chigurh is all about and by default consigned him to their classic "somewhat unsettlingly funny murderous villians" category when he is far more inscrutable than that. This film would have been much more insightful had there been some minute adjustments to Chigurh that would have allowed the audience to perceive him as something other than a Coen brothers character sketch. He should be more of a Frank (Blue Velvet) than a Grimsrud or Showalter (Fargo).

Your point about comparing the "shirt scenes" is interesting. All the Vietnam allusions and attendant themes you mention come to a hilt when Moss is trying to buy that guy's coat. In comparison, Chigurh's shirt scene fails to connect any dots. It simply becomes absurdist (Coen brother's default mode) when it should be tragic. Would have to think about that a bit more, thanks for pointing it out.

"...the vivid crossing of borders between film and theology may save the film from the banality of cinema and festival business, and it may also save the church from the deep sleep of the habitual and the always known."

(Hans Werner Dannowski)

Filmwell | Twitter

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Jeffrey Overstreet wrote:

: But I've had this nagging sense that the edits at the end have made things even bleaker, suggesting that the villain has a sort of Lecter-like invincibility.

Hmmm, I haven't read the book, but I did find Glenn Kenny's comments in this regard interesting (SPOILERS GALORE!!!):

There are two very significant things going on in the last quarter of the movie that differ from the book.

The first is the emphasis on the idea of Chigurh as an actual supernatural figure. By the time the killer, so fantastically incarnated by Javier Bardem, strides into the office of Stephen Root -- whose character is merely billed as "Man Who Hires Wells" -- with that enormous gun at his side, even a filmgoer who's not one of "The Plausibles" (as Hitchcock derisiviely referred to plot nitpickers) might well ask "How did he get past reception?" But the ugly galvanic action kicks in before the question can finish, and then there's the exchange with the fellow from Accounting, who finally asks, "Are you going to shoot me?" To which Chigurh replies, "That depends. Do you see me?"

A little later, after the motel massacre, discussing Chigurh with "local law enforcement," Bell muses, "Sometimes I think he's just pretty much a ghost." In the book, Bell summons local law when he thinks he's got Chigurh locked down at the motel...which he figures by watching the cars in the lot. The film places him in much closer physical proximity to Chigurh, to much more mysterious effect. . . .

So, then, Bell's visit with Ellis. Wherein he tries to explain to Ellis why he's quitting, and Ellis offers him words of, well, not-quite consolation. After this, in the Coens' film, comes the scene where Chigurh visits Carla Jean, and has the car accident. And then the finale, with Bell, retired, telling his dreams to Loretta.

The order of the action in the book is different, and creates a different feel. Chigurh's visit to Carla Jean and his accident happen pretty much directly after the massacre and Chigurh's escape. Bell continues to pursue the case after hearing of Carla Jean's death, contacting the FBI in the hope of getting a fingerprint. He questions the kids who witnessed Chigurh

"Sympathy must precede belligerence. First I must understand the other, as it were, from the inside; then I can critique it from the outside. So many people skip right to the latter." -- Steven D. Greydanus
Now blogging at Patheos.com. I can also still be found at Facebook, Twitter and Flickr. See also my film journal.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Awesome thread, and some great reviews too.

Love this:

McCarthy has always struck me as a master of tone. The old testament feeling of No Country is inescapable. All the characters choose their path and it has to play out according to the codes that they have subscribed to.

And really love this:

There is an interesting tension in this film between absurdism and fatalism. Fatalism tells us our lives are meaningless because nothing can change what's going to happen to us, including the fact that we will die. Absurdism tells us our lives are meaningless because the things that happen to us are random and unpredictable, and ultimately there is no one who can take the raw data of our lives and hold it together in a narrative that will make any meaningful sense. So the film tells us that our lives are meaningless, and it mourns this fact.

But I'm still stuck on this:

It's one thing not to like the ending -- I keep hearing that -- but another to think that it's completely beside the point...

And this:

...at times I wonder if they hide behind snark as a way to fend off the need to make bold conclusions.

-- Cuz the ending, whether full of meaning or beside the point, still really felt like a rip off after such a tense, somewhat emotionally-draining narrative. Jeffrey's right that this film really needs to be approached as a story, but the problem with that is that stories are expected to deliver endings. And I guess in this case, by "ending," I am referring to a plot ending, because I can see what they were trying to do with the speech at the end. It's just too bad nothing else could resolve after such a well-made narrative was developed.

On the record, though, I really loved this film. And I'm convinced that I'll like it even more upon a second viewing. But it certainly isn't a Miller's Crossing or a Blood Simple, (or even a History of Violence), much as it tries to be.

-s.

In an interstellar burst, I am back to save the Universe.

Filmsweep by Persona. 2013 Film Journal. IlPersona.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

God bless Matt Zoller Seitz. This is a great piece of writing about No Country for Old Men and the Coens' whole catalog.

I agree, that's a good piece of writing. I came away from the film perplexed, disappointed, even strangely antagonistic. I came to realize that my frustration had significantly to do with the latter part of the film, which I perceived as messy and perhaps overly clever rather than subtle or understated. But I also thought it very likely that I was over-reacting, that I had simply missed some of the subtleties - tiredness, who knows? - and that the film was better than I. Did a bunch of reading since then to try and get a handle on it.

Point being, Seitz's piece has done much to help me appreciate the film. I think I'd be well served to revisit the film, and to re-read this review beforehand.

One question. What does he mean by "the film's invocation of William Butler Yeats' "The Second Coming""? Is he mis-identifying the title reference to that Yeats poem, which belongs to another, "Sailing To Byzantium"? Or is he picking up on multiple Yeatsisms?

R

I've posted a couple hundred of my Soul Food Movies write-ups at letterboxd

Link to comment
Share on other sites

One question. What does he mean by "the film's invocation of William Butler Yeats' "The Second Coming""? Is he mis-identifying the title reference to that Yeats poem, which belongs to another, "Sailing To Byzantium"? Or is he picking up on multiple Yeatsisms?

R

I think it's multiple. The title may come from "Sailing To Byzantium," but I think the line from "The Second Coming" that he may be referring to is "The best lack all conviction, while the worst/Are full of passionate intensity." I'm not sure I agree with that reading of the film, but the force of evil that is Chigurh is definitely overwhelming.

Reading the poem again, I can also see echoes of "Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;/Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world."

Dark stuff, but I love the connection.

"A director must live with the fact that his work will be called to judgment by someone who has never seen a film of Murnau's." - François Truffaut

Twitter.
Letterboxd.

Reviews and essays at Three Brothers Film.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Ever since reading Blood Meridian I've thought it would make a wonderful movie. A friend of mine insisted it would actually be too violent to get made in any way which was true to the book. And after watching No Country For Old Men I'm inclined to agree with him. McCarthy's vision is extraordinarily bleak and largely predicated upon the notion that violence is an eternally occurring primal drive, hence the epigraph to Blood Meridian about the discovery of an ancient skeleton which appears to have been scalped. The movie was brilliantly made, the suspense when Moss is being chased by the Mexicans and the dog and when he is close to being caught in the motel by Chigurh is reminiscent of the best of Hitchcock. The scenes are like jet-powered versions of similar scenes in Blood Simple. But when Moss is killed off-camera I couldn't help wondering why we'd been cajoled into investing so much time in worrying about his well-being. This is also not the Coens fault but the fact that 21st century audiences seem so innured to violence meant that, when I saw No Country in the cinema at least, a lot of people laughed at almost all of the Chigurh killings as if the victims had no more reality than characters from South Park. I thought it was tremendously gripping until the final half hour when the various chases and sub-plots seemed oddly futile. I also thought the Woody Harrelson character seemed superfluous. Wonderful acting from Kelly McDonald though. Maybe fatherhood has made me soft but I think I'll always prefer Raising Arizona and The Big Lebowski to the more noir Coen productions.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Ever since reading Blood Meridian I've thought it would make a wonderful movie.

According to IMDb, Ridley Scott is going to direct the film version of Blood Meridian, due for release in 2009.

Formerly Baal_T'shuvah

"Everyone has the right to make an ass out of themselves. You just can't let the world judge you too much." - Maude 
Harold and Maude
 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I saw the film last night, and am still processing it. I will say, however, that seeing it just a few hours after hearing about the shootings in Colorado, and just a few days after the shootings in Omaha (my old hometown), made the film's depictions of evil much less abtract, and the chaotic, seemingly incomprehensible nature of Chigurh -- which I know has been criticized elsewhere -- much more believable and less fantastical.

"I feel a nostalgia for an age yet to come..."
Opus, Twitter, Facebook

Link to comment
Share on other sites

A few clips from the film's soundtrack can be found on Carter Burwell's website, as well as some of his thoughts on the film's sound design and score.

The film is the quietest I've worked on. Often there is no sound but wind and boots on hard caliche or stocking feet on concrete. Then sporadically there are shootouts involving an unknown number of shooters with shotguns and automatic weapons. It was unclear for a while what kind of score could possibly accompany this film without intruding on this raw quiet. I spoke with the Coens about either an all-percussion score or a melange of sustained tones which would blend in with the sound effects - seemingly emanating from the landscape. We went with the tones.

"I feel a nostalgia for an age yet to come..."
Opus, Twitter, Facebook

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Ridley Scott seems an odd choice to make a film of Blood Meridian which is an incredibly dense, complex and metaphysically inclined novel. He's a skilful director but there doesn't seem to be very much profundity at work in Gladiator, Black Hawk Down or American Gangster for example. Perhaps I'm being a bit uncharitable here and he will outdo himself in getting to grips with the material. But they seem an odd match, Blood Meridian is so far removed from a normal Western. Peckinpah would have been the man for it, in fact the book sometimes reads like it owes something to his films. I don't know if there is anyone who mines the same seam at the moment. In a totally unrelated development I saw Hudsucker Proxy on satellite last night and it was much better than I remembered though the Jennifer Jason Leigh performance was every bit as grating this time round.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

(I'm a big Hudsucker Proxy supporter, Leigh's nasally performance and all. And it's the only Coen film where Buschemi doesn't die.)

I don't even think Peckinpah would've been the man. Blood Meridian is so far removed from the western genre while keeping a western hat on. It walks and talks like a western in some ways, but it's really more of a horror novel revolving around the darkness in men. I really can't think of anyone who could do Blood Meridian 'by the book,' or even close. It'd get an NC-17 rating if they hew close to the events, at the least.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

My review, FWIW.

"I feel a nostalgia for an age yet to come..."
Opus, Twitter, Facebook

Link to comment
Share on other sites

There is an interesting tension in this film between absurdism and fatalism. . . .

At any rate, no scene sums this tension up better than the bit near the end, where

Javier drives a car and approaches an intersection

; you just KNOW that

another car is going to ignore the light and run right into the intersection and hit Javier's car

, that

Javier, who has seemed so "in control" all this time, is suddenly going to lose control

in the most unexpected of ways. But the very fact that you just KNOW it means that, within the dramatic structure of the film, it ISN'T all that unexpected. The CHARACTERS might experience this moment as absurdity, but the film is so masterfully made -- so ably told as a narrative that makes a meaningful point -- that WE experience this moment as fatalism, instead.

Ha! Andrew Potter reacts to this scene, too, albeit differently:

Right up to almost the very end, I was whelmed. And then, as

Javier Bardem's ultra-creepy psycho killer Anton Chigurn is driving away down the leafy suburban street, having summarily disposed of Kelly Macdonald

, I thought:

pleasedon'tlettherebeacarcrashpleasedon'tlettherebeacarcrashpleasedon'tlettherebea

-- and then

BAM!. There's a car crash

, like some bad film-student ripoff of Magnolia. Why

a car crash

? Because it's RANDOM, just like LIFE, where CHANCE is everything, who we are and what we do dictated by the same forces that govern the FLIP of a COIN.

Man alive. The well has well and truly run dry in Coen Bros Country. . . .

"Sympathy must precede belligerence. First I must understand the other, as it were, from the inside; then I can critique it from the outside. So many people skip right to the latter." -- Steven D. Greydanus
Now blogging at Patheos.com. I can also still be found at Facebook, Twitter and Flickr. See also my film journal.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

BUT THAT'S WHAT HAPPENS IN THE BOOK!!

Why condemn filmmakers for adapting their source material faithfully... especially when it comes to something as significant as the story's climactic scene?! Can you imagine what would have happened if they had deleted that rather major detail?

Sorry to shout. But... [Marge Gunderson] JEEEEEZ!! [/Gunderson]

P.S.  I COULD BE WRONG.

 

Takin' 'er easy for all you sinners at lookingcloser.org. Also abiding at Facebook and Twitter.

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I just find it interesting that Andrew Potter could "see it coming", just as I could ... which kind of nullifies, or at least waters down, the scene's intended effect. The fatalism gets in the way of the absurdism, as it were.

I have never read the book, so I am curious as to how the book handles this ... I am curious as to whether the reader can "see it coming" the way the moviegoer can.

"Sympathy must precede belligerence. First I must understand the other, as it were, from the inside; then I can critique it from the outside. So many people skip right to the latter." -- Steven D. Greydanus
Now blogging at Patheos.com. I can also still be found at Facebook, Twitter and Flickr. See also my film journal.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I just find it interesting that Andrew Potter could "see it coming", just as I could ... which kind of nullifies, or at least waters down, the scene's intended effect. The fatalism gets in the way of the absurdism, as it were.

I have never read the book, so I am curious as to how the book handles this ... I am curious as to whether the reader can "see it coming" the way the moviegoer can.

Jeffrey's exactly right. I don't see why you can't get past this, Peter. You saw it coming, what, ten seconds before it happened? It's not as though, five minutes into the film, you thought, "

I bet Chigurh will end up getting slammed into by a car that runs a red light."

Anyway, this is all beside the point, which is what happens after that scene. Can evil be stopped, even by "absurd" turns of "fate"? I've heard from some who think Chigurh wanders off

to die

. Now THAT would be a reading that undermines the movie/book, IMO.

"What matters are movies, not awards; experiences, not celebrations; the subjective power of individual critical points of view, not the declamatory compromises of consensus." - Richard Brody, "Godard's Surprise Win Is a Victory for Independent Cinema," The New Yorker

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I have never read the book, so I am curious as to how the book handles this ... I am curious as to whether the reader can "see it coming" the way the moviegoer can.

It's probably not as obvious in the book (at least as I recall), and since it happens so often in films, we see it coming. One of the unfortunate effects of adapting books to film. But as JO noted, it's really hard to get upset with the writers who leave in the ending of the book, even if doing it in film is not as effective.

A foreign movie can't be stupid.

-from the film
Armin

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Christian wrote:

: I don't see why you can't get past this, Peter. You saw it coming, what, ten seconds before it happened?

"Get past"? All I note is that the scene encapsulizes the tension between absurdism and fatalism in this film. It's a predictable random occurence. Yeah, maybe I didn't see it coming after the film's first five minutes or whatever, but that's not really the point, is it?

"Sympathy must precede belligerence. First I must understand the other, as it were, from the inside; then I can critique it from the outside. So many people skip right to the latter." -- Steven D. Greydanus
Now blogging at Patheos.com. I can also still be found at Facebook, Twitter and Flickr. See also my film journal.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

"Get past it" in the sense that I don't understand why this is a sticking point with you, Potter, or anyone else. I can't nullify your response -- the scene bothered you, and I can't change that. But in light of the outcome of that scene, what's the problem with whether or not one can see it coming a few seconds before it happens? That scene doesn't stand alone. It leads to another scene, and is part of an eventual outcome.

The villain just keeps going

. Isn't that a more important point for discussion? That's what the movie is about, as far as I can tell. The guy is not

omniscient

, but he's

unstoppable

. And you, me, the characters, the viewers, can't stop what's comin'.

"What matters are movies, not awards; experiences, not celebrations; the subjective power of individual critical points of view, not the declamatory compromises of consensus." - Richard Brody, "Godard's Surprise Win Is a Victory for Independent Cinema," The New Yorker

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Christian wrote:

: I can't nullify your response -- the scene bothered you, and I can't change that.

Bothered me?

:

The villain just keeps going

. Isn't that a more important point for discussion? That's what the movie is about, as far as I can tell.

That may be true. And that may or may not be true to the books (see Glenn Kenney's post, which I think I linked above, on how the film revises the latter portions of the book). FWIW, I think your point ("can't stop what's comin'") supports my contention that the fatalism overwhelms (for lack of a better word) the absurdism in this film. And yet the storytellers clearly wanted that element of absurdism to be THERE, in some capacity.

"Sympathy must precede belligerence. First I must understand the other, as it were, from the inside; then I can critique it from the outside. So many people skip right to the latter." -- Steven D. Greydanus
Now blogging at Patheos.com. I can also still be found at Facebook, Twitter and Flickr. See also my film journal.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

 Share


×
×
  • Create New...