Posts Tagged ‘Modern Western’

“Appaloosa”: How the West was Mediocre

September 25, 2008
Lounging lawmen.

Even they're wondering when something's going to happen.

Only a Western could have a name like Appaloosa, and so this film is a Western that follows two roaming lawmen for hire, played by Ed Harris and Viggo Mortensen. The film is full of characters that want to be colorful and interesting, but they also want to be brooding and serious, which works most of the time, and needed to work all of the time since the story is really only a way to examine the three main characters’ traits. The score by Jeff Beal uses a classic western feel with a James Newton Howard strangeness (that gets a big unintentional laugh when Renee Zelwegger appears), which I guess should suggest to us that Harris, also the director, is trying to turn the Western on its head.

The problem is the film begins creating a wonderful character in Harris’s Virgil Cole only to peak out at about the halfway point with a violent action that’s bold for the character that when the film neither delves into or cares to explain the psychological reasonings we stop caring what the film has to say about him. After that it’s no longer Cole’s film but becomes about the people that surround Cole.

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No Country for Old Men: The Review

November 29, 2007

No Country for Old Men

Over the years I’ve learned that safety is relative, unfortunately through no experience of my own. Instead I’ve watched some of my closest friends deal with some of the worst incidents that many times occurred in broad day light. Anywhere, any place, any time, anything can happen, and it feels like while this is happening, God or whatever being you believe in, the one being that can perhaps keeps you safe, is always a step behind. But those things that happen, those horrible things, don’t they feel like they’re getting worse. That the evil in the world is becoming braver and using more extreme methods to produce the carnage they want to produce? Where does that leave the people who came from a simpler time?

That is the basic, blanketing idea behind the title of No Country for Old Men, but as far as ideas in the movie goes, you’ll find yourself chasing each line, looking desperately for meaning in every word uttered and image seen. That’s how well crafted the Coen Brother’s newest crime film outing is. Like Fargo they take advantage of there setting, this time Texas, and create a mood with their characters unparralelled by other filmmakers. They’re fluency in film language has been perfected to the point over the years that even in shots that other directors would find a waste of effort, there’s a stark realism, sometimes those things are so realistic they come off as surrealistic. In every shot a story is being told, or an emotion is being conveyed, or an idea is being sought after.

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