to pieces--wonderful actors, wonderful dialogue, wonderful filmmaking.
Whatever I think of the movie as a whole, I still love scenes from it.
But that's about it. I'm puzzled by the acclaim this movie is receiving
almost unanimously because I don't agree at all. However, that could
be due to my personal tastes--I'm not a Cormac McCarthy fan.
The major specific problems I had have to do with the Tommy Lee Jones
character and the Josh Brolin character:
I mostly love Tommy Lee Jones no matter what he's doing--he's always
worth watching and almost always emotionally engaging. During the
scenes when he was working the case, I was charmed by his love for
his job and the obvious pleasure he took in instructing his deputy,
cadging horses from his wife, bantering with coworkers, etc. So I
found it very confusing later on when apparently a major theme of
the movie was his decision to retire because of his distaste for the
way the world was changing and his feelings of being overwhelmed by
the insanity of the criminals. Which, a) I disagree with--surely
in his long career he'd become familiar with the unpleasantness and
irrationality of the serial killer mentality, and b) Fine! Retire!
You must be seventy years old, at least! What's the big deal?, and
c) all of a sudden his character takes a U-turn from chipper,
competent, wisecracking old sheriff to OMG I HAVE SUCH ANGST LET ME
TELL YOU MY DREAMS ABOUT MY FATHER guy. Both characters are fine but
I really couldn't reconcile them.
Okay, Josh Brolin: His character was fine, hung together all the way
through, but what was with the movie's POV? Whereas I got whiplash
from Tommy Lee Jones's character changing into a different person
toward the end, I got whiplash from Josh Brolin abruptly changing
from the protagonist to just another dead body on the floor, having
been killed off camera, and now we'll move right along. I tried to
hang on for the ride but that's where the movie really lost me. They
didn't have to catch and punish the killer if they didn't want to,
they didn't have to have a happy ending where Josh Brolin's wife
unexpectedly takes out the killer and finds the money, they didn't
even have to finish up the scene with Tommy Lee Jones telling us
about his dreams if they didn't want to. But for heaven's sake, I
was interested in Josh Brolin's character and they're the ones who
kept showing his cat-and-mouse pursuit throughout the first three-
fourths of the movie. Pfft. That angered me. Poor moviemaking.
Anyway, that's what I thought. The reviews I'm reading are making me
crazy saying things like "better than Fargo" and "not since The
Big Lebowski" and NO WAY.