I don't know much about novelists, so, whenever Cormac McCarthy gets mentioned somewhere, I always picture him as some old coot who writes about...well...I don't really know what the hell Cormac McCarthy writes about. He seems like the type of stodgy author who churns out books about people who whisper at horses or think all of them are pretty or something like that. (I just went to Wikipedia, and, OMG!, he did write All the Pretty Horses!)
Imagine my surprise, then, when I saw the Coen Brothers' screen adaptation of McCarthy's No Country for Old Men, a relentlessly violent and blood-soaked new movie that holds the proud distinction of featuring one of the most unique murder weapons in cinematic history—a pressurized air hose attached to a small tank that releases a metal rod, typically used to instantly kill cattle—as well as the most simultaneously absurd and scary chase sequences ever—one that involves a killer dog paddling downriver after our movie's hero. Old coots got game.
No Country for Old Men, which follows the aftermath of a drug deal gone way wrong, is a gory meditation on fate, chance, and an America in crisis. It doesn't rank among my favorite Coen Brothers movies (The Hudsucker Proxy [I'm serious!], Fargo, Raising Arizona, Miller's Crossing), but it's an undeniably suspenseful and smart piece of entertainment, even if it's cold and detached.
For a shockingly in-depth political analysis of the movie, visit Parabasis. No politics here. I'm still thinking about how I never want to get chased by a killer dog in a river.