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Ambitious and flawed
on 27 February 2009
As another reviewer says: "I'm not sure that this is quite the masterpiece that some are declaring". I agree. I also don't think it works that well at a philosophical level or as an existentialist thriller, what it aims to be.
The apocalyptic source material clashes with the Cohens' stylish gallery of misfits and martians on earth. And clashes with what is left of the Cohens humor in this truly gruesome narration.
The "good" guy (who's really a misfit and a thief), while wounded, has to pay some kid good money for a clean shirt and a half bottle of beer. In the end, the monster Chigurh, also wounded, gets a clean shirt, and apparently sincere and heart-felt sympathy from a couple of teens. A good deed is what will damn Brolin's character. The unstoppable and unrelenting Golem Chigurh is never slowed down by a conscience.
But, in the end, actions and consequences, causes and effects, good or evil deeds, chance and fate, don't really lead to anything.
As if all the anarchy, violence and chaos that fuel McCarthy's tale finally preveiled on the Cohens' vision and their idea of the world. Why characters acted that way, what it all means, why the bad guy gets away in the end, it's not explained to the viewer. Possibly because the film-makers themselves don't have any answer. The intelligent, clever, stylish and often self-indulgent brothers are crushed by their attempt at a philosophical tale as the random victims are swept away by the bad guy.