DVD Review: No Country For Old Men - Collector's Edition [Blu-ray]
Release Date: April 7, 2009
· Joel and Ethan Coen
· Josh Brolin
· Javier Bardem
· Tommy Lee Jones
· Kelly MacDonald
· IMDb: No Country For Old Men
by Robert Bell
Published: April 14, 2009
The Best Picture of 2007, according to the Motion Picture Association of America, a bleak vision of the future and changing American landscape, as the values of our ancestors are lost and youth are willing to die for a quick buck, probably means more to heterosexual white men than everyone outside of that heteronormative box. The reason is that this film, and everything in it, from it’s endless reference to dead white writers (even the title), to it’s condemnation of men creating violence for selfish reasons rather than for upholding traditional family values, suggests the death of a foundational belief system, which seems bleak from inside the box, but kind of amusing from the outside. Characters of intelligence and bravery give up defeated, seeing only futility; the random happenstance of it all suggests that implicit chaos is problematic; and to interpret meaning is to look at the constant reference to American men who defined the Western front, along with their prose. “I knew it was all going downhill when people stopped referring to their elders as sir and ma’am”.
This, umm, difference in opinion, is perhaps why so many men get so angry when someone attempts to reduce this film to a single meaning, as a doomsday vision of male entitlement is threatening and terrifying for those who define themselves by it. But, they’ve had their time, and it’s time to move over and let some of the other kids in the playground have a turn.
This point aside, the Coen Brothers assembled a brilliant exploration of these male anxieties. From acting, to cinematography, to writing, to academic reference points, the thing is fantastic, and entirely deserving of the recognition it garnered.
For anyone unfamiliar with the surface plot, it follows Llewelyn Moss (Josh Brolin), a Vietnam vet struggling to support his wife (Kelly MacDonald), as he stumbles across the proceeds of a heroin deal and makes way with it. The problem, however, is that there is a tracking device with the money that allows a relentless killer (Javier Bardem) to follow him across the landscape, wanting the money and killing anyone that gets in his way.
Meanwhile, an aging police officer (Tommy Lee Jones) reflects on a dying way of life, while trying to make meaning of the recent surge of violence in his community.
While the transfer of the film appears to be the same as the 2008 Blu-ray release of “No Country For Old Men”, this collector’s edition features a variety of new special features, in addition to a digital copy of the film for techies. The transfer, however, did not need to be updated, as the naturalistic colours and washed out palette already look fantastic in 1080p.
The 25-minute “Making of” featurette, which was included on the previous release, details difficulties in production and getting the project off the ground, while exploring casting and other key decisions. There is a lot of information, but for the most part, it’s pretty standard white “Making of” noise. Two other featurettes from the previous release show up as well in the form of “Diary of a County Sheriff”, a compare and contrast between Sheriff Bell and Anton Chigurh, and “Working with the Coens”, which is just as it sounds.
Of the new material, the most interesting might be the “Spike Jonze Q&A”, where the Coen’s divulge a lot of information on the film -- mostly technical -- for a full hour. While a little long-winded, fans of the film should find this new supplement the most valuable of the bunch. The “In Store Appearance” feature has interviews with Brolin and Bardem, who detail and expand on their characters to and excess degree. The “WGA Panel” featurette is essentially a round table interview hosted by Noah Baumbach, which repeats much of the earlier information.
In addition to the more notable, above, new supplements, there are many interviews from EW, Variety, Reel Talk, and even Charlie Rose, which will only be for hardcore fans.
While this Blu-ray copy is certainly impressive, the new features probably only make it worth the purchase for hardcore fans, or fans who do not yet own it on Blu-ray.