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As NO COUNTRY FOR OLD MEN ($30) took home the coveted Academy Award for Best Picture, in addition to wins for Best Direction, Best Screenplay and Best Supporting Actor, the fact that it is a truly great motion picture is an absolute given. For this reason, I have no intention of telling you what you already know about the movie from first hand experience or just the Oscar buzz. I have been a fan of the works of brothers Joel and Ethan Coen since the days of BLOOD SIMPLE (which is another phenomenal movie), and I am always glad to see their films getting the recognition they deserve. NO COUNTRY FOR OLD MEN is a harsh, naturalistic crime drama, with undertones of character study that falls somewhere into the same territory as BLOOD SIMPLE and their quirkier, but equally brilliant FARGO.

I don’t want to delve too deeply into the storyline or characters featured in NO COUNTRY FOR OLD MEN, since I hate revealing any of a film’s surprises to someone who has yet to experience said film firsthand. What I will give away is the fact that NO COUNTRY FOR OLD MEN is very bloody and violent, and that the Coen Brothers directorial style brings an almost cold detachment to the depiction of such events. Those who have an absolute abhorrence to blood and violence may want to consider a comedy instead of this film. So what is NO COUNTRY FOR OLD MEN about? In a nutshell- money, drugs and murder. The premise of NO COUNTRY FOR OLD MEN finds Llewelyn Moss (Josh Brolin) stumbling upon the aftermath of a drug deal gone horribly wrong and walking away with a suitcase containing two million dollars. Oscar winner Javier Bardem portrays psychotic killing machine Anton Chigurh, who leaves countless dead bodies in his wake, as he pursues Llewelyn… and the money. Tommy Lee Jones is Texas lawman Ed Tom Bell, who is following the trail of dead bodies. The excellent cast of NO COUNTRY FOR OLD MEN also features Woody Harrelson, Kelly Macdonald, Garret Dillahunt, Tess Harper, Barry Corbin, Stephen Root, Rodger Boyce and Beth Grant.

Buena Vista Home Entertainment has made NO COUNTRY FOR OLD MEN available on DVD in a 2.35:1 widescreen presentation that has been enhanced for playback on 16:9 displays. The stark, sun baked Texas locations look quite thanks to the film’s Oscar nominated cinematography. Image sharpness and detail are excellent for standard definition and compare quite favorably to the HD version. Colors are strongly rendered and generally true to life. Flesh tones are slightly brown, which is about what one would expect from characters that have been baking in the hot Texas sun for years. Blacks are deep plus the whites appear stable. The sun lit cinematography pushes the envelope, sometimes producing a look that comes close to becoming blown out, but the DVD handles it well. Shadow detail is very good. A fine film grain is present. Digital compression artifacts are usually well contained.

NO COUNTRY FOR OLD MEN comes to DVD with a Dolby Digital 5.1 channel soundtrack. The sound design is truly excellent, never seeming forced or artificial. Gunshots and other sound effects pop out of the outlying channels with a nice regularity, plus the entire soundstage creates realistic acoustic environments. Music has a very strong presence, as does the bottom end of the track. Sure, the sound is somewhat thinner than the uncompressed version contained on the Blu-ray release, but DVD fans aren’t likely to notice. Voices are clean, plus the film’s dialogue is always completely understandable No other language tracks have been included on the DVD, but French and Spanish subtitles are provided.

Full motion video, animation and sound serve to enhance the DVD's interactive menus. Through the menus, one has access to the standard scene selection and set up features, as well as a few nice extra features. The Making Of No Country For Old Men runs twenty-four minutes and offers the usual mix of interviews, clips and production footage. Working With The Coens (eight minutes) and Diary Of A Country Sheriff (six minutes) are additional interview based programs. Previews and Trailers close out the supplemental content.

There is no denying that the Oscar winning NO COUNTRY FOR OLD MEN is a great film. Buena Vista’s DVD release also delivers the goods. Very highly recommended.


No Country for Old Men (2007)



DVD reviews are Copyright © 2008 THE CINEMA LASER and may not be copied or reprinted without the written consent of the publisher.
THE CINEMA LASER is written, edited and published by Derek M. Germano.



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