Blu-ray Review: NO COUNTRY FOR OLD MEN – Collector’s edition.

Buena Vista Home entertainment
Release date: April 7, 2009
MSRP: $39.99

Director: Joel and Ethan Coen
Stars: Tommy Lee Jones, Javier Bardem, Josh Brolin, Woody Harrelson, Kelly MacDonald
Writers:Joel and Ethan Coen (Screenplay), Cormic McCarthy (novel)

Years from now, it is likely that NcfOM will be viewed as the crowning achievement in the storied career of the brothers Coen. A loaded cast, armed with excellent direction and a fantastic script, took what was a promising project and parked it in the cheap seats.

As is often the case, the Coens do an excellent job of casting. With any other director(s) we would have likely been handed a star-studded cast. Each of whom was picked for their name, not what they would have brought to characters.

Anton Chigurh will, quite simply, scare the hell out of you the first time you watch this film. He is the most dynamic, disturbing villain (or monster) to walk onto the silver screen since Hannibal Lector. While some of you might think I am exaggerating, I am not. Anton might very well take out Mr. Lector. If not, he would at least impress Hanny. Javier Bardem recently snagged the best supporting actor Oscar for this role.

Llewelyn Moss (A very nice performance by Josh Brolin) stumbles upon the remains of a drug deal gone bad. He makes away with a briefcase of cash, but ends up going back to bring water to the one survivor. This act of charity puts him in the crosshairs of Anton, who has been given the task of tracking down the cash.

So begins an extraordinary game of cat and mouse that leaves an enormous amount of wreckage in its wake.

I have mentioned Brolin and gushed about Javier, but I would be remiss if I did not talk about Tommy Lee Jones.

Jones plays Sheriff Bell. Bell could have walked right out of a classic western. Sadly for him, this is not a western. Bell is a weary man that realizes that he is a stranger to the world around him. As time has gone by, his principles and ideals become further and further out of synch with society.

Sheriff Bell is an observer to the conflict between Moss and Chigurh. This battle adds fuel to his feelings of obsolescence.

The true magic of this film (and the book it is based on) is that while it is a splendid story on the surface, there is so much more to it than meets the eye. NcfOM has a subtext that is just as powerful as that surface tale.

Video:
NcfOM is presented in it’s original ratio of 2.35:1 in 1080p. It looks fantastic. The picture is killer, while still keeping the general grittiness. I was worried it might look too clean, but that is not the case. It has a dirty look, but the details are quite clear. The worn, dirty roads look amazing, you can see the cracks in the pavement!
Even in the theater, I thought the film looked beautiful, the 1080 presentation really brings out the artistic mix of colours. The look here is really something to savor.
Audio:
The soundtrack is offered up on lossless PCM 5.1 track. Boy oh boy does it deliver! The mix between music and dialogue is outstanding. They also seem to have done an excellent job with levels between the loud and quiet points of the movie. Overall sound is killer.

Extras:
When the first DVD release came out, I mentioned that it should have had a much stronger collection of extras, this set is exactly what was needed.

we get the previously released stuff, plus another five or so hours worth of goodies. We get Josh Brolin’s Unauthorized Behind the Scenese, a new Q & A with the Coens, Roger Deakins as well as the sound and production design teams. Also, damn near every promotional appearance done for NcfOM is inculded. My fav is the Coens, Brolin and Bardem with Charlie Rose, but also included is EW.Com with Bardem, WGA West Q & A panel as well as another twelve other pieces.

If you have the previous release, pick this up. If you did not buy it the first time around, pick this up. NcfOM is the kind of film you should go back and watch every couple of years to remember just how good films can be.

Order the Blu-ray of No Country for Old Men Collector’s edition.
Order DVD of No Country for Old Men Collector’s edtion.

Jeremy Lynch
For more reviews from myself, and the rest of the Crimespree crew, check out the index of reviews.