Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Hot Stuff, Baby This Evenin'

Sorry. That song got stuck in my head as I sat here, trying to figure out how to post about my evening. Oh, don't get all excited. This is me we're talking about here. First things first:

This is my finished gaiter, both flat on the chaise, and on my person. Enjoy my double chins. It's comfortable, warm, but I can see why they used a finer yarn for the original pattern. It works, don't get me wrong, but it's...chunkier than I think it should be, and it tends to roll. But, hey, it works. And that's what matters.

Now, on to the hot stuff. Much more interesting, in my opinion. I went to see No Country For Old Men this evening because I love the deeply wrong cinema that is produced by the Coen Brothers. Oh, my, in this they did not disappoint! The only reason to abstain from this film is a weak stomach. Seriously. This is one of the best films ever. EVER. I don't usually like Westerns, but this was not your typical Western. The bad guy...yeah, he wore a lot of black, but at the same time, you could see where he was broken off. It was like he was just a stump of a person, a sort of half-remembered ghost of what he might have been. Creepy. Very creepy. And kind of sad in an empty room sort of way.

I have to confess, I'm going to have to read the book, just to see if the book is as bizarre as the movie. Between the sagacious lawman and the oddly Zen hitman ("Don't put the coin in your pocket, or it will just become a coin...which is what it is.") it was a dizzying blur of wit, intelligent (and rather self-indulgent) rumination and spurting blood. My biggest disappointment was in the fake movie blood. Seriously, folks out in Hollywood. Thin that shit out, please? I'm tired of people bleeding what amounts to bright red motor oil. Human blood is water based. Keep that in mind when you next mix up your corn syrup and food dye, yes? The thick stuff makes for good, sticky spatter, but the real stuff isn't quite so viscous. At least, not in anyone with a total blood cholesterol level of under 1,500.

Anyway, where was I? Oh, yes. No Country. If you've read the reviews, you know that basically what happens is a fellow named Llewelyn Moss (Josh Brolin) stumbles across a rather grisly scene of a drug deal gone bad while out in the desert hunting. Just prior, we see the incredibly deadpan and philosophical hitman, Anton Chigurh, getting arrested with his trusty, air-powered cattle gun, and taken off to jail by a rather neglectful deputy. In short order, Anton frees himself, takes his cattle gun and hies himself off to find another car. Moss, meanwhile, has found and made off with the cash from the drug deal, and rather foolishly comes back to the scene (it's an altrustic action, and one which ultimately he will regret). He gets chased away, but the people who paid the money up front find his truck and send Anton off to find him. All sorts of hijinks and hey-nonny-nonny ensue, as Anton tries to get the cash back for his employers and Llewlyn tries to get away and the rather laconic sherriff follows them both, hoping he'll get to Moss first.

The body count is extremely high, and the cinematography is luminous and golden--very like I'd imagine Texas actually is in dry season. Everyone turns in an incredible performance, even the people who merely walk on and serve as poorly appreciated cannon fodder for Anton's blank faced and silently austere violence. It was incredible to watch, the completely bland way that Chigurgh just...kills. I was going to say kills like it was his job, but hey, it was his job. He put as much visible emotion into it as I put into working my data entry job, which is to say none. The ultimate professional, or, as he himself puts it at one point, "You use the right tool to get the job done." I'm not sure I would refer openly to myself as a tool, but then again, I haven't got a gun that large with a silencer the size of my head, so I suppose my case is different.

The ending was a complete surprise--one that those around me will not be surprised to find I liked. It was ambiguous in the extreme, and the ultimate surprise is who managed to live to fight another day.

But, truly, Javier Bardem as Anton Chigurgh was the highlight of the movie. Despite the fact that he's stated in interviews that he purposely did not try to give the character a backstory in his mind to keep him blank, a total cypher, just watching him gives you a glimmer of what he could have been doing. Llewlyn Moss was in Vietnam (the movie is set in 1980). Dollars to donuts Chigurgh was, too. Or at least served in the military, seeing hard service. There is virtually no other way for someone to get that rather deadpan, slightly bored air when it comes to killing someone up close and personal, as he must do several times. One always gets the feeling that he'd rather be watching television, not because killing is a morally reprehensible act, but because now he's going to have to do laundry again and he just washed this shirt, dammit. It feels like the whole thing is a massive imposition on his time and effort, and not because he's killing and likely to get killed himself, but because he's vaguely bored by the whole thing. It's a character we've never really seen before, and I'm slightly giddy at the newness of it, the excitement of being shown a new critter. I want to go back and see it again, now, just to see if I was imagining it or if there really was this fabulous, rare animal peeking through the branches. God, so exciting. It's been a good long while since I came out of a movie theater excited. Seriously. It's so rare we get anything new....

Well, and I'm really tired. I think I'm going to have a bowl of cereal, order stuff online, then go to bed. And dream sweet, sweet dreams of relentless killers in cowboy boots.

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