Saturday, February 21, 2009

CAUTION: Spoiler Alert!

In my previous post, I made it apparent that this was not a film that I enjoyed very much. Artistically, it was great. Perfect film noir from what I understand. Maybe I’m too shallow, or too inartistic, or perhaps just too traditional. Eh, I’m probably all of these. But, because of my distaste for this type of ending, I am easily able to recall two movies that I have seen that give me the same vibe. Both are by the Coen brothers. (huge shock)
The first: No Country For old Men, bagged three British Academy of Film Awards, four Academy Awards for best picture, best adapted screenplay, best supporting actor, and best director, and two Golden Globes. Must be a great movie, right? So I agree with the best picture award, the film had amazing scenery, but did it really deserve so much praise? I did not think so. But I think it represents a modern day film noir like almost no other. There is one corrupt character who is never brought to justice, and one small deputy who tries the entire movie to solve the unsolvable. The movie drips with desperation and hopelessness.
The second is Burn after Reading. (Here it comes, spoiler alert!) This film by the Coen brothers drew some A list actors like Brad Pitt and George Clooney. The basic plot, is Chad (Pitt) and Linda (Frances McDormand), who work at a gym together, decide to team up to blackmail Osborne Cox with a disk of his that they found, all the while believing that the disk held pertinent CIA information. Chad speaks to Cox on the pone, but they get nowhere, and Cox refuses to give them a reward. (Turns out, all the disk had on it was Cox’s memoir.)Then, these immoral creatures decide that it was a good idea to take the supposed critical CIA information to the Russian Embassy. (Yeah, they just went there.) In the end, Chad is shot, George Clooney’s character is killed by a hatchet to the head, and Cox is a vegetable, and Linda is in custody of the CIA. Yes, this is how the movie ends.
The first of these films, No Country for Old Men, I saw with friends. The second, Burn After Reading, I saw in theatres. At the end of both, I literally sat there through the entire credits, waiting for what came next. That lone, creepy person sitting there until the clean up people come in, that was me. You know those movies that tack on a “hidden” scene after all is said and done? Well, I just knew that both of these films were that sort. Dang Coen Brothers. I am sure both movies have a message, and are truly creative but for some reason my mind just won’t cooperate with them. Perhaps if I watch them now, I would watch with a more critical eye and get more out of them.


  1. I agree with your distaste for the genre. I'm all for happy endings. By the way, "Chad speaks to Cox on the PONE"? lol nice one. ;D

  2. The Coens have probably borrowed quite a bit from film noir in telling most of their stories. You should check out their movie Fargo. I think you will like it better than their last two.

  3. AHHH. Totally had to skip the ending to Burn After Reading. Be careful with those spoilers! You gave your poor TA a heart attack.

    And I would say to watch O Brother, Where Art Thou rather than Fargo. It's at least more accessible, if not in a style indicative of the Coen Bros. other films.

    So how do you feel about the actual film noir style?