No Country for Old Men and the Depravity of Violence

No Country for Old Men is released today in select theaters, which leaves me wanting to live in a more important city.Nonetheless, I have only to wait two more weeks before the nationwide release.

Reviews are already rolling out and I highly suggest to all of you that you see the film if you are able. I have been anticipating this one for quite some time. Los Angeles Times movie reviewer Kenneth Turan describes the moral underpinnings of the film:

The story of stolen drug money and the horrific carnage it precipitates, “No Country for Old Men” doesn’t celebrate or smile at violence, it despairs of it, despairs of its randomness, pervasiveness, its inescapable nature, of the way it eats at the soul of society and the individuals in it.

No one should go into “No Country for Old Men” underestimating the unnerving intensity of its moments of on-screen violence, its parade of corpses and geysers of spurting blood. But as the story unfolds with the awful inevitability of a modern myth, it’s clear that the Coen brothers and McCarthy are not interested in violence for its own sake but for what it says about the world we happen to live in. “I got it under control,” a confident deputy says, and in moments he is dead. He didn’t have anywhere near the mastery he imagined, and in this truly despairing vision, neither does anyone else.

Commenting on the transience of life - particularly in the context of the war in Iraq, AIDS crises in Africa, and the genocide in Darfur - is an apt reflection on our current condition.
I think ‘No Country for Old Men’ will turn out to be a ghastly film filled with horrid violence. But that’s it’s exactly why it should be seen by Americans - who too often forget that war entails blowing someone’s head off, repeatedly. This is a call to renewal in our understanding of the depravity of violence, to understanding exactly what violence means: without romantic, cathartic, or exciting character.

Watch the Trailer here

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2 Responses to “No Country for Old Men and the Depravity of Violence”

  1. Jason Barr Says:

    I almost felt like I needed a reason to see this film, and I think this provides it. I couldn’t imagine the Coen brothers making a movie that simply displays violence for its own sake, or a glorification of violence - they’re much too perceptive and aware to do that sort of thing, but at the same time I feel the need to be careful about what sorts of violent movies I watch - I am disturbed by depictions of violence on screen, and I want to continue being disturbed and not become desensitized to it.

  2. Can you help out a YAR community member in need? » Young Anabaptist Radicals Says:

    […] For those of you who don’t know Jason personally, he has been involved in Anabaptist circles for a number of years thinking and sharing about Christ-archy. He and his wife moved to South Bend this past summer so Jason could attend Associated Mennonite Biblical Seminary (AMBS). Jason is a self-identified lurker here on YAR and has left a few comments over the years. […]

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