No country for old meni is a film that tries, but does not succeed.
The general idea, written on paper, the two sentence producers' intro, maybe even the five hundred word outline work splendidly. "What if", the story goes, "a very stubborn, salt of the Earth blue collar type interracted with an eschatological event, and a tendril of Cthulhu emanating from it dances with him and eventually kills him, on the backdrop of the same Midwest from Fargo ? He has a girl, and things, you realise."
Splendid! Let's make it! And yes, put those bizarre faggots on it, definitely.
However, don't cast Javier "Segunda Ensenanza" Bardem as the tendril of Cthulhu. It's okay to call it "Anton Chigurh", it's even a good idea to pretend it's like, bipedal and everything. Do not put it in the hands of the cognitively limited, it's a difficult role and "he's just retarded enough he might appear otherworldy" works (when it does work) for Kevin Spacey, not for Noname Spic-ey.
Also, the script needs some serious dialogue work, "ecclectic mundane" is not a proper style for The Harbinger. By the time some random hick seems cogent and together in the face of random "what's the most you lost on a coin toss" onslaught, and so on... Sure, the "I promised your husband" thing works, but it's a dollar short and a very long hour late.
Woody Harrelson is okay as the mook, there to convince us that the bad guy is bad, first by telling, then by retelling, then by getting killed, a sort of perpetual Lt. Cmdr Worf. The only problem is that he looks exactly like a used car salesman with a fetlife account, which... His timely demise convinces a weary audience that this Chingles fellow is about as tough as a really angry UPS guy. Which...
The chick's okay, in the sense that she's a dizzy goat, so consequently passes with ease for a dizzy goat. The part where her character's traitorous nature (woman, amirite) impels it to cut deals with the pigs is maybe a little bit thick, but then misogyny is the necessary table stakes for hiring the fag team to do the directin', what can you do.
I still can't fathom why the dood that rents multiple motel rooms didn't have the mental acuity to remove the prize from its original wrapping ; and this is only one example of fridge logic selected rather randomly from amongst an oversufficient supply.
This thing should really be re-shot, with an entirely different cast.———
- 2007, by the Coens, with Tommy Lee Jones. [↩]