Saturday, November 24, 2007
Kelly McDonald's delicately shaded pathos lets the air into the vacuum chamber of the Coens' adaptation of No Country For Old Men. By filming most of McDonald's last scene off-camera, they actually improve on the novel; sketching a character's loss of dignity works best on the page, without the camera's literalizing tendencies. I also liked how McDonald and Javier Bardem's performances matched up in their only scene together. Although he's the executioner, he exudes what Jorge Luis Borges, in a short story titled "Death and the Compass" that's as meticulously composed as No Country For Old Men but devastating in subtle ways that the film and book are not, called "an impersonal -- almost anonymous -- sadness." Bardem and McDonald's muted duet is more eloquent than Tommy Lee Jones' well-delivered but literary ruminations on how the times they are a-changin'.
Posted by Alfred Soto at 9:55 AM