No Country for Old Men – A Horrifying Oscar Nominee

If you haven’t yet seen NO COUNTRY FOR OLD MEN, then I’m going to tell you right now that Anton Chigurh is every bit as frightening as Freddy Kruger, Michael Myers, or Jason ever dreamed (pardon the Freddy pun) of being. As Chigurh, Javier Bardem (BEFORE NIGHT, for which he became the first Spanish actor ever to be nominated for an Academy award) plays one of the most disturbing film characters I’ve seen in many a moon. I’m not normally affected by the portrayal of murderous film villains all that strongly, but this guy had my stomach in a knot. And I do mean this as a compliment.
In many ways NO COUNTRY FOR OLD MEN is a good old fashioned horror film with a fear factor not unrelated to the aforementioned beloved creepers. There isn’t even all that much dialogue in many segments, which means much of what affects audiences is the film’s frightening mood. So for those of us who may have lamented the fact that horror films always get snubbed come award season, I say take heart. NO COUNTRY has now made up for that to some degree. In fact, Javier Bardem’s character has more than a little in common with Rutger Hauer’s interpretation of his character John Ryder (get it?) in 1986’s THE HITCHER. Hauer’s performance was underrated then (heck, almost completely ignored in many circles), but one can now more easily see what he brought to his role that set up the film for the 2007 remake – which failed in part because it missed the Hauer element. I think in some ways, Bardem’s performance lends credence to a performance like Hauer’s. Continue reading “No Country for Old Men – A Horrifying Oscar Nominee”