Strengthening Constitutional Self-Government

No Left Turns

"You Don’t Have to Do This"

That’s what people always say, according to the hugely murderous psychopathic character in NO COUNTRY FOR OLD MEN, when it seems he’s about to kill them. But it almost always turns out that he does have to do it, although this or that killing might make no practical sense at all. The only exceptions: Winners of coin tosses. I’m happy to admit that the movie is exceptionally well made, very philosophic or scientific, and somewhat disconcerting. But not that disconcerting, because it’s hard to tell in what sense it’s realistic. I’m not going to offer some kind of big-time interpretation for a lot of reasons. One is that it’s a film that’s long an action but short on talk, and so you really have to pay attention when someone talks. And that wasn’t always easy for me to do. But at one level the movie is the Coen brothers’ "chance and necessity" response to one of the best and most edifying movies ever made--TENDER MERCIES. (Consider the place of the Tess Harper character in both cases etc.) If you go to the movies to be entertained or to be happier or even to be smarter, I finally can’t recommend this one. See TENDER MERCIES again.

Discussions - 5 Comments

That dude abides.

We saw Juno last night and liked it very much. Like Peter, I hope that in Juno we see qualities found in some abundance in American youth today. I was amazed at the demonic portrayal of the abortion clinic.

All hail, indeed, to TENDER MERCIES. A miracle: A movie of real, unalloyed gratitude for real, unadorned life.

Tender Mercies is tremendous. Robert Duvall didn't just do some of the singing, he wrote one of the songs.

You know, I hadn't thought about Tender Mercies in years, but you're right. Time to rent it again! Thanks, Peter.

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