RARA-AVIS: Re: There Will Be Ham (Recent Crime Films)

From: Dave Zeltserman ( dave@hardluckstories.com)
Date: 28 May 2008

Kevin wrote:
> I'm sorry you didn't like NO COUNTRY. But if you think that's the
> Coens' worst film, for God's sake stay away from their version of THE

I actually liked The Ladykillers. Yeah, I know I might've been the only one. While I didn't like it nearly as much as most of the other Coen bother movies, or the Alec Guinness/Peter Sellers version, I thought it had some clever/amusing touches. I even liked to a lesser degree, Intolerable Cruelty. I felt let down by No Country. Jarvier Bardem's character never seemed real to me--more like a cartoon character, and there was too much conceit--such as having to carry that hydraulic weapon around while a simple pistol, or even a knife would've done the job just as well. And the "unconventional" ending bit and skipping the confrontation that the story is building up to, then having Tommy Lee Jones spend the last 20 minutes moaning about his dreams, that pushed me over the edge to hating the movie.

> I'm with you, though, on BEFORE THE DEVIL. All the parts were there,
> but it didn't gel at all for me. And it really should have.
> But there was no fire -- it all seemed curiously flat. One of the most
> tired, dispassionate movies about passion I've ever seen, like 60
> MINUTES doing a by-rote report on the events depicted in BODY HEAT or
> THE POSTMAN ALWAYS RINGS TWICE. Maybe Hoffman was tired. He was only
> in 437 movies last year. Which left the thespian heavy lifting to
> Ethan Hawke.
> But it was more than just the acting. It was the approach to the story
> itself that felt off. There was a sense of exhaustion to it before it
> even began. Maybe that was the intent, but it didn't work for me...

That's pretty much how Before the Devil left me--except also feeling that there should've been a great movie in there.


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