No Country for Old Men (Blu-ray) (2007)
Featurette-The Making Of No Country For Old Men
Featurette-Working With The Coens
Featurette-Diary Of A County Sheriff
|Year Of Production||2007|
|RSDL / Flipper||No/No||Cast & Crew|
|Start Up||Language Select Then Menu|
|Region Coding||4||Directed By||
Paramount Home Entertainment
Tommy Lee Jones
|Pan & Scan/Full Frame||None||
English Linear PCM 48/24 5.1 (4608Kb/s)
English Dolby Digital 5.1 (640Kb/s)
|Widescreen Aspect Ratio||2.35:1|
|Original Aspect Ratio||2.35:1||Miscellaneous|
English for the Hearing Impaired
|Annoying Product Placement||No|
|Action In or After Credits||No|
Fortunately, No County For Old Men is based on a novel of the same name by Cormac McCarthy. Where it differs from most adaptations of literature is that the film preserves the narrative structure, and indeed most of the major details, of the source material. In this day and age where directors get praise and laurels for making changes to enduring stories that are just plain unnecessary at best, seeing filmmakers doing an adaptation in which they trust the strength of the story to speak for itself is quite a refreshing change. Granted, not every part of the film is completely faithful to the novel (Anton Chigurh, for example, is described in the novel as having eyes as blue as lapis), but in this day and age where filmmakers defend cutting the entire point of the story out of their film with the constant repetition of "anticlimactic" as a catchphrase, the fact that variations are the exception rather than the norm here is a selling point in itself.
The film begins with a voiceover by Sheriff Ed Tom Bell (Tommy Lee Jones). Ed is an old sheriff. His father was a sheriff, his grandfather was a sheriff, and he can even remember a time when sheriffs did not carry guns. As Ed is explaining all of this in voiceover, a young deputy is placing a suspect in the back of his car. Said suspect, we will later learn, is none other than Anton Chigurh (Javier Bardem). As Anton proceeds to kill this deputy and a civilian in the first of many escapes he will perform, we cut to a farmer named Llewelyn Moss (Josh Brolin) as he is hunting deer. Llewelyn, we will later learn, served two tours in Vietnam and is a little hard up for money. When he stumbles upon the wreckage of a drug deal gone bad, the temptation presented by a satchel containing two million dollars proves to be too much. Taking the money, Llewelyn proceeds to send his wife Carla Jean (Kelly Macdonald) to her mother's place whilst he heads toward the Mexican border.
Naturally, this money belongs to someone. That someone is represented by a lawyer who is never given a name in the script (played here by Stephen Root), and they want the money back. What differentiates No County For Old Men from the usual drug deal gone bad plot is that while Anton pursues the money and Llewelyn like the grim reaper, there is a certain ambiguity about the character that allows one to wonder whether Anton is merely doing his job or just doing all of this for his own gain. Javier Bardem is so deadpan in his delivery as he talks of fate and how he must do what he is doing that it is hard to take one's eyes off him. As Woody Harrelson explains during what could be called his extended cameo in the role of Carson Wells, Anton will simply keep coming after the money, and although Llewelyn could simply hand the money to Anton, Anton may just kill Llewelyn merely for inconveniencing him.
No County For Old Men is one of the more accessible films that the brothers Coen have made, but it is definitely not a commercial, mainstream film in the usual sense, despite the approval by the Academy.
No County For Old Men is presented in a 2.35:1 aspect ratio within a 1920 by 1080 progressive window.
This is a sharp transfer. For those who want the perverse pleasure of counting the wrinkles and creases in Tommy Lee Jones' face, this transfer is above reproach. The depth of field is very good. The shadow detail in the small amount of nighttime scenes is also very good. Some grain appears in the sky during part of a very wide shot at 8:26, for example, but the skylines of such shots constitute the sum total of grain or noise in this transfer.
The colours in the transfer are very rich and vibrant. Reds and browns dominate the palette. No colour bleeding or misregistration is evident.
Compression artefacts were not noted in the transfer. If this is the same transfer as can be found on the Region A release (and there is a lot of reason to suspect it is), then it is an AVC MPEG-4 encode. Film-to-video artefacts were not noted. If there were film artefacts, I blinked and missed them.
English for the Hearing Impaired subtitles are present on this disc. They vary a little from the spoken dialogue at times, but not too drastically.
Two soundtracks are offered on this disc.
The first soundtrack is the original English dialogue in Linear PCM 5.1, which is in 48 KHz, 24-bit if it is the same soundtrack as was presented in Region A. The second soundtrack, which my player defaulted to, is the original English dialogue in Dolby Digital 5.1, and that is the plain old lossy Dolby Digital. I listened to both soundtracks, but found the more I listened to the Dolby Digital, the more I wanted to switch back to Linear PCM. The locally-available cover art falsely implies that there is a Dolby TrueHD soundtrack on this disc.
The dialogue is clear and easy to understand at all times. Most of the actors speak with a clearly put-on Texan drawl that takes a small amount of getting used to, but its all still easy to understand. No audio sync problems were noted.
The music in the film is credited to Carter Burwell. Aside from one scene with a mariachi band at 68:32, I did not really notice much music in the film.
The surround channels are used for directionality with effects during the prolonged gun battles or the wheeze-thud sounds of Chigurh's weaponry. The soundtrack is very focused on the dialogue, and as such the majority of the soundtrack comes from the front channels. The surrounds also seemed a little quiet compared with the other channels. They are in use, and often, but in a manner that seems a little too subtle at times.
The subwoofer is used to supplement the explosive sound of Chigurh's weapons, the occasional plane flying overhead, or other such bass-heavy effects. Although the subwoofer is very conspicuous at times due to the nature of the effects it is supporting, it is still integrated well with the rest of the soundtrack.
|Surround Channel Use|
A twenty-four minute, twenty-nine second featurette that feels like a very extensive electronic press kit.
An eight minute, seven second featurette about the Coen brothers. Interesting for Javier Bardem's comments.
A six minute, forty-four second featurette based around interviews with Tommy Lee Jones and the Coen brothers.
NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.
The Region B version of this disc misses out on;
Aside from the omission of these two trailers, the two discs appear to be pretty identical.
The video transfer is excellent.
The audio transfer is very good.
The extras are few in number and all standard-definition.
|DVD||Sharp AQUOS BD-HP20X, using HDMI output|
|Display||Panasonic Viera TH-42PZ700A. Calibrated with Ultimate DVD Platinum. This display device is 16x9 capable. This display device has a maximum native resolution of 1080p.|
|Audio Decoder||Built in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with Ultimate DVD Platinum.|
|Amplification||Sony STR DE-835|
|Speakers||Yamaha NS-45 Front Speakers, Yamaha NS-90 Rear Speakers, Yamaha NSC-120 Centre Speaker, JBL Digital 10 Active Subwoofer|