When a first-rate critic gets obsessive about a film and then wears his obsession nakedly on his sleeve – discussing various aspects of the movie at length, over the course of many essays - the results can be very stimulating. This is something that the Internet facilitates, of course, and in the last few weeks Jim Emerson has put up a number of posts about the Coen Brothers’ No Country for Old Men on his excellent Scanners blog. Here are some of them (most of these links are recommended only if you’ve seen the film): a general analysis; the “ideological impulse” in film appreciation; the identity and motives of the killer Anton Chigurh (Homicidal lunatic or ghost? Materialist? Atheist? A personification of Death?); and an intense discussion of a key scene late in the film, when Sheriff Ed Bell enters a room where Chigurh may or may not be hiding – this discussion is continued here and here, on critic Glenn Kenny’s blog. Needless to say, the comments section on all these posts are just as vital, and Emerson and Kenny both give plenty of space to readers' feedback and opinions. (As we have noted elsewhere, blogs rule.)
P.S. Will try to do a review soon, not of the film but of Cormac McCarthy's very poetic novel (I loved them both but have already read too much about the film elsewhere and don’t think I can add anything to it).