Expecting normalcy from a Coen Brothers production is a pointless endeavor, but anticipating brilliance isn't outlandish. Their latest feature, which has about zero box office potential, provides plenty of the latter and a little of the former. It’s mostly an off-kilter road trip that accomplishes what the Coens do best - seamlessly merging drama, violence, and quirky humor into a whole. They also accomplish something many would have believed to be impossible: providing a coherent and reasonably faithful adaptation of a Cormac McCarthy novel. (Many would place McCarthy in the "unadaptable" category.) However, following their own nonstandard trail, Joel and Ethan - following McCarthy's lead - decide that just because a story is worth telling, it doesn’t demand a clean ending. This is a decision that will infuriate some members of the audience. Done right, I have always believed open ended conclusions can be assets, and I think that's the case here. Nevertheless, those who openly hissed at John Sayles' Limbo or declared the finale of The Sopranos to be a tease will not be pleased by how No Country for Old Men elects to wrap up its diverse storylines.
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