A hunter (Josh Brolin) arrives at a grisly scene of bodies, sprawled across a Texas landscape. The back of a pickup truck leaves exposed dozens of bags of heroin; evidence of a drug deal gone bad. When he stumbles on a bag stuffed with millions of dollars, his decision to take it sets in motion his own manhunt by the hands of a crazed psychopath (Javier Bardem), and the Texan sheriff (Tommy Lee Jones) who must solve these crimes, unlike anything he has seen before.
No Country For Old Men has been lauded by critics since release and currently sits at 94% on Rotten Tomatoes. Directed by Hollywood darlings; the Coen Brothers, it certainly comes to Blu-ray with high expectations. It’s these same expectations that I didn’t feel quite proved themselves, despite some truly terrific performances, particularly by Bardem.
That’s not to say I didn’t enjoy the film, far from it, but the few issues I had with the film were overshadowed by the conclusion of the film, which left me feeling rather emotionally unsatisfied. However, I would still recommend the film, even if solely based on the performance by Bardem, who delivers one of the best screen villains seen for some time.
No Country For Old Men is presented in the widescreen scope aspect ratio of 2.35:1.
After some time reviewing older catalog releases, it’s a breath of fresh air to see a new release title. No Country For Old Men looks stunning, amazing, and all the superlatives that one could think of. The well-lit and naturalistic landscape that the film spends its time in almost automatically lends itself to a great demonstration. Detail jumps from every frame, yet avoids looking overly harsh or digital. Due to the age of the film, no film artifacts are seen and the disc compressions have done a fine job of producing this transfer, with no film to video artifacts and with a bit rate that remains high enough to avoid compression artifacts.
Simply put, this is a great effort from all involved.
The main audio track here is an English Uncompressed PCM track, at 16 bits, despite the back cover offering up contradicting specifications (says PCM track is 24 bit and features a Dolby TrueHD logo; both of which are incorrect!)
For the most part, the sound design of No Country For Old Men emphasizes subtly. That’s not to suggest the audio on offer is anything less than impressive (because it is), but the temptation to create a track that draws overt attention to itself is avoided. The intention here seems to be in dropping the viewer directly into the environments of the film, and not waking them from the illusion. As a sound designer, this is much harder to achieve than a track that smacks the viewer over the head. The PCM track replicates this experience completely.
No Country For Old Men won’t be the first disc you think of when demonstrating your sound system, but it’s a great track and rendered well on Blu-ray.
It’s a slightly disappointing collection of extras, especially for such a lauded film, but nothing that a subsequent re-release won’t fix down the track. Let’s take a look at what we have.
First up is the featurette Working with The Coens, a very short look at the duo working on set, with a quick set of interview questions. The meatier making of the documentary takes a half-hour look at the genesis of the film, with tidbits from all the major players behind and in front of the camera. I particularly enjoyed the brief contributions by Javier Bardem and would have liked a little more input from him. Finally, we have Diary of a Country Sheriff, a fairly brief and perfunctory look at Jones and Bardem’s characters, filled with mostly film footage.
Missing from the Australian Blu-ray release are a bunch of trailers.