#97: No Country For Old Men (Coen Brothers, 2007)
I'd have to double check my list again, but I think this is the only best picture Oscar winner on there. Can you believe that for one glorious season in the year of our Lord 2007 we were ever graced with a best picture race between this and THERE WILL BE BLOOD? Hard to even imagine nowadays. Considering all of the best picture races in my lifetime that came before 2007 and after, I'm fairly certain we will never get one as sublime as that again. I remember watching the Oscars that year and being completely content (something that has never happened before or since). Even though I preferred THERE WILL BE BLOOD, it was just so refreshing to see the Coen's rewarded for this masterpiece.
I could wax poetically for pages and pages on why NCFOM is so special, but I don't have a lot of time before work today (sigh). I may come back to this post and add more if I feel inclined at some point this week. I will say that it is the greatest pure adaptation of a novel that I've ever seen - a near perfect marriage between directorial vision and authorial intent. As a thriller, it's flawless. The technicality of it, the pacing, the ample use of silence - all work intuitively and hypnotically to build an unbearable tension. And as a modern Western morality play, it's even better. You wrestle with its moral consternation and it wrestles back with you. The cruelty of the world is an unsolvable riddle that defies our righteousness. All we know is that there's a fire being tended to by the dead who have struggled before us, burning out in the darkness waiting for us all.
Stats: one of three American movies from 2007 on my list. A nonpareil year for modern American cinema.