starring Denzel Washington, Russell Crowe, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Cuba Gooding, Jr.
screenplay by Steven Zaillian
directed by Ridley Scott
I'M NOT THERE
starring Christian Bale, Cate Blanchett, Marcus Carl Franklin, Richard Gere
screenplay by Todd Haynes & Oren Moverman
directed by Todd Haynes
NO COUNTRY FOR OLD MEN
'08 BD - Image A+ Sound A+ Extras B-
CE - Image A+ Sound A+ Extras B+
starring Tommy Lee Jones, Javier Bardem, Josh Brolin, Kelly Macdonald
screenplay by Joel Coen & Ethan Coen, based on the novel by Cormac McCarthy
directed by Joel Coen & Ethan Coen
by Walter Chaw Consider the moment when an overly enthusiastic police search results in the demolition of a replica dresser commissioned by Harlem drug lord Frank Lucas (Denzel Washington) for the Carolina plantation he's bought to house his extended family. In one canny instant, there's the suggestion that nothing ever changes: the things we lose in time we will always lose. The image Ridley Scott provides for us as he moves the Lucas clan into their new digs is loaded and dangerous, with a group of African-Americans walking up the lush green lawn of an antebellum plantation--usurpers of a corrupt American Dream that, American Gangster posits, is still corrupt and in essentially the same way. True, there's a cartoon bogey in a New York cop (Josh Brolin) erected as the straw man for all of New York's Finest who's profiting off French Connection junk (gasp, he shoots a dog, and probably also smokes)--but the real villainy in the picture is the idea that the path to true status and achievement in the United States is on the backs of not just others, but entire groups of others.