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Once again, it's coming down to entertainment vs. art. Watchability vs. ambition. Since I feel comfortable in saying that the Coens improved upon some already unbelievably good source material, I have to give it to them. This, however, is not to say that I think NCFOM isn't re-watchable or somehow less so than the Matrix.
Nah, I'm sayin The Matrix has more depth too. Granted Baudrillard is a spastic but The Matrix can me used as an allegory for fuckin' anything. That's how deep it is... now applaud me with one hand.
I think The Matrix is saying that it's OK to shoot at and use kung fu on members of the establishment because they're just serving mechanical overlords who want to leech of our precious bodily energies. Does such an equivalent exist in our reality? Well, no. It's not quite that simple. We, of course, should be eternally vigilant against those in power who might take advantage of us. But does The Matrix condone dressing in leather and blowing away all the bastards because each and every one has it coming? It seems so. If they are all part of the figurative "Matrix" then there should be no qualms about going full-blown terrorist (or freedom fighter, if you prefer) on their asses. Right? I think No Country for Old Men is mostly about how shit just happens, no matter how much of a badass you think you are. Very humbling. There's no easy answer, no "Why me?" bullshit. That's just how it is. Or no?
I guess the defining commentary of both movies is that the individual is essentially bereft of any significant control; that any one person's sphere of influence is smaller than they would ever care to admit. Chance etc. Anton Chigurh is the least subtle example of that (what with his coin) and No Country definitely follows Lenny Bruce when he said: "The truth is what is, not what should be. What should be is a dirty lie." There's the whole certainty in randomness thing going on. So yeah, shit happens. The Matrix, for me, wasn't strictly a fun, zany and cool metaphor for ontology. I personally took it as kind of an expose of systemic bullshit (of "those in power"). Nihilism almost. Fuck it cause it's ALL a lie anyway... simu-lation/lacra. And then, the Oracle acting as another form of control just says question every-fucking-thing. Where I disagreed with The Matrix was with the view that once you are aware of the bullshit, once you're 'enlightened' and unplugged you somehow change OR can change things. Hell no dude, Cypher, plug me back in!!! Ultimately (hate that word) what does it matter if all those institutions are real or fake. Doesn't affect much on the scale of the individual? Whether the world is real or a 'dream' (so to speak) doesn't alter the fact that I need more food & pussy. Superego man, it's all about "I". (AND I'm no gimp but the black leather works for our hero team.)
In The Matrix, not only is it possible to change things but it also a favorable outcome. The heroes prefer reality to the dream world. The one guy who wants to live the dream is looked at as a villain. Actually, The Matrix is all about Neo and his destiny. It's a religious movie for God's sake. Philosophically, it's the opposite of No Country the way I see it. No Country FTW!
Whatever. No Country !
Ah, missed some shit for four months. "It's a religious movie for God's sake." Was that re-pun-dancy intentional? Either way, if religion is is just another form of control then The Matrix presents a diaogue against that too, using, in fact, many religions' own symbolism and rhetoric. Oh, it's goin' Walt Whitman with the contradictions now. Besides all the analysis, it's just more overtly entertaining.
BOTTOM LINE: The Matrix says that the bullshit can be changed, and that there's actually a savior who is destined to pull it off. No Country says that the bullshit has always been there, and always will be there, and your best laid plans and expectations can't save you. In fact, with No Country, the bullshit doesn't even exist in any organized form. It's just life.
Wow. This sh*t is deep. Bottom line for me: The Matrix entertained me more. Must say, No Country is a movie I definitely do NEED to see again...
I remember No Country being excessively violent but I suppose I would need to see that movie again because I only saw it when it came out. However, The Matrix has a deeper metaphysical message, and at the same time incorporating genuinely enjoyable action. Bottom Line: The Matrix takes it.
The Matrix. NOFC is nothing compared to it.
While The Matrix relies on glossy special effects and camera work, No Country For Old Men relies on nothing but performances. I will be the first to admit the Matrix is groundbreaking sci-fi and special effects, but No Country For Old Men is groundbreaking storytelling. Wonderfully adapted from McCarthy's novel, a subtle turn from Brolin and a terrifying one from Bardem is balanced by the supporting cast in this ultimate good, evil and everything in between tale. In the end the muddied metaphysical morality lesson delivered by the Matrix pales in comparison to the powerhouse acting, writing, and directing in No Country For Old Men.
No Country hands freakin down. I'm surprised at my lack of hesitation in making this decision. The Matrix didn't wow me at all. Except for a few scenes where Morpheus talks about interconnected themes of reality and consciousness, the whole film is a CGI crap fest. Bad acting and cheesiness galore. No Country is less obvious in its approach and more entertaining. And personally, I found No Country's social themes far more intriguing and thought-provoking than Matrix's so-called deep philosophy. Javier Bardem alone is way better than the entire cast of The Matrix. His haunting and powerful performance was one of the best of the decade. The thought of Chigurh makes me want to run towards Agent Smith and hug him.