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Archive for October 4th, 2013

MPW-31148

by Dennis Polifroni

CATEGORY: Neo-Western Films

Films in this category reflect the traditions of the western film genre but are set in the contemporary, even urban, American West or frontiers beyond. While many films of this sub-genre can be considered Revisionist Westerns, the two are actually distinct categories. For example, the films of Roy Rogers were set contemporaneously to when they were produced, and one of Rogers’ sidekicks drove a jeep called “Nelliebelle”.

In distinguishing the sub-genres of films that use Western storytelling conventions, it’s useful to keep in mind the following distinctions: Revisionist Westerns are traditional Westerns in setting but incorporate contemporary values (Unforgiven). Contemporary Westerns use traditional genre conventions and values but transplant them to a contemporary setting (Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Garcia). Neo-Westerns adopt the conventions of Western storytelling but incorporate old values, transplanted to other settings (Star Wars).”

From Wikipedia

As damned near perfect a film to fire up the big screen in the past several decades, so Joel and Ethan Coen’s glorious adaptation of Pulitzer Prize winning writer Cormac McCarthy’s novel, NO COUNTRY FOR OLD MEN makes the vie for placement as THE defining Western film of our generation.

Some bemoan the lack of personal reflection that THE ASSASSINATION OF JESSE JAMES claims in droves, many turn their backs on the film for its lack of intense character analysis as seen in Anderson’s THERE WILL BE BLOOD.  However, with those bitchings aside, the plot-heavy NO COUNTRY is so much more than just its nifty narrative.  Looking closer at the film after many years since it’s sweep at the 2008 Academy Awards (where the film won Best Picture, Best Director, Best Adapted Screenplay and Best Supporting Actor), one knows that what they are seeing is far more than just a predicament driven foray into the realms of Noir story-telling. (more…)

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