When a battleship squishes the President of the United States, you know you’re watching a Roland Emmerich movie. The same man who introduced the world to Will Smith by having Big Willie knock-out an extra-terrestrial; the same man who had Jake Gyllenhaal fend off the next ice age with a campfire; the same man who gave you Ferris Bueller versus Godzilla(!!!) brings you this: the end of the world as we know it (unless you’re a hard-up character actor, or a cute kid, or a giraffe, or a Tibetan monk). For shear, insane, eyeball-trampling spectacle, Emmerich deserves a medal. For story-telling (and everything else), he deserves a punch.
Cormac McCarthy is an old crank. He may well be the William Faulkner of the 21st century, but he’s a crank. I read a lot of critics rhapsodise about No Country for Old Men when the hardback hit the stands, but precious few took note the book’s old-man-erisms: the crankiness, the misanthropy, the pessimistic certainty that only comes with old age – or youth. McCarthy’s world view is that the world is going to hell in a handbasket. In the Coen brothers’ adaptation of No Country for Old Men, doom is like a blanky that Javier Bardem’s character trails with him. You can ignore it if you want; talk all you like about the modern Western, but this movie is only, only about death.