No Country for English
In preparing to write a review of No Country for Old Men, I glanced at some online discussions of the film to see what other people were saying.
The grammarian in me overcame the movie critic as I found myself paying more attention to the mode of expression than the thoughts being expressed.
In Dustin’s Review of the film I found three items that distracted me from the content.
1. Of the character Sheriff Ed Tom Bell, the reviewer observes
just as he has previously laid witness to similar atrocities over the decades…
One lays claim to something, but one simply witnesses an atrocity.
2. Again speaking of the sheriff, the reviewer says
all he tragically finds in God’s place is an empty void
Since the word void means “empty” or “an empty place.” it seems a case of belt and suspenders to talk about an empty void.
3. Of the killer, played by Javier Bardem, the reviewer says
Whenever he comes in contact with someone, the viewer holds their breath, quite aware of the extent to which he is capable of.
In addition to the agreement problem of the viewer holds their breath (which some readers may wish to defend), there’s another problem: quite aware of the extent to which he is capable of.
Three separate idioms have been crammed into one convoluted sentence.
Let’s break it down.
This killer is a psychopath who kills human beings the way farmers slaughter beef. Very quickly the movie-goer knows that this person would as soon kill you as look at you.
The viewer, therefore, is aware of what the killer is capable of.
The viewer is aware of the extent of the killer’s depravity.
The viewer is aware of the extremes to which the killer will go.
A lot of work has gone into the site on which this review appears. It may contain some outstanding reviews. It’s a shame that the first article I’ve read contains such careless writing. I now hesitate to look at the others.
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