First, they discuss a sequence from Frank Darabont’s drama, where Andy Dusfresne (Tim Robbins) gets in to a row with prison guard Byron Hadley (Clancy Brown) on the roof of Shawshank Prison.
They discuss the use of a crane shot, how safety cables were removed digitally and the segue to his favourite shot of the film, where Morgan Freeman’s voiceover ‘syncs’ with the movement of the camera. (Click here to see the video)
Then they talk about the scene from the Oscar-winning No Country for Old Men where Sheriff Bell (Tommy Lee Jones) examines a hotel room where Anton Chigurh (Javier Bardem) is hiding in the dark.
A tense sequence, in which light and angles play a key role, they discuss specific shots and how certain decisions were made on the set.
For anyone interested in the cinematic image or how DPs visually construct a scene, it is essential viewing.
The performances are outstanding: Brolin is a revelation as Moss, Jones gives a career best performance as Bell and Bardem deservedly won Best Supporting Actor for his chilling portrayal of Chigur – one of modern cinema’s most memorable villains.
Kelly MacDonald and Woody Harrelson also chip in with fine work, whilst regular Coen collaborator Roger Deakins captures the dark, harsh beauty of West Texas with some truly stunning cinematography.
Paramount’s DVD release for the UK is mostly very. The transfer is excellent, capturing the original colours and tones with precision and care.
The extras are solid, if not spectacular, and contain the following featurettes:
The Making of No Country For Old Men: This is a making of featurette that runs for about 24 minutes. It contains interviews from the set with the filmmakers and cast and most of it provides a good insight into the production and how certain sequences were put together.
Working with The Coens: Although shorter at about 8 mins this section features Bardem, Brolin, Jones, MacDonald and exec producer Robert Graftalk about working with the Coens and their working methods.
Diary Of A Country Sheriff: Another short featurette (about 6 mins long) that focuses on the importance of Sheriff Bell, Anton Shigur and the Texan landscape to the movie. The actors and the Coens discuss the importance of these elements to the film.
I’m guessing that a 2-disc edition with more beefed up features may be a possibilty somewhere down the line but for admirers of the film, this is still an essential addition to anyone’s DVD collection.
I spoke to Kelly Macdonald about about the film back in December and you can listen to the interview here: