Magazine article The Advocate (The national gay & lesbian newsmagazine)

Mad Men: Greed Is Good for These Bad Boys, Driven to Villainy by Money, Fame, and One Truly Unfortunate Haircut

Magazine article The Advocate (The national gay & lesbian newsmagazine)

Mad Men: Greed Is Good for These Bad Boys, Driven to Villainy by Money, Fame, and One Truly Unfortunate Haircut

Article excerpt

[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED]

NO COUNTRY FOR OLD MEN

DIRECTED BY Joel and Ethan Coen

STARRING Javier Bardem, Josh Brolin

and Tommy Lee Jones

MIRAMAX

AMERICAN GANGSTER

DIRECTED BY Ridley Scott

STARRING Denzel Washington and

Russell Crowe

UNIVERSAL

AN ACTOR LIKE JAVIER BARDEM has many things going for him--imposing size, handsome looks, and a high profile on both sides of the Atlantic--but his greatest asset may be his voice. As gay writer-poet Reinaldo Arenas in the 2000 film Before Night Falls, the Spanish-born Bardem had to master both the English language and a Cuban accent, and the splashy result earned him his first Oscar nomination. His second will almost certainly come from No Country for Old Men, where, as the mysterious assassin Chigurh, Bardem drops his voice so low you'd think it was a special effect.

Though Chigurh is certainly one of the most fearsome film villains since Hannibal Letter, Bardem resists the urge to camp it up--no small feat, considering Chigurh's odd pageboy haircut and slaughterhouse stun gun. He's been sent to track down $2 million that went missing after a drug bust gone bad--it was picked up by innocent bystander Llewelyn Moss (Josh Brolin), who lays out booby traps for the man hunting him and his prize. But Chigurh is as implacable as the clouds rolling across the film's barren Texas plains. He's a human Terminator, impossible to be reasoned with until he has taken the deadly toll he set out to take.

No Country for Old Men was directed by Joel and Ethan Coen, and in its own way, it serves as a bookend to their snow noir, Fargo. That film found police chief Marge Gunderson shaking her head over a trail of murders, telling the perpetrator in the back of her cop car, "Here ya are, and it's a beautiful day. Well, I just don't understand it." Marge's spiritual successor in No Country is the kindly Sheriff Bell (Tommy Lee Jones), who seems just as stumped by the black hearts that could cause such mayhem. Bell's problem is that he requires so little--the love of his wife and, perhaps, a good breakfast--he can't conceive of what people would do for a lot more.

For Bell, Ridley Scott's American Gangster might serve as a valuable primer. …

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