While being in Munich last Weekend, I had the worthy opportunity to see the film on a big screen and in the original version (it's playing only dubbed in Nuremberg, can't imagine how they dubbed this one...).
Well, I'm heavily disappointed. I thought that the Coens might have "grown up" totally within the last five years or so but they still suffer from their old demons which always kept me from honestly liking their films.
NCFOM pretends to be dead serious and it affected me as a viewer very seriously. At least some time. At one point (approximately during the scene in which Brolin leaves his wife in the bus or the following scene with Bardem in the car), I thought that the point had come for me to trust in the film and the intentions of its creators. Yes, there was humour. But it was discreet and subtle. Yes, the whole thing looked like a mixture of abstracted / reflected traditional genre elements and -cliches. But it was still superior - for 20 minutes! Then, my whole personal Coen misery started again when Tommy Lee Jones started to look for Brolin and Bardem. The Mixture became stronger and stronger (like a bad perfume), the pleasant sedateness shrinked, the usual cynical humour became more and more penetrating and suddenly, they were there again: The narcisstic, "cool" and smirking big boys who can't stop giggling about their own cunning and sophistication. The Hammer fell and smashed everything and when Woody Harrelson's character appeared, I already though thought was lost. Some scenes after his death managed to keep my interest and reception awake but my conclusion isn't too nice: Another one of those postmodern and postironic (which means: tongue in cheek) genre / filmhistory gimmicks which is meant to be very clever but isn't much more than extravagant self-adulation. And, of course, an (successful) attempt to impress all the people out there: critics as well as the mainstream audiences and the cineastes.
Don't get me wrong: I enjoyed the film, really. The mise en scene was absolutely brilliant! Remarkable performances (as impressive as Bardem's performance is, I'm still of the opinion that Casey Affleck's achievement would've deserved the Oscar much more), great camera work, great editing, great sound design, etc., etc., etc. But no great script and no personal, human vision, no soul, only egocentric brains behind all the suaveness. The Screenplay Oscar for this script - that's a real bad joke, indeed. 7 out of 10, nevertheless. It was pure Excitement to watch.
Poor Paul Thomas Anderson, you should have what they got by now.