Josh Brolin is the king of the modern western

josh brolin outer range western westernverse

Men’s Health Illustration/Jason Speakman/Courtesy

    There is a scene in No country for old men, Joel and Ethan Coen’s 2007 Best Picture award-winning neo-Western film, in which Llewellyn Moss (Josh Brolin) is lying wide-eyed in bed. And although this happens at the beginning of the film – still in the first part of the first act – it is known exactly what is going through Llewellyn’s restless mind. He has just seen the aftermath of a drug deal gone wrong. While he was bold enough to grab the gigantic bag of bloody money he found, he wasn’t bold enough to fall for the man who was specifically begging for water to die. At one point, we see this in a torn Brolin’s face, and so he returns to the scene of the carnage, setting in motion all the subsequent events of the film. Later, when this decision has sent him into a hellish storm of chaos and violence, we see him again lying in bed staring. There is a lot of silent contemplation.

    We will not go into a complete summary of the events of No country for old men; it’s a movie from 15 years ago, and if you somehow haven’t seen it yet, it’s about time you did. But we are going to talk about how the events of the film were not only set in motion, but rather a journey of 15 years (and counting) of its main actor. That movie wasn’t the first time Brolin had ventured into a Western-related world (he played Wild Bill Hickok in 67 episodes of a series called young riders which aired on ABC between 1989 and 1992), but it was the first in a series of roles that remained as connecting tentacles through the last, and most fruitful, part of his career. And although his star has grown in the last decade playing superhero roles in major franchises (Cable in Dead Pool 2 and, most notably, the villainous Thanos in the Marvel Cinematic Universe), it’s his roles in this not-so-connected Western universe that capitalize on his unique and versatile charm.

    We’ll call these projects, and the 54-year-old actor’s foray into the various forms of these worlds, Josh Brolin’s ever-expanding Westernverse.

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    Richard Foreman

    Part of what makes this journey special is that Brolin has shown the ability to play different archetypal roles within these worlds. In the Amazon Prime Video series Outer Rangethe latest and perhaps most ambitious adventure in Brolin’s Westernverse, we see the actor in his version of the role of Kevin Costner in Yellowstone, but with wrinkles; while Outer Range Y Yellowstone are series about ranching families with movie stars in the lead, it takes less than one episode to see how wildly different they are. Outer Range It gives Brolin all the space he wants to meditate, monologue and burn, but there is also action, thriller and, unexpectedly, science fiction, which allows him to show the skills of an action star that he has also shown to have inside him throughout. of the years.

    This type of character – the patriarch of a proud family, a grandfather, a man of principle – contrasts sharply with Llewellyn, the forty-something Vietnam veteran of No country for old menwhom the film introduces not so subtly as someone who believes he can outrun the devil (in this case, the devil is an unstoppable hitman played by Javier Bardem).

    josh brolin outer range western westernverse


    Brolin works so well with the Coens that the next time they had the opportunity to do a western – the most traditional adaptation of Value of law, the 19th century Western epic – chose to cast him again, this time in a very different kind of role. Here he plays Tom Chaney, a villain who essentially serves as the MacGuffin who propels the entire story into action. Chaney’s name is mentioned perhaps more than any other character’s in the entire film, but he is not seen until about 90 minutes, when it is revealed that the much-maligned Tom Chaney is not some kind of evil genius, but rather a gross eyebrow of few lights. Brolin doesn’t play him with that usual charisma, quite the opposite; it is almost unfathomable how this person we see before us is the same one who has built the reputation we have heard. And within the context of the movie, that’s exactly what it has to be. Value of law it is ultimately a film about the power of friendships and close relationships; the revenge aspect is only a small and potentially unnecessary part of the puzzle.

    is also Jonah Hex, the unsuccessful Brolin-directed superhero western that scored 12% on Rotten Tomatoes. The less we say about her, probably the better, but still, the guy’s taste for cowboy hats and boots in any age is evident.

    josh brolin outer range western westernverse


    A few years after the fiasco of Jonah HexBrolin returned in Hitman, which fits the criteria of the genre when applied on a contemporary scale. He plays a CIA agent named Matt Graver, who, along with an FBI agent played by Emily Blunt and a mysterious asset played by Benicio del Toro, head into uncharted territory, on an unknown mission, where they come up against a unknown enemy. The film is set firmly in the present of 2015, but the setting – the modern, dry, flat-colored land of Arizona/Texas/Mexico – gives everything a distinctly western feel, even though there are no horses to ride and no cattle to grapple with. herd (not to mention that Hitman is written by Taylor Sheridan, co-creator of Yellowstone).

    Brolin’s bravado and self-confidence define many a modern man in positions of power, yes, but he also reflects the kind of personality we’ve been conditioned to expect in the classic gunslinger with the clear-headed, easy-fingered Western. traditional. Throughout the film, Brolin’s Graver is never surprised by what happens: at every turn, he keeps the answers to himself. His arrogant and relentless pursuit of exactly what he wants in Hitman it’s the perfect balance for Emily Blunt’s naiveté; he knows too much about the brutal world they’re about to enter, and she doesn’t even realize that she knows literally nothing.

    Over the years, Brolin has shown a willingness to embrace a genre that, while having a good time, has come with ups and downs and has a very high bar to be worthwhile among die-hard fans. And through his choices, he seems to understand this; mix neo-Westerns like No country for old men Y Outer Range with traditional styles like Value of law shows a desire to not only push the boundaries of what a Western can be, but to respect the more classic aspects of the genre, while also taking risks and being creative in deciding what kind of story these projects can tell.

    Finally, it is clear that coming back with a project like Hitman after Jonah Hex He meant to tell us that one bomb isn’t enough to scare this cowboy into a gunfight.

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