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Say what you will about the tenets of National Socialism…

I’m talkin’ about friendship. I’m talkin’ about character. I’m talkin’ about – hell, Leo, I ain’t embarrassed to use the word – I’m talkin’ about ethics.” If you’re a cinephile of any sort, The House Next Door is probably already (or should be) on your reading list. Still in case it isn’t, Matt Zoller Seitz wrote a particularly intriguing essay on the Coens’ view of morality last week (which you absolutely should NOT read until after seeing No Country for Old Men — it gives away the whole game.) “Though they are habitually described as snotty formalists with nothing on their minds but cinematic gamesmanship, the Coens’ body of work is one of the most sneakily moralistic in recent American cinema. To some extent, all of their movies poses questions that supposedly deeper filmmakers have broached time and time again: if we cannot be certain of God’s existence; if there is a possibility that no one’s watching what we do; if, to reference Johnny Caspar in Miller’s Crossing, ‘morality and ethics’ are agreed-upon lies…then what’s the point of being good? Just because.Update: Also via THND, the Chicago Sun-Times‘s Jim Emerson offers up another quality dissection of No Country.

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