Saturday, 19 September 2020
No Country For Old Men
Written by Sandra Fitzpatrick   
Monday, 10 December 2007 00:00
Brothers Joel and Ethan Coen are used to wearing many hats. Both have written, directed, and produced some of the most memorable films of the past few decades, earning critical praise for their unique style. Barton Fink; Fargo; O Brother Where Art Thou?; The Big Lebowski; all fall under the collective brothers’ collective umbrella. Add to this list No Country for Old Men, another title that will be talked about for some time.

In No Country for Old Men, the Coen Brothers once again explore the root of what drives us as a race. Love, sex, death, and money all play out in this film, working their tragic effects on the lives of a few central characters.

Josh Brolin plays Llewelyn Moss, an average country Joe who stumbles upon a crime scene while out hunting. Upon closer investigation he realizes it’s a botched drug trade that pays off with a satchel containing 2-million dollars cash. He does what I don’t mind saying I would do – takes the money that is – not truly realizing that by doing so he has attracted the attention of a bona fide psychopath. Though Brolin’s character finds himself in a totally foreign situation it’s amazing how far his resourcefulness and intellect takes him.

Javier Bardem gives a chilling and deadpan performance as Anton Chigurh, whose only goal is to find that satchel and reclaim the money. He lumbers along with his horrid bowl haircut and morose expression, playing God to the many people that cross his path, sometimes deciding with the toss of a coin whether they will live or die. His constant companion is the air gun he uses as a weapon that is both shockingly efficient and effective. Let me tell you, you wouldn’t want to come across this guy in a dark alley – or in a well lit city-street either for that matter!

Several other great performances mark this film including a third major character played by Tommy Lee Jones. Sheriff Ed Tom Bell is investigating the case and prides himself on being a third generation lawman. But this case becomes a torment to the man who feels his age getting the better of him.

On the surface this is a taught action thriller with many a white-knuckled moment. There is a lot of cat and mouse going on and sometimes it’s hard to tell who is the cat and who is the mouse. But it wouldn’t be fair to call this a simple chase movie, as it is much more than that. Exploring the themes of greed and corruption, one can peel back layers of this film and find more and more to think about.

This is a bleak and violent movie with a lot of humor in it if you like the dark stuff. Great acting and beautiful filming round it out making it worthy of plenty of attention at the awards. A few things bothered me including an unnecessary cameo by Woody Harrelson who seems to play the same guy in every film these days.

Don’t go in expecting all the answers because you won’t get them. I thoroughly enjoyed the film but was a little shocked at what served as the ending and came away feeling thoughtful. On the other hand perhaps this is one of the highest compliments I can give a movie like this. I give No Country for Old Men 8 out of 10 stars.