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No Country for Old Men

A 2008 movie starring Javier Bardem directed by Ethan Coen and Joel Coen

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No Country for Old Men

  • May 2, 2011
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This movie is probably the Coens at the height of their moviemaking prowess, even though this isn't my favourite overall of their movies. That title still belongs to The Big Lebowski. However, I do think this is the best Coen drama, girded by exceptionally strong performances and a simple but enthralling premise. That guided by the Coen brothers' steady directing makes No Country For Old Men a definite must-see and a fitting entry into their collection. It's also very worthy of winning Best Picture and getting the Coens the directing Oscar that we all know they deserve.

No Country For Old Men follows three storylines, centred around the three main actors, and the storylines all tie together. Llewelyn (Josh Brolin) finds over #2 million in cash as well as a stash of heroin and two dead bodies in an abandoned truck. He decides to keep the money and a cat-and-mouse chase ensues with Anton (Javier Bardem) the psychopath that is supposed to be tracking it down. Then, there's the subplot about the police tracking Anton down, including a city-slicker played by Woody Harrelson and a sheriff-deputy team played by Tommy Lee Jones and Garrett Dillahunt.

The story is simple enough to follow, and it starts off a bit slowly but soon gets a hell of a lot better. The script...well, it's the Coens. The two directors have certainly earned their reputations as story and script men and they (as well as Pixar and Christopher Nolan. Plus, Duncan Jones to an extent, he seems to be emerging) have been the only people in Hollywood that can provide us with original ideas and stories nowadays. This is based off a novel by Cormac McCarthy, which the critics consensus says is darkly funny. I wouldn't know seeing as I haven't read the book, but I suppose one could call this movie darkly funny. This won Best Adapted Screenplay at the Oscars, and for good reason because it was terrific.

The movie rises even more on the strength of its perfectly capable actors. I generally like Tommy Lee Jones as an actor, and naturally he was awesome in Men in Black, but that's the last thing I had seen him in, so I didn't really remember his acting style. He was terrific in this movie and he played the role of gruff sheriff perfectly. I normally loathe Josh Brolin as an actor, and his performance is definitely not the strongest in the movie. However, no matter how much I loathe the man's acting, I can't deny that he definitely gave a good performance in this movie as Llewelyn, the man who found the money. The supporting performances are good too, like Garrett Dillahunt as the deputy and Kelly McDonald as Carla Jean, Llewelyn's wife.

However, why the movie is really worth seeing is Javier Bardem's performance as Anton, the main villain of the movie. Anton is one badass guy, and Javier's wonderful Oscar-winning performance has a lot to do with that. Anton is a cold, calculating serial killer that is tracking down the money found in the truck by Josh Brolin. I definitely found some similarities between his character and Arnold's character in Terminator. He almost seems immortal, like he can't die. Also, like Heath Ledger's Joker, we don't know anything about him, and the element of mystery adds to the creepiness of the character. We don't know anything about his background or whether he was born this way or had to go through some crazy turn of events. We just know that he's killing people for no apparent reason and he feels no remorse about it forever. He doesn't really smile at all so he doesn't really enjoy what he's doing. He just feels like he has to do it, and we have absolutely no idea why. Anton is probably one of my favourite villains of all time and a great performance for great actor Javier Bardem.

So I've praised it so much you're probably wondering why I gave it only an 80 and not a full perfect score? Well, it did lag in some parts, which is a problem that Coen movies (no matter how terrific they are) tend to have. The ending was terribly abrupt (as usual) but those were pretty much the only real problems with the movie, and those are problems that I have with all Coen movies. For those of you who may be interested, the film does contain some violence, and although it is somewhat severe, the violent scenes few and far between. However, this is generally a quiet movie so when violent things happen like gunshots or shots from Anton's fancy cow-executing gun, it is quite startling and took me by surprise quite a few times.

No Country For Old Men is a definite must-see crime thriller for anyone and everyone, especially fans of the genre and fans of the Coens. Featuring a simple but interesting story, strong performances, blacker-than-black comedy, a great screenplay, but some lag and a terrible ending. I am still rather unknowledgeable in the work of the Coens, and the next one I intend to watch (eventually) is Burn After Reading, their follow-up to this. How will Burn After Reading hold up? I have no idea, but this one certainly does. All in all, I really did like this one and if you are a fan of this type of movie, you will too

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More No Country for Old Men reviews
review by . March 26, 2008
Wow. Great movie. I saw this movie at the Rialto in Raleigh, NC, which is worth a trip in itself as an old school "movie palace". The lobby is about the size of my kitchen at home, just enough room for a concession stand, then double doors open directly into the big theatre with a concrete floor sloping down to the big screen on a real stage. Stepping through those double doors is a 50-year step backwards, but the place looks like it has been recently renovated as the floor is clean, the seats are …
review by . May 30, 2010
posted in Movie Hype
      NO COUNTRY FOR OLD MEN       I don't know about you but I have always been a huge fan of the Coen Brothers Joel and Ethan, I have liked every film the two have put together. This is no exception and is just another classic in a long list of classics, both theatrically and on DVD this is a brilliant film. I can honestly say that a lot of the time I do not agree with the winners or even the nominees chosen by the Academy for the Oscar but they got it right …
review by . July 01, 2011
While it's very easy to trace comparisons between this film and prior Coen projects, such an exercise seems almost trivial when one considers that this story was adapted from one of Cormac McCarthy's most accessible novels. It's comforting to note that the Coens have found a story compatible with their usual trademarks: dialogue characterized by a regional vernacular, eccentrics who both voice and embody the story's themes and a measured pace interjected by bizarre scenes of intense …
Quick Tip by . February 21, 2011
This movie takes patience, and requires interpreting. If you're not interested in having to think through what the movie is trying to say, it will just seem like one damn thing after another.
Quick Tip by . December 28, 2010
"The Terminator" in Texas...    Somehow I have to make 50 characters here.
review by . July 11, 2009
posted in Movie Hype
Josh Brolin as Lewllon Moss
Sheriff Ed Tom Bell is a good sheriff.  He can put together a crime scene and get in touch with who he needs to.  Never gets hurt and does a good job keeping the peace.  One day though an ugly and violent crime is enough to put him out to pasture.  It was enough to make him realize how just like all those disgusting crimes across the country he only read about in newspapers, has finally come home to West Texas.  Towards the end of his tenure as Sheriff, an old friend of …
Quick Tip by . June 08, 2010
CRAZY but so incredibly good. Watched it in my criminology class.
review by . September 06, 2009
posted in Movie Hype
I was sheriff of this county when I was twenty-five years old. Hard to believe. My grandfather was a lawman; father too. Me and him was sheriffs at the same time; him up in Plano and me out here. I think he's pretty proud of that. I know I was. Some of the old time sheriffs never even wore a gun. A lotta folks find that hard to believe. Jim Scarborough'd never carry one; that's the younger Jim. Gaston Boykins wouldn't wear one up in Camanche County. I always liked to hear about the oldtimers. Never …
Quick Tip by . October 31, 2009
Poor Texas man runs off with drug money he finds at a crime scene only to have a bounty hunter on his tail and a sheriff in between. Great.
review by . May 08, 2009
The story opens in the desolate west Texas countryside, as Llewelyn Moss (Josh Brolin) stumbles upon a drug deal gone bad and makes off with a suitcase full of money. He figures he'll be followed and he's right; Anton Chigurh (Javier Bardem), a ruthless and patient killer, is after him. Chigurh is, in turn, being tracked by the local sheriff (Tommy Lee Jones), a good ol' country boy who's amazed at how violent criminals have become lately.     I'd heard this was a bloody guy-movie …
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The Coen brothers make their finest thriller sinceFargowith a restrained adaptation of Cormac McCarthy's novel. Not that there aren't moments of intense violence, butNo Country for Old Menis their quietest, most existential film yet. In this modern-day Western, Llewelyn Moss (Josh Brolin) is a Vietnam vet who could use a break. One morning while hunting antelope, he spies several trucks surrounded by dead bodies (both human and canine). In examining the site, he finds a case filled with $2 million. Moss takes it with him, tells his wife (Kelly Macdonald) he's going away for awhile, and hits the road until he can determine his next move. On the way from El Paso to Mexico, he discovers he's being followed by ex-special ops agent Chigurh (an eerily calm Javier Bardem). Chigurh's weapon of choice is a cattle gun, and he uses it on everyone who gets in his way--or loses a coin toss (as far as he's concerned, bad luck is grounds for death). Just as Sheriff Bell (Tommy Lee Jones), a World War II vet, is on Moss's trail, Chigurh's former colleague, Wells (Woody Harrelson), is on his. For most of the movie, Moss remains one step ahead of his nemesis. Both men are clever and resourceful--except Moss has a conscience, Chigurh does not (he is, as McCarthy puts it, "a prophet of destruction"). At times, the film plays like an old horror movie, with Chigurh as its lumbering Frankenstein monster. Like the taciturn terminator,No Country for Old ...
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Movies, Drama Movies, Action Movies, Dramas, Coen Brothers, Coen Brothers Movies, Woody Harrelson Movies, Joel Coen Movies, Javier Bardem Movies, Tommy Lee Jones Movies, Ethan Coen Movies, Josh Brolin Movies


Director: Ethan Coen, Joel Coen
Genre: Action, Drama, Adventure
Release Date: 2007, November 9, 2007
MPAA Rating: R
Screen Writer: Ethan Coen, Joel Coen
Runtime: 2hrs 2min
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