No country for old men

Mikey 8 comments
No country for old men

If there is a good way to turn me off a new movie, it is to over promote it or generate hype. Thankfully, the Coen Brothers latest offering caught me completely off guard, having seen no advertising or been subjected to unconvincing testimonials. The first word I got of 'No country for old men' came from my sister in law, which wasn't much more than "We saw a great new film. We liked it, you would like it."

Well I do like the Coen Brothers films, Fargo being one of my favourites of all time. So I went into 'No country for old men' without so much as a slight clue regarding the plot or characters. In hindsight, this is the best way to see a film.

Warning! Possible spoilers may exist in the green sectioned area below. Skip it and read on if you must.

Llewelyn Moss (Josh Brolin) is an average country guy. He spends his days hunting steer and one day happens upon the remains of a drug deal gone bad. There are several dead bodies, and one barely alive who pleads for water. Further snooping around and he discovers a large drug stash and a case with 2 million dollars. Being a poor country guy, Llewelyn takes off with the money, and the movies tag line "there are no clean getaways" comes into play from this point on.

Later that night his conscious gets the better of him, and returns to the crime scene to bring water to the dying man. This turns out to be a bad decision, as he is noticed by some men who are looking for the case, and thus begins Llewelyn's life on the run.

Sporting a bad haircut is hitman Anton Chigurh (Javier Bardem), sent in to recover the missing money by any means. He's the type of killer who can not function properly unless he starts the day with a kill. And because coming into contact with anyone means their inevitable death, this makes his job a bit boring. To make things a little more interesting he takes the unusual step of letting the potential victim decide their fate with the toss of a coin. "Call it, friendo".

Following the trail of bloodshed is Sheriff Ed Tom Bell (Tommy Lee Jones), and old school officer longing for the old days. Bell has retirement on the horizon and doesn't want to put that in any jeopardy. He often makes mention of destiny, which is an underlying theme throughout the film. Bell knows the bloodshed is going to happen regardless of how much he can intervene - if he can indeed. His only option is to simply see it through and clean up the mess afterwards. He shows no sense of urgency and makes no effort to try and get a step ahead of the killer. This is going to happen and he must let it.

The Coen Brothers have chosen to have no music during the entire movie. It works remarkably well. Movie scores often give away or elude to crucial moments, which makes for a more predictable experience.

'No country for old men' is an instantly likeable Coen Brothers classic. If you enjoyed their previous films (Fargo, Miller's Crossing, The Big Lebowski, The Hudsucker Proxy among may others) you are destined to enjoy this ride.

4 stars out of 5.

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Joe Marco

Friday 18th January 2008 | 03:28 AM

I enjoyed the film, until the end. I'll explain in a bit. There's a spoiler in this, so avoid reading the last paragraph.

The acting was awesome, Brolin and Bardem were excellent and of course Jones was Jones, you could film the guy on the toilet and it would still be a worthy performance.

I really enjoyed how smart they made Brolin's character, the whole time keeping his cool, for example with the pit bull by the river, where he calmly dropped the clip from the pistol, cleared the round, blew on the firing pin, reloaded and boom. nicely done.

Bardem, with his Prince Valiant was a nutball. "Call it! Friendo"

Oh yea, and the dialogue was epic, "What is this guy, the ultimate badass?"

But what killed it for me, what just made me want to find the Cohen brothers and yell at them, was their use of Jones's naration in the begining, then shifting the story to Brolin, and then back to Jones. We don't even see Brolin's character meet his demise, only the after math. They really should had shown how he met his maker.

"Call it! Friendo!"

3 stars out of 5.

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Friday 18th January 2008 | 07:49 AM

Agreed it would have been nice to see Llewelyn and Anton's final encounter. I felt the same as you on that one. But isn't that typical Cohen Brothers style? The occasional lack of closure.

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Friday 18th January 2008 | 11:13 PM

i am going to see this movie as i have heard nothing but good reports about it,,,,,

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Friday 18th January 2008 | 11:19 PM

actually i should have said good reviews.......

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Monday 21st January 2008 | 08:26 PM

what about the ATM?? there were none in 1980.

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Thursday 13th March 2008 | 05:30 AM

just saw no country for old men; it's unassumingly unconventional and yet (thankfully) never over the top. the Coen brothers deserve their oscars, well done indeed.

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Friday 2nd May 2008 | 01:20 AM response to this comment by Joe Marco. Joe,

I don't quite get what you mean. Moss's every step was followed through the movie. One of the few times the focus was not on him was when he got killed.

Myself, I thought it was one of the best movie endings I had ever seen. It totally explained the name of the movie, and gave a clue to who Ellis really was. There were two stories being told her. Llewelyn's tale had been told, and was over, Yet he was not an old man. That part of the movie ended right there. But what about the "Old Man" part of the story. It has been the entire film playing underneath all the great scenes with Javier and Josh, and the others.

I'm convinced that there was a main story being told here (The one about Anton and Llewelyn, but underneath, there was the story eluded to by lines like "It's not just one thing" and "You just can't stop it" Ed-Tom's non intervention by god in his life.) That story is the one the title talks about...Ed-Toms struggle to find meaning and truth in life. This does not happen of course. In his dreams he searches for this substance, and at the very end, after searching his dreams, the only place he can imagine finding the real answers, as he says: "I woke up."

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Friday 2nd May 2008 | 09:25 AM response to this comment by Joe Marco. You're dead-on mister!
If there were a secret, would be "on the outside looking in". Actually, it was weird for me,.i watched the movie 4 times, but i never seen the ending till one night,.. i rented it instead of watching my stolen version,.. ( i just never could watch the whole movie because of interuptions), but on that friday-night , i got to see the ending(12 minutes),.was so disapointed, and so were my brothers, but now when i think about it, it was wel-written, and a classic-ending for a cohen-bros. film.I'll prolly watch it again tonight on my p/c.Facinating the imagination bestowed in the writing of this film.the "Nobody would have thunk-it-theme" is very much alive! thanks for this.

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