No Country For Old Men (2007)

July 04, 2011 By Mike B
Movie Review

What Worked?

Based on Cormac McCarthy’s novel, No Country for Old Men is a film that captures the sinister tale of a melting morality and the ferocious effects of change set within the story of a drug deal gone wrong. Every performance is right on point, especially Javier Bardem as Anton Chigurh. The Coen brothers are at their very best here, creating a film that sears into your flesh like a hot knife and leaves a scar that continues to teach you.

No Country for Old Men is a beautifully shot film, and the Coen brothers mix in the right amount of humor into this seriously thought-provoking thriller. Whether you’re witnessing the chase with the background of a blue tinted, lightning crackled sky or following Llewelyn through the bare desert where you can almost feel the heat, the cinematography is immersive. The decision to not use a soundtrack heightens the the tense moments, really leaving you on the edge of your seat, as the ambient sounds are all that are needed. The pace of the film is comfortable, building the characters well, and unleashing spurts of brutal violence that feel real.

If it weren’t for Javier Bardem’s chilling performance, there would be more talk about Josh Brolin playing Llewelyn, a Vietnam Veteran that stumbles upon a suitcase of drug money that runs away from its terminator-like retriever. Brolin is fantastic in the role, as he brings humor and desperate courage to the character without ever emoting too much. Tommy Lee Jones plays Ed Tom Well, a philosophical sheriff that’s trying to make sense of this drug deal gone wrong. Jones perfectly delivers bleak humor, and is wonderful at pondering the morality of man and the changing of the times. His weather-beaten eyes are filled with despair about the gruesomeness of life, but are also filled with hope about what comes after. The standout of the film is Javier Bardem as Anton Chigurh, playing the hitman from a hell we’ve never heard of before. Bardem, as Anton, is a quietly intense, menacing, mythic freak of nature that won’t stop. He is a truly terrifying character because you just don’t know what he’s going to do next. He doesn’t live within our perspective of the world, as he has his own set of rules that he faithfully follows.

This film captures the vicious nature and poignant thoughts that the novel has to offer. It is a breathtaking film that does the novel justice. The film comments on the grand story of life; the “bad” guy can get away, and the “good” guy can lose. We spend our lives trying to find out what we’re here for, trying to do some good in the world, but there’s always something dark and brooding that can interfere. Closure. The film denies closure, just as Sheriff Well is denied closure. In the end, we must take comfort that closure is only momentary at best.

Potential Drawbacks:

This is a slower paced film that some wont enjoy because it lacks the common factors of a thriller. There are no clear-cut characters and no clear answers, so if you’re the type to want that in a film, this may not be for you. This is a film that will make you think, and one that must be pondered over to fully enjoy beyond the performances.

Film Recommendations:

the Road





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