No Country for Old Men Reviews
The film follows, in essence, a bag full of two million dollars after it is taken by a Vietnam veteran, played by Josh Brolin in what must surely rank as his greatest role. He is tracked down by Anton Chigurh, a psychotic hired killer across Texas as the chain reaction escalates.
Adapted from a Cormac McCarthy novel, fast becoming a Coen favourite, the brother directors take on a classic crime style story but add their own fantastical style.
Javier Bardem is almost perfect in the film, playing opposite the brilliant Brolin, whilst Tommy Lee Jones strange part in the story is carefully and gently crafted by an excellent performance from Jones.
But every component of the film is mastered to a particular thriller style, in a very Coen way. The normalities of any Coen piece are there, with the memorable storyline, complicated twists and turns and well above average cinematography. However the enticing poetic nature of the film is what makes it stand above the rest and pull you ever deeper into the character's lives, both normal and abnormal.
And what to say of the action sequences themselves? Superb, as well as never losing sight of the basic plot and using wonderful characterisation.
The plot itself is complicated and the end of the film, whilst panned by some, is actually devilishly clever and a fantastic ending. Its supposed ambiguity may frustrate some, although when you watch for a second time the majority of the ambiguity washes away.
The Coen's brother collection of films make it hard to point definitely to just one as their unchallenged masterpiece, but in the ranks of their greatest films, as well as some of the finest cinema to come out of America in years, 'No Country For Old Men' ranks at the top.
After stumbling onto the scene of a drug deal gone terribly wrong, a welder goes on the run with a stash of money, and finds himself pursued by the various parties interested in getting it back, as well as an aging sheriff trying to make sense of the situation, and bring it to a close in his own way.
This film is perfect. The brilliance of the Coen Brothers never, and I mean NEVER ceases to amaze me. For a relatively simple plot, there are a lot of layers and complexities...definitely a great thing. Every little thing plays an important part...sparse music use, terrific panoramic landscape shots of desolate places, subtle messages/symbolism hidden in dialogue, and amazing little touches such as the hotel scenes are only a few of the great things that make No Country...such a great film.
For all the detractors, the ending does not suck, it is not as anticlimatic and dull as it seems, and it is a perfect way to end the film.
Considering that this is by far the Coens' most violent and serious work, it still manages to have a feeling of beauty and poetry, albeit on the haunted level. Even though it is quite serious, there is a fair amount of humor to it, even if it is rather dry and generally of the (quirky) gallows variety.
The performances are beyond outstanding. Javier Bardem deserved the Oscar he won for his chilling portrayal of the creepiest film villain of of all time. Josh Brolin, Tommy Lee Jones, and Kelly Macdonald all turn in spectacular performances as well, and the film really couldn't have been cast any better.
This film rightfully deserved all of the awards it won, and it will forever go down as being one of the greatest achievements by The Two-Headed Director.
While hunting in the Texas desert, a young mid-west cowboy (Josh Brolin) comes across a botched drug deal and decides to snatch a satchel of cash. Unknowingly, there are bigger things at work here and his foolish decision attracts the attention of a relentless hitman (Javier Bardem) who has been sent to recover the money. As bodies begin to pile in their wake, a local Sheriff (Tommy Lee Jones) has the duty of hunting them down.
To foreshorten the opening lines of this film and give an insight from the disillusioned protagonist Sheriff Ed Tom Bell, we are told "... the crime you see now, it's hard to even take its measure. It's not that I'm afraid of it. I always knew you had to be willing to die to even do this job. But, I don't want to push my chips forward and go out and meet something I don't understand. A man would have to put his soul at hazard. He'd have to say, "O.K., I'll be part of this world."" Sheriff Bell is at a loss to explain human behaviour and the evil actions of people that he has pursued throughout his career in law enforcement. He is the weary heart and soul of this movie and a character that Tommy Lee Jones can do in his sleep. He serves as one part of three characters whose lives explosively intersect. The others include; Llewelyn Moss (Josh Brolin) a foolish young man who doesn't quite grasp the enormity of his actions, which in turn, attract the attention of very disturbed and dangerous killer Anton Chigurh (Javier Bardem) - who makes decisions on the flip of a coin and wields a hydrolic cattle gun as a weapon. Cleverly, the Coens have them sharing very little (if any) screen time and Jones' Sherrif always two steps behind the aftermath of destructive events.
As always, the Coens are at the top of their game and have a good grasp on this adaptation of Cormac McCarthy's novel. They capture his recurrent themes; isolation, the passing of time and changing epoch's. In "The Road" McCarthy explored a post-apocalyptic change. In this, it's the end of the western way of life and despite life-experienced characters, a lack of understanding in the reasons for it's happening. Throughout their films they have delivered consistent moments of suspense. Here though, they outdo themselves with regular scenes of unbearable tension (done without the use of music). The actors are all up to the task and despite Lee Jones and the Oscar winning Bardem receiving most of the plaudits, Brolin also delivers an absolutely solid, low-key performance. No Coen brothers review would be complete without mentioning the sublime talents of their regular cinematographer Roger Deakins. Yet again, his stark and beautiful camerawork compliments the barren landscapes that these characters roam. As always, his and the Coens' vision complete one another. One of the brothers' finest films and thoroughly deserving of its best picture and director(s) Oscar awards.
If you're aware of the Coen brothers' canon (and most filmgoers are) then combine "Fargo" and "Blood Simple" and this is what you get... only better. A very gripping and powerful neo-western.
Ed Tom Bell: If it ain't, it'll do till the mess gets here.
"There Are No Clean Getaways"
I must have been a fucking moron. When I first viewed this movie a few years back, I thought it was overrated. But not only did I think it was overrated; I also thought it was boring and in the end not that good. Like I said, I must have been a fucking moron. Not only is this movie not bad, it may be the Coen's best film. I don't know that it's my favorite from them, but goddamn it is one hell of a film.
While out hunting Llewelyn stumbles upon a bunch of dead bodies, a lot of drugs, and a lot of cash. He winds up with the cash, which a psychopath wants back. He is chased all around Texas by the guy. Now when I say psychopath, this character may be one of the better examples ever put on film. Anton Chigurh is one of the best written villains I have ever seen. Everything from his terrible haircut to his air gun is so well thought out. It's just a creepy and all around terrifying character.
As a huge fan of just about everything the Coen's have ever done, I decided to check this one out again. And thank God I did. It's got everything that makes the Coen's so great. My favorite thing about it though is how the violence is used. Sometimes they show us the kills and other times they don't. With movies like this, you expect the chase to lead up to a standoff in which one man wins. Well, the Coen's aren't going to simplify things like that. In fact, the selling point for many movies isn't even shown in No Country For Old Men. You've gotta fucking love it.
The acting across the board is spectacular. Javier Bardem does a terrific job in a menacing, almost lifeless role. Josh Brolin is at his best. Tommy Lee Jones is Tommy Lee Jones, and Woody Harrelson is just as good as you'd expect in a limited time on screen. The actors all do an extremely good job at playing their characters perfectly, and since the characters are written so well, the combination ends up being about as perfect as you could ask for.
Deserves every bit of praise it got upon it's release, and every award it won. When it comes to watching movies that come as close to perfection as possible anymore, the Coen's are the way to go. There is no way to beat the feeling of watching a Coen brothers film. You know that feeling you have after watching one of the best movies you've ever seen. Yeah I feel like that right now. Just like I did after Lebowski, and Fargo, and O, Brother Where Art Thou, and Barton Fink, and Miller's Crossing. Filmmakers just don't come any better.
On all levels, "No Country for Old Men" is outstanding. Cinematography is rightfully picture-perfect and marvelous. The cast all across the board are phenomenally superb. Javier Bardem -- easily surpasses the complexities and interest than Heath Ledger's Joker. YES I said it. And wow, the screenplay is extremely simplistic but richly innovative. And who could blame the direction? It's apparently obvious that there are disciplined and deft hands and minds that directed this masterpiece.
"No Country for Old Men" plays out much like a R-rated silent movie; viewers are expected to observe the settings and expect to make predictions on what the character's are thinking at the moment and seeing them played out afterwards. It's an incredibly immersive approach that truly sucks viewers in, whereas 95% of other movies nowadays must explain the character's actions through obviously blatant dialogue that is purposely placed there ONLY to fill in the audience's questions. It's truly unique and captivating to have such involvement with a film. For this alone, "No Country for Old Men" is a must watch.
Man, when the action racks up, its brimming with rich and dark tension that's extremely nerve-racking. It exudes tension. You're gonna be sitting there at the edge of your seat, frozen and waiting for the character's next move, all in the dark shadows of silence. This is something to behold: There's no music to be heard throughout the entire experience but yet the pacing is absolutely perfect. You're there at the scene of the crime. You won't look at thrillers the same way again. Easily one of the best scenes in cinema history is the gas station scene.
As you can probably tell, "No Country for Old Men" is a dark, silent, and mesmerizing movie. "There are no clean getaways". After watching this movie, that's for sure -- I ain't gonna see movies the same way again. "No Country for Old Men" is a masterpiece.