No Country for Old Men Reviews
The Coen Brothers give us their best movie to date, with an eerie tone that's helped by Roger Deakins gorgeous cinematography, and an underrated performance by Josh Brolin, as well as a creepy one from Javier Bardem.
After a hunter named Llewelyn Moss accidentally stumbles across a drug deal gone horribly wrong, and nearly 2 million dollars in a briefcase, a serial killer named Anton Chigurh follows him in and attempts to get it back, killing anyone who gets in his way. A bounty hunter named Carson Wells is also hired to recover the money. In the meantime, Sheriff Ed Tom Bell oversees the investigation. Violence and mayhem results.
What I loved about Chigurh was that he was able to accomplish all of his tasks without ever showing much pain or effort. He did gruesome murders like it was no big deal. Since he never showed much emotions throughout the movie, this gave me the idea that he knew exactly what he was doing and he wasn't afraid of dying whatsoever. This made his appearance seem very threatening. Also, it was very hard to escape him. Very few people he encountered in the film made it out alive. Most of his victims stood no chance when he killed him. Also, his character was made a lot better by Javier Bardem's amazing performance. Without showing too much emotion, he was able to send a chill down the viewer's spine every time he enters the screen. He has an ominous feeling to him which makes his appearance look unnerving. Bardem terrifies the viewer somewhat in the same way that Anthony Hopkins' from "The Silence of the Lambs" does. I don't think that many actors could do the same as him. What he did is very difficult to do, yet he nailed it perfectly. His Oscar for "Best Actor" was well deserved. Also, many other actors such as Josh Brolin and Tommy Lee Jones gave great performances as well.
Also, this movie has several of the most suspenseful scenes I've ever seen in a film. For example, the coin toss near the middle is, by far, the best one in the film. Chigurh constantly stops all attempts the man in the convenient store does to escape. When he throws the coin, the viewer is left on the edge of their seats to see what will happen. Also, you probably didn't notice the gentle push-in from the camera which raises the tension even more. Another great scene is when Moss is in a hotel, and he suspects that Chigurh is right outside the door. Moss turns the lights out and points his gun at the door to prepare. The calm moments the viewer experiences keeps them on the edge of their seats, because anything can happen at any second. There are many other scenes where the Coen brothers add background noises which inform the viewer that something bad might happen. It could simply be the sound of footsteps, someone flushing a toilet, or a loud phone ring. It could also be when the viewer knows something that a character in the film doesn't. If a character is walking into a room, it could show you a shot to see Chigurh waited for him/her. This is another highly effective technique which works very well too. I can't think of a single movie I've ever watched which made me feel as much suspense as I did in this one.
Around the 90 minute mark, the Coen brothers pull the rug out from under you, and they make a choice which makes the film a whole lot better. It is so unexpected, and it opens the film up to a whole new layer of pros after it leaves a few loose ends in its storyline, making it ambiguous. I am a real enthusiast for ambiguity. I think that it's great to have in films as it gives them more staying power, and it can lead me to discover new things every time I re-watch them. The ambiguous ending in this film seems simple at first. It doesn't seem too impressive at first glance. However, after thinking about it for a little while, I was slowly able to realize how impressive it actually was. It makes you see the film in an entirely new way, and it makes simple action scenes that we witnessed earlier in the film become much deeper. It was interesting how the Coens were able to provide a somewhat unique take on ambiguity. People who criticize its ending and call it disappointing are missing the point. This is a film which has a deeper meaning. It requires you to think. Just because it leaves a couple plot points up to interpretation doesn't make it a weaker film. Ambiguity isn't necessarily a bad thing.
In conclusion, this was a perfect movie. Chigurh was an amazing villain. I feel like he's one of the best modern villains ever, because Javier Bardem knocked it out of the park with him. Also, his calm expressions were terrifying. Chigurh was reminiscent of Dr. Hannibal Lecter. Also, I've felt more tension in this film than any other film I can think of off the top of my head. To top the film off, once the ambiguity is introduced, it allows the viewer to appreciate the film in entirely new ways, and the film becomes very different on re-watches. This is, quite possibly, the best Coen film to date.