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No Country For Old Men is a Cohen Brothers movie based on the Cormac McCarthy novel; yes, he who wrote The Road.....
Alarm bells surely should have rang at this point but I like Big Lewbrowski and this film was both highly acclaimed and compared to Fargo, which I thought a great film! Surely it couldn't be all bad...especially with the likes of Tommy Lee Jones and Josh Brolin onboard?
I mean its not awful but well..........
Brolin is out hunting when he finds a group of cars and trucks parked in a circle along with lots of bodies. He also discovers $2 million sealed in a case. With no one about, Brolin decides to keep the money but it is part of a drugs deal gone wrong and the owners want it back....badly! When hitman, Javier Bardem comes after Brolin, he goes on the run beginning a deadly game of cat and mouse. But Brolin is also being pursued by local sherrif, Tommy Lee Jones, and Bardiem is being hunted by his own nemesis in the guise of Woody Harrelson, his competition!
The best thing about this film apart, from the darkness of its setting and tone, is Javier Bardem! With his bowl-cut hairstyle and his lazy-day stride, he comes across as non-threatening and more than a little bit strange. But as he soon as he starts speaking, flipping a coin Two-Face style to decide his victim's fate, you know this is a guy you don't want bto be messing with! Armed with a cattle gun, his weapon of choice, he takes no crap and will not stop until he meets his objective! The cattle gun is an awesome weapon and I am only surprised no one has used it before. Bardiem here uses it not just to kill but also to blow locks out of doors. Working on air compression, the gun is virtually silent and the first time it shoots a lock clean across a hotel room is simply amazing!
Apart from this, the rest of the film is a crock! The final scene makes no sense; there is no sense of closure when things come to an end and nothing is really settled in a satisfying way! Overall the feeling I was left with most of all watching this was disappointment!
Right from the start this film really begins to build tension. It is just a shame that it never gathers enough momentum to keep going and eventually fizzles out!
For me, this was a firm no. I didn't really enjoy it save for a few scenes here and there and I thought much of the cast were wasted. Another to possibly avoid then.....
An awards-laden turn by the Coen brothers. Rather than the standard avenues or predictable high streets of many film efforts, the Coens' films are like sprawling landscapes, with an unclear route through, overlapping hills on the horizon, unexpected dips, and the occasional hillock jutting up here and there. Their films often need to be seen more than once to absorb them entirely and hoover up every subtle detail (eg. Fargo, O Brother Where Art Tho, The Big Lebowski.)
No Country is another very Coen-like piece, its collection of weird, wonderful and down-right scary characters are inter-linked by a big bag of money (mirrored in the likes of Fargo, Lebowski et al). Quietly cool hunter Llewelyn (Josh Brolin - nailing the resourceful hero routine perfectly) stumbles across a pot of cash. Unfortunately for him, an equally quietly cool hunter Anton (Javier Bardem, like a warped toy lion with his mane patted down) would like to get the cash back, only this hunter is morally devoid and a tad insane. He also carries round a big air-gun type thing, useful for blowing locks off doors, and brains out of heads. Following the trail of bodies is wizened sheriff Ed (Tommy Lee Jones, echoing his turn in 2006's Three Burials and sporting massive ear lobes). It could be a straight forward cat n' mouse escapade, but the Coens chuck in curve ball after curve ball to keep the plot fresh, and with an expanse of set pieces so large that you probably really do need to watch it all over again just to recall everything that happens.
The stand-out character is immediately Anton Chigurh. He is violence personified; unstoppable, destructive, without mercy. All the while sporting a gas canister and a bizarre hair-do. The violence is brutal without being too showy. It's the aftermath that the Coens prefer to hone in on, and the close-up view of a shot gun wound being cleaned out is enough to make you wincingly shuffle in your seat. That's not the only time you'll be doing the old seat-shuffle, though. No Country is peppered with terrific scenes, with tense "waiting for the pounce" moments, gripping duels set over a myriad of corners and cars to hide behind, and a dog-v-man swimming race that's both hilarious and also downright terrifying. Tommy Lee's sheriff brings an aspect of calm to the proceedings, as well as some of the comedy punches that are littered throughout.
Despite the comedy, this is a dark film overall, with sombre closing thoughts (humans have always been, and will always be, violent to each other. Hurray!) and a running time and scope that will take some time to digest.
This film was very strange, the story is about a man called Llewelyn Moss who comes across some money that has been left near a some dead bodies. The dead people are all drug runners who ended up killing each other when something goes wrong. Llewelyn goes on the run with the money but is followed by the really weird psychopath Anton Chigurh who you find will kill anybody and everybody who gets in his way.
I found the character of Anton Chigurh really scary, you would be scared out of your mind if he was after you. Javier Bardem who played him was excellent in the part. This must be one of the most disturbing characters I have come across in a film. You could feel you skin prickling everytime you knew he was near to attacking someone.
Josh Brolin plays Llewelyn Moss and he really played the character well, you could see how frightened he was and the state he was getting into trying to avoid the psycho
Tommy Lee Jones is really good as well as the cop Ed Tom Bell who is on the look out for Llewelyn at first thinking it is him doing the murders.
I think this film is really good, it keeps you watching right through and the story is excellent if a bit disturbing.
Also appearing in the film are -
Woody Harrelson - Carlson Wells
Kelly MacDonald - Carla Jean Moss
Garret Dillahumt - Wendell
Tess Harper - Loretta Bell
Barry Corbin - Ellis
The film is directed by the Coen Brothers Ethan and Joel. It is rated a 15 in the UK and it lasts for 122 minutes.
This review is also published on Shopping.com under my user-name Harveydog
This is how you make a film. This is superb, and is just about the Coen brothers' best film. Based upon the book by Cormac McCarthy, this is a fabulous mix of very subtle drama and thrills. As with nearly all of McCarthy's work, this is very dark and brooding and rather than rely on thrills and quick action, it's very methodical and paced. So if you're looking for a fast paced action thriller, this isn't it. This is very measured and the pace relates to the moment.
Essentially, it is a story questing and understanding life and the perception that each individual has on it depending on the choices made at any time..
There are three main characters. Llewelyn (Josh Brolin), and is a Veteran and a decent man. Anton (Javier Bardem), is the man on Llewelyn's trail and then there is the Sheriff (Tommy Lee Jones) who is trying to make sense of the mess.
Llewelyn is a man who whilst out hunting chances upon a Drug deal gone wrong, finding a large amount of money in a car. He also finds a man who is still alive and in need of help. Leaving the man, Llewelyn takes the money and runs. However, deciding the decent thing to do is to help the man, he goes back with water. The man is dead, but now Llewelyn has been seen by others who want the money and must go on the run.
We are then introduced to Anton, who is the manifestation of pure evil, and measure everything by a 50/50 chance of flipping a coin. He is hired to find the money at all costs, the deal essentially being that Llewelyn's death will be painless and his girlfriend will live. He does whatever it takes, often resorting to extreme violence in nothing but a calm manner, as he doesn't care.
The Sherrif is the man assigned to the case who must try and make sense of it all. However, in all his career he has seen nothing as senseless as this, and in many ways he can't solve the case or help anyone because he can't make sense of it.
The point of this film is to analyze how each man feel about his own life, and how he measures it. Llewelyn's character is after money, and he measures his life and success by how much money he has, hence why when he finds the money he does what he can to keep it, rather than just leave it.
Anton's character measures life by 50/50 chance. He thinks this is the fairest way of measuring life. If you've had a chance and blown it, you don't get another one. But if you can win the bet, then you can go on.
The Sheriff measures his success and life by what he can understand. The more he understands, the more successful he feels.
The acting, the directing and the writing are faultless and this really is something that needs to be watched.
But it is very subtle at times, and needs a lot of attention to be understood.
The ultimate meaning of this film, is perhaps there is no meaning in anything we do, and we just create it to feel validified.
"You don't understand. You can't make a deal with him. Even if you gave him the money he'd still kill you. He's a peculiar man. You could even say that he has principles. Principles that transcend money or drugs or anything like that. He's not like you. He's not even like me."
Set in the sprawling desert landscape of 1980s Texas and based on the novel of the same name by Cormac McCarthy, No Country For Old Men is an intriguing film that straddles various genres including western, thriller, horror, film noir and black-comedy and produces a tight, tense assault on the senses.
Llewelyn Moss (Josh Brolin) is a Vietnam vet living a modest life in the Wild West. An early scene depicts him hunting animals; however quickly the hunter becomes the hunted when he makes a life-changing decision with potentially disastrous consequences. After stumbling upon the scene of a drug-deal gone wrong, he makes a mistake that he will live to regret; finding over $2m in cash he decides finders-keepers is the policy to adopt and so takes the money.
Unfortunately, he reckons without Anton Chigurh (Javier Bardem), a character best described as the devil incarnate, who will stop at nothing to get the money back. Sporting a haircut almost as terrifying as his murderous personality, Chigurh embarks on a quest with Terminator-like ruthlessness to find the loot and kill Moss for the inconvenience of the chase. Leaving a trail of destruction and corpses behind him, you get the impression he's not a chap to take no for an answer.
Always one step behind is plodding Sheriff Bell (Tommy Lee Jones). Nearing retirement, his dual purpose is to save Moss from this mess and to put Chigurh back where he belongs. A world-weary, crumpled character, he seems out of his depths in a world in which he no longer understands; The old west of his youth with it's wagons and cowboy hats giving way to a country of drugs and gangs. Will he succeed or will he discover this really is no country for old men?
Unlike many book adaptations, No Country For Old Men sticks with glue-like tenacity to the original plot. Much of the dialogue is repeated verbatim. Ethan Coen (co-director alongside his brother Joel) described the screen-writing process as follows: "One of us types into the computer while the other holds the spine of the book open flat". Despite this, some familiar themes from previous Coen brother's works come through; fate and free-will. The brother's manage to impart their unique sense of style upon an interesting and thought-provoking narrative.
The novel steers clear of common genre conventions and by following the plot so closely, the film produces a similarly original feel. Because of this, No Country For Old Men may not work for everyone; don't expect to have it all gift-wrapped with a bow at the end, with all loose-ends nicely tied-up and everyone getting exactly what they deserve. Essentially, it is a film without a moral compass and in that way it deconstructs the Western genre that it most closely fits.
In a film in which the key characters spend so much time in isolation and with such sparse dialogue, the performances of the lead actors are particularly demanding. Here, the three key players all perform masterfully, providing a sense of realism, atmosphere and style.
Chigurh in particular is a deliciously monstrous creation; a villain lacking in any humanity or empathy. Armed with a plethora of weapons including a pressurised air canister which he uses in equal measures to knock locks off of doors and brains out of people's heads, Chigurh could be said to be an amalgamation of various movie villains and yet manages to be completely original. With a deadpan delivery and lack of empathy, there is something of Hannibal Lector about him, though his random nature and belief in fate bring to mind either the Joker or Two-Face from the Dark Knight.
When casting for the character, the Coen brothers were looking for someone "who could have come from Mars" and his Cell Block H/Bride of Frankenstein hair-do, denim jacket and alligator-skin shoes do provide a feeling of otherworldliness. Quite deliberately, there is no sense of identification with this bizarre character.
He has no back-story, no reason behind his character, he just is. Some have speculated that he is intended to represent Death; random, heartless, unstoppable. This may also account for the main perceived failing in the plot - the fact that Chigurh embarks upon this one-man killing spree with little intervention from any kind of police-force. Whatever he may represent, he is the dark heart of the film; a malevolent spectre with no redeeming qualities.
Moss may be something of an anti-hero but, compared to his dark pursuer, this dusty-booted cowboy is whiter than the angel Gabrielle. His lack of judgment and greed may be failings on his part, but it's easy to sympathize with this guy with the devil on his back. It is a powerful performance of a desperate character trying to regain some sense of control. The scenes with his wife show the depth of feeling between the two even if he unintentionally puts her life at risk.
The real star of the show however has to be Tommy Lee Jones. When looking for someone to play Sheriff Bell the Coens were looking for "the soul of the movie and also, in a fundamental way, the region is so much a part of Sheriff Bell, so we needed someone who understood it". They found the perfect man in Tommy Lee Jones, Texan to the core, who's subtle, world-weary, craggy performance and demeanour encapsulates both the movie and the landscape the characters inhabit. An old-timer in which the world has moved on, Bell says, for me, possibly the most significant line in the film; ""Once 'Sir' and 'Ma'am' have left the vocabulary, it's inevitable what follows." It is an old fashioned and quaint point of view that displays both his helplessness and his lack of understanding at the changing world.
Honourable mentions must also go to Kelly Macdonald as Carla Jean Moss, Llewelyn Moss' wife and Woody Harrelson as Carson Wells, a bounty hunter hired to recover the drug money.
Scottish actress Macdonald, as Texan as a polar-bear, was a bizarre choice but captures the nuances of her character perfectly. Her accent is flawless and she displays an inner strength and gritty determination that the audience can't help but admire.
The always excellent Harrelson plays a smug character full of bravado and provides a touch of comic relief. An aquaintance of Chirgugh, he knows the man better than anyone else in the film; when he's asked if he's danherous his reply is "compared to what? The buobonic plague?"
NCFOM is, it has to be said, very much a love-it or hate-it type of film. With a similar feel to The Assassination of Jesse James, it is a tense, atmospheric piece that, despite all the action, could be described as dreary in places with its lack of dialogue and vast, barren landscapes. The feel is very much downbeat, the impression of Chigurh as an unstoppable killing machine hunting his prey is unshakable. You want to hope for Moss, but it's a desperate hope.
This is a clever, well-crafted, atmospheric tale full of symbolism and hidden meaning. The, barren landscapes along with the deserted streets give the film an apocalyptic feel as do the minimal use of dialogue and music. It points the way to a grim future in which all the rules of the world we know have crumbled to dust.
It is interesting that the both the main hero and the main villain in the film have almost identical scenes. At separate points in the film, both are injured and offer money to teenagers to borrow their shirts to cover up the blood stains. The children give their shirts to Chigurh willingly enough, indeed reluctant to accept the amount of money he is offering. A different set of children are slightly more reluctant to offer the shirt to Moss; being slightly older and more cynical you wonder if they are going to help him or mug him. This goes to show the random nature of the film; good or evil, both are treated the same with fate offering no favours to either.
Similarly, the best scene in the film involves Chigurh and a gas station proprietor. Chigurh asks the unfortunate guy to call heads or tails, explaining that he stands to win "everything". His view on fate comes across when he talks about the date on the coin; "1958. It's been traveling twenty-two years to get here. And now it's here. And it's either heads or tails. And you have to say." The scene is thick with tension as the guy calls for his life. The fact that Chigurh shows no emotion makes it all the more eerie; to him it's all down to destiny and he is just an agent of fate, no more responsible for the murder than the coin.
This is a film full of desperate tension, bloody violent action, car crashes, shoot outs and chases. Yet, despite this it is a deep and symbolic film that asks as many questions as it answers. It is an intriguing piece that I would highly recommend for anyone who enjoys watching something a little bit different.
Almost universally critically acclaimed, NCFOM scooped three BAFTAs, two Golden Globes and four Academy Awards (Best Picture, Director, Adapted Screenplay and Supporting Actor for Javier Bardem
Rotten Tomatoes 95%
Metacritic Users 6.9/10 Critics 91%
Released - 2007
Film length - 122 mins
After seeing his new hairstyle for the role, Bardem reportdly said "I'm not going to be laid for three months"
Brolin broke his collarbone in a motorcycle accident shortly before filming began and was only allowed to continue when he and his doctor lied about the extent of the injury,
The bulk of the film was shot in Las Vegas, Tommy Lee Jones convinced the Coen brothers to shoot some scenes on location in Texas.
In the novel, Sheriff Bell says the drug-dealers "shot and killed a federal judge" in San Antonio. In 1979, a year previous to the film's setting, Federal Judge John Howland Wood was killed by a Texan cotract killer named Charles Harrelson. Actor Woody Harrelson (Carson Wells in the movie) is his son.
No Country For Old Men...and no film for young children or the squeamish. Apart from a couple of strong swear words, this is a fairly violent film, with wounds occasionally shown in detail.
Widely available for £5 or less in many shops and on Amazon
About 40 minutes worth in all:
A "making of documentary", "Working with the Coens" and "Diary of a Country Sheriff". Despite being fairly short they're quite comprehensive and give a good insight into the movie if that's what floats your boat.
Action-packed yet subtle, violent yet thought-provoking this is a stylish piece of work by the Coen brothers. There is a feeling of impending doom throughout the film; watching it gives the elemental feeling of an on-coming storm. Sheriff Bell , is the calm centre, Chigurh the storm itself, uncaring, ruthless and unstoppable.
Not a film for everyone NCFOM is shadowy, bleak and oppressive. With an undercurrent of hopelessness and desperation it serves to show some dark and uncomfortable truths; the world has changed, and there's nothing we can do about it. It is brutal, dealing with evil in an honest way and highlighting the futility of trying to understand it, let alone fight it.
Personally, I see it as an American classic, a masterpiece. It has been called a "perfect" film and it's easy to see why; there isn't a wasted shot, a wasted scene, a wasted note of music or a wasted word. This is a film that breaks genre stereotypes and becomes something so much more; one of the classics of the decade.
"Whatcha got ain't nothin new. This country's hard on people, you can't stop what's coming, it ain't all waiting on you. That's vanity."
Any cinephile will soon learn the three act structure that countless movies follow. The first act introduces the character, the second the story, and the third the conclusion. So many generic films have a story arc that is so obvious that you can almost set your watch by them. Why do Hollywood blockbusters have to have a kissing scene between the male and female lead around 60 minutes in? So often theses characters have no chemistry and the kiss comes from nowhere - it's just what always happened. You have to look towards the indie market for films that do not follow the three act structure, but even then regular film watchers will pick up indie clichés. Was 'No Country for Old Men' the outstanding picture that Academy suggested it was, or a pretentious twaddle?
When laid back cowboy Moss stumbles across a drug deal gone wrong in the middle of the desert he does not call the police, but takes the money and walks away. Who could possibly discover him when all the witnesses have killed one another? Unfortunately, he did not count on the owners of the money hiring the resilient psychopath Anton, who will do anything to get the job done. Perhaps the only person who can help Moss is local Sheriff Bell whose days in law enforcement are almost up. Who will come out of this situation with the money, and who will come out alive?
'No Country' was the darling of many award ceremonies back in 2008 winning 4 Oscars including best film and best director. However, as the likes of 'Chicago' and 'Titanic' show, this does not automatically make a film decent. With the painful memories of former Oscar winning films like this in mind, it took me a while to get around to watching 'No Country' as I feared that it would be all hype. Unfortunately, I feel that I was right to be worried, as the film was nowhere near as good as people have suggested.
After about 10 minutes I felt that I had a handle on the film and knew were it was going. I confidently turned to the others watching the film with me and made a couple of bold statements that I believed would happen during the film. I was perfectly correct. 'No Country' is an indie film by the number that hit many beats that other films have already played. The difference is that with an indie film many people have not seen many of them, so when one breaks out it appears fresh. I felt that 'No Country' was a dry film that was slow and plodding just to make a point. It planned to shock me with various incidents and perhaps establish different characters as heroes or anti-heroes than you would at first suspect. Unfortunately, I did suspect, and by being so contrary, to what is established film making, the Coen brothers have actually made something that is itself lifeless.
The analytical style of the Coen brothers has always been a sore point for me and I have found that many of their films fall flat. Only the likes of 'Raising Arizona' and 'The Big Lebowski' actually entertained me. Their drab and cynical direction sucks any joy out of their films. They appear to want to over intellectualise everything and exclude any lovers of fun. This is exactly what happened with 'No Country' with its plodding pace and cold colour palette. The shocks and violence had no impact on me as I have seen the likes of 'A History of Violence' which pulls a similar trick to a far better degree.
As a group of actors the likes of Josh Brolin, Javier Bardem and Tommy Lee Jones do a decent job. But, perhaps Jones is the quintessential problem with the film. He is an actor who exudes a dry detachment, as if he would rather be anywhere than on screen. Personally, I do not want a group of superior feeling film makers to try and belittle me as a viewer. The story is a deceptively simple one and the slow pace created by the Coens means that when you analyse the film, not much actually happens. I have never claimed to be a deep thinker, so when a film supposedly relies on you imbuing your own conclusions into it, you are onto a loser with me.
I realise that many people will disagree with my downbeat opinion of 'No Country for Old Men'. There is no denying that some of the individual scenes are well directed and the cast act well. However, I could not get over the slow pace and the fact that I could see what was happening as the Coens signposted the indie elements of the film far too obviously. What you are felt with is a dull film that does not really go anywhere and forgets to entertain you on the base level that any good film should.
Director: Ethan and Joel Coen
Starring: Josh Brolin, Javier Bardem and Tommy Lee Jones
Price: Amazon uk £4.24
When i first got this movie i was very excited to watch it as i had heard that it had received multiple award wins, critical acclaim and had heard many good things about it.
However after watching the movie i was very disappointed. It left me with a feeling of disappointment and nothingness. I felt the story was confusing, it did not flow and it was badly adapted for film.
One good thing that i can say about this movie is i think that the actors in their various roles were all cast superbly and they all portrayed their various characters in a fantastic way. The setting and the scene which were painted were also good.
I think it was a shame, I know many people have watched this movie and said it was fantastic but the group of people whom i watched it with all felt the same way about it. The potential for a great movie is there it was just missing a certain spark and flow which it needed.
I'll be honest up front here, but I didn't "get" this film. I know that film critics raved about it on release, and that it's won numerous awards, but after watching it I was left with the feeling you get when, gagging for a brew, you open the fridge door to find that your flatmate has used all the milk. Disappointment. However, in the interests of fairness, I will try to give a fair and unbiased review of the film. (Until the end, where I will let rip).
A mass murder scene is discovered in the desert by the main character whilst out hunting. Amongst the bodies and shot up pickup trucks, he finds a trail of blood leading to a dead man under a tree. Next to this dead man is a briefcase full of money - 2 million dollars' worth. It appears like there was a Mexican gang drug deal which had gone wrong. No puns about a Mexican standoff.
He takes the case full of money back home. Unknown to him, the case contains a radio tracker. Following the tracker is a hitman, more ruthless than a flu epidemic in a nursing home. The hitman leaves a trail of death as he hunts for the case, using interesting weaponry including a compressed air tank to shoot the locks out of doors and a shotgun with the biggest silencer attached ever seen - looks good, if not far fetched.
I wont spoil the ending by saying if our main character gets away with the money, all I will say is that there probably wont be a sequel!
Right, thats the fair bit out of the way, so I'll say now that this film is weird. The plot has more holes than a strippers tights and the ending left me in the sort of mood where you could quite happily kick the screen of your television in. God only knows how frustrating to read the book must be, there are more unanswered questions than an interview with a man who has memory loss and a gag on his mouth, and even that is probably a bit of an understatement.
Spend your money on something more useful instead, like a chocolate fire guard or an inflatable dart board - I beleive Amazon does good deals on these.
This film is possibly the worst ever to win the Best Picture Oscar. It is self indulgent, pretentious, over inflated nonsense, that for some reason had the critics fawning over it.
Most people will probably have seen the film by now, so I'm sorry I couldn't warn you away sooner. I have just caught up with it, having somehow missed it originally.
This film does have some good points, the tension at times is almost stifling, the acting is fine, and the set pieces are well done, but this is all ruined throughout the film due to overly long monologues of incomprehensible drivel. There are long periods where nothing seems to happen, and apart from the Josh Brolin character nobody is worth even caring about.
SPOILERS COMIMG UP...
What on earth happend to the last half an hour of this film, it is so annoying, it is like the Coen brothers spent so long crafting this pile of bile that they couldn't spend any time on the end. Can anybody shed any light on the following...Why after following the cat and mouse goings on of the main character were we not allowed to see how he died, having seen how crafty he was I felt robbed of not seeing how he got caught, and did the killers get away with the money? Seeing as he had successfully kept it hidden up to that point, who knows? What was the point of the Woody Harrelson character? He starts off telling us how he is more than a match for Anton Chigurh then turns up an promptly gets himself killed. What?? Did Llewelyn's wife survive or not? What the hell was the sheriff talking about in the final scene? I know open ended storylines keep the audiences guessing but this is just annoying.
I am by no means a mainstream movie goer, I like indie/arthouse films and indeed I might have been a bit less critical of this film had it been a small, low budget flick, but it is not, as it won best picture this denotes that it is the best picture released that year. This is just a ridiculous notion.
Don't bother wasting your time.
A drug deal goes wrong in middle Texas and Llewelyn Moss (Josh Brolin) stumbles across the scene and finds 2 million US dollars that he decides to take. As you can imagine, 2 million dollars is not something that won't be missed and as such, Llewelyn becomes a hunted man and gets embroiled in a cat and mouse chase with a hitman (javier Bardem) from who he is constantly on the run.
From Joel and Ethan Coen and from the pen of Cormac McCarthy, this is a tense, dark thriller. The Coen's produce a great deal of suspense and quirky characters none more so than the chillingly terrifying Bardem who must be one of the most enigmatic killers in recent cinema. Brolin is excellent as the Redneck chancer and plays understatedly throughout.
There are also 2 wonderful turns by Tommy Lee Jones as the disillusioned sheriff and Woody Harrelson as the bounty hunter helping Llewelyn in exchange for money. Jones is as crumpled and grumpy as always but is perfectly pitched for this role.
The only slight downside for some would be the strange plot directions this takes that may disappoint some looking for a conventional thriller.
I often love to watch a great action movie, even better is a one that involves some depth behind the storyline, as opposed to an all guns blazing catastrophic disaster. I also enjoy seeing various westerns, a genre I greatly respect in film. When I read that 'No Country For Old Men' was a mix of these, I was excited to see the movie, especially as I also read that it was written, produced, and directed by Ethan and Joel, the famous Coen brothers. Although I had a low prior knowledge of the cast, I expected this to be a fabulous film and set about watching it. (I know Tommy Lee Jones, though I was not initially aware he starred in the film)
Two hours passed, and at the end, I was tremendously surprised with what I had just witnessed. I found the whole experience exhilarating to say the least. Not your everyday western, this concept added some much needed modern day upgrades, though kept some aspects true to the old style, in a way which collated the best of both worlds. I should mention now that, as I say western, do not expect to turn on the film to find men with broad accents prancing around chasing cattle through cactus fields and ghost towns on horses. Instead, expect an intense crime thriller, with a more 'elaborate' setting than usual.
A brief plot basis would go something like; A poor husband stumbles across the wreckage of a major Mexican drug deal, where he 'inherits' over $2million out in the wilderness. Unbeknown to him at this point, but the owner of this money is the newly displeased Anton Chigurh (Javier Bardem). To say this is not the man you want to cross is an understatement, as this particular psycho would give Jack 'Here's Johnny' Nicholson a run for his money. Using violence as his tool, he offs on a winding journey which he hopes will lead him to his stack of cash, only to be stopped by the witty Llewelyn Moss (Josh Brolin), who, naturally does not wish do be blown to smithereens in exchange for the money to be returned.
Llewelyn Moss is played by Josh Brolin. This forty one year old previously starred in the 2000 film 'Hollow Man', though having never seen any of his previous works, I had a lot riding on this performance. Nothing short of excellent, I was thoroughly impressed with his breakthrough act (for me). He fit into character perfectly, as he appeared to not need do a lot to give the impression he wasn't acting, thus giving a more real effect to the film.
His nemesis, Chigurh, happened to be the Gran Canaria born Javier Bardem. He has since starred in the 2008 film, Vicky Christina Barcelona, but previous to No Country... he had not really starred in any major films that I can see. Without wanting to copy my views from Brolin, I see no option but to state how perfect he appeared to fit into the role. Just looking at his ghostly figure would give you the creeps. His almost robotic features makes him one scary bad guy, and definitely not the one you want to get on the wrong side of.
There were two actors in the movie that I previously recognised from the cast list. The first was the mega star Tommy Lee Jones. He was perhaps the fourth most important character, and when there wasn't an awful lot of characters included, it is safe to say this was not his best role in his career. Similarly went the fate of Barry Corbin, whom younger readers may otherwise call 'Coach Whitey' from the US television series, 'One Tree Hill'. His small part was not enough to really regard as a stand out performance, though it was nice to see a familiar face on the actors list.
The exciting plot not only keeps you enthralled throughout and constantly keeps you on the edge of your seat, but it also offers a great deal of intelligence behind the screenplay, which can be enjoyed just as much. The acting was fantastic from everybody, and I will certainly be sure to look out for a number of these characters in future performances whatever they may be. Great acting helped this film to become something special, and when you put that talent together with an excellent story, you can easily see why this quadruple Oscar winning performance holds a place as one of the greatest films I have ever seen.
No Country For Old Men is the 2007 crime thriller based on a novel by the same name, by Cormac McCarthy. Adapted for the screen and directed by movie magnates the Coen Brothers this film really is a tour de force. Displaying the Coen's technical ability and proving their worth as artists let alone directors.
The movie itself set against the classicism of Western landscape merges both an old world feel with a contemporary plot and and outstanding script. The cast, it has to be said, are simply sublime and only add to the films gravitas. It is refreshing to see the actors involved, taking on the roles they do and the cinematic experience delivered is superlative. Nominated for a myriad of awards and taking away perhaps some of the most prestigious (3 British Academy of Film awards, 2 Golden Globes and 4 Academy Awards for Best Picture, Best Director (Joel and Ethan Coen), Best Adapted Screenplay and Best Supporting Actor (Javier Bardem). and deservedly so.
I cannot praise this film enough, imagine if when you die St peter stood before you at the pearly gates and asked 'what have you achieved?'... you could not give a comprehensive enough answer having not seen this film. It really is a special and significant piece of work that anyone who even pretends, thinks or believes they know anything about film, must (and please take that 'must' as an imperative) see.
As with many of the Coen Brothers films this one displays similar themes of chance, predestination, free will and fate. The calm choreography and gritty long sequences make for palpable tension and will have bottom muscles twitching as it clings to the edge of your sofa. Unconventionally and quite unusual is the lack of musical score, however this really adds to the sense of cat and mouse dramatics that unfolds. No Country Fo Old Men stands alone in a place many films can only ever dream about getting to, it is raw, hard hitting and remarkably perceptive,
If I were a religious man I would still hold this film in high adoration, in fact if I were a priest I would make sure I had a copy of this film on my alter of just below the feet of christ, looking upon my parish as though it were a guardian.
Please please please do not go and see another terrible film e about love and resolution or happy crashing emotion with pretty rubber faced oiks like Scarlet Johansson, Watch this film, enjoy it and I tell you what you will be blown away...
At this point in their career the Coen brothers had built up a reputation among fans and critics as being among the heavyweights of Film Industry with titles such as 'Fargo', 'The Big Lebowski' and the massively underrated 'Millers Crossing'. And yet, before NCFOM their more recent films had left fans feeling a little empty... a little disapointed shall we say. For instance, 'The Ladykillers' remake. A widely 'poo-poo'd' attempt at regenerating 1955 classis black comedy which frankly stunk as hard as any remake to date, and left yoke all over Joel and Ethan's face.
And yet here i am again, stunned by their utter brilliance as i sit mouth opened at the cinema. No Country for Old Men put them straight back to top and for good reason, this film is a mix of their best and combines aspects from the likes of Blood Simple and Fargo to create a truly impressive experience of film.
The story is pretty simple when it boils down to it. Guy finds money, takes money, gets hunted and gets in a world of trouble because of money. It's an obvious plot that has been modified and played around with in Hollyworld and across the world in cinema for decades, and yet, going back to these roots, and going back to what the coen brother's do best is a reason this film is such a success. A tense thriller wrapped in all the charm, charisma and black humour that make a coen brothers film what it is. Firstly, i thought the cast were all incredible for this film, and although Javier got the Oscar, i was really feeling Josh Brolin's performance as the veteran. The dialougue is as witty and clever as ever with typical coen-esc lines from Josh Brolin ('We dont sell poles without the tents', 'Then i want a Tent', 'Well which one?', 'The one with the most poles...') and the extreme sense of fear that seems to stalk Javier Bardem with his reckless care for Human life. The 'quarter' scene with the shop clerk is one of the best examples of 'edge of your seat' moments in cinema to date, with superb acting you never now what Javier's character is really thinking and how he is going to act to the next thing that comes out of the clerk's mouth, espiecially with his willingness to kill anybody that shows any form of disrespect.
The narrative comes into question alot with this film, its basically split into three parts which shift throughout the film whenether tension builds on what you believe to be the center stage with in interwinding for the finale although none of the narrative is confusing at any point untill the end. Which, i hear from friends and collegues is a dissapointment...dissapointment? i thought it was the best way to end it, but you have to concentrate on the dialogue. For instance, Tommy Lee Jone's character has always been affected by the lengths of violence there are in the world..Ultimately the movie wasnt about who would end up with the money. It was about how Tommy Lee Jones character was unable to cope with the drug problem going on in his town. Therefore the title of the movie, No country for Old Men, Jones being an old man, realizes things have changed and has to retire. Its genius when you think about it, because its human of us to expect the bad guy to be killed or captured in the end, but in this movie he got away. The bad do prosper sometimes, and yet the violence has always been like this, which he can't understand. Being Old, he has no way of standing up to it anymore.
Whatever your take on the ending, the film still delivers action and suspence with a good amount of black comedy and wit thrown in for good measure.
I recall the hype surrounding No Country for Old Men prior to its release, and in thinking of myself as something of a Coen Brothers fan, my expectations were incredibly high. Nevertheless, I felt both exhilarated and short changed simultaneously by this impressive, but somehow underwhelming thriller.
Llewellyn Moss (Josh Brolin) comes across a number of dead bodies and a briefcase of cash near the Rio Grande. He takes the money back to his wife (Kelly Macdonald), and soon enough sends her away on a bus out of fear that drug dealers, or worse, are going to come looking for it. That worse, in fact, is mysterious, Terminator-like villain Anton Chigurh (Javier Bardem) that has been dispatched to recover the money at all costs. He has a curious ethical code that seems to revolve around the notion of chance - he frequently flips a coin to determine whether he will allow people to live or die. Bardem's dead pan performance and bowl-cut hair combine sheer terror with a little humour, and thus it's no surprise that he quite rightly won the Best Supporting Actor Academy Award. Tommy Lee Jones also stars as Tom Bell, and aging Sherrif tasked with solving the trail of bodies left in Chigurh's wake, as well as finding quite where on Earth Moss has gotten off to.
It's a tantalising setup, but it does feel as though the Coens are mocking us a little bit - the pace at times is incredibly slow, notably as Moss hunts a bunch of deer for little reason. Furthermore, the Coens deny the audience a brutal climax of any sort, as though to say, "Oh, you wanted bullets and bloodsheld now?" It's not the best way to ingratiate the audience into liking your film, and whilst there is some taut storytelling and tension throughout, I did find this denial rather self indulgent and even a little pretentious.
Altogether smart, frustrating and intense, The Coen Brothers' 2008 Best Picture winner features their typically snappy dialogue, and a plethora of outstanding performances from Tommy Lee Jones, Josh Brolin, Kelly Macdonald, and most of all, Javier Bardem, whose portayal of brilliant antagonist Anton Chigurgh won him a Best Supporting Actor Oscar. No Country for Old Men has much to say about a world that becomes increasingly more violent, yet it is ultimately not quite as deep as many have claimed.
I had been meaning to watch this film for a while but after seeing the trailer I didn't think this film would be for me, I always saw it as a westeren type of film for some reason and even after buying it I put off watching it thinking I wasn't going to enjoy it, so when I watched it I was surprised at how far this film actually exceeded my expectations.
This film is long, it can be boring to some people perhaps and the whole film is based in one event in the middle of the desert as a cat and mouse chase begins and ultimatly ends.
Javier Bardem is a diamond in this film, a true find (since I had never heard of him before), his character is so dark, misterious and evil that it's heard not to like him in some ways.
At request here is a loose plot of the film, the film starts of as a drug deal gone wrong in the desert, Brolin's character accidently stumbles apon the bodies of mexicans and finds a satchal full on money.
The rest of the film is basically a 3 step process, Brolin running, Bardem chasing and Lee-Jones chasing the pair of them trying to find the money, the pair and the crime.
Which one step wins, i'll leave for people to find out...
An epic drama that has tension crawling through it's veins and will infect you with its intensity.
Brilliant film, brilliant casting and a great plot with very good direction.