No Country For Old Men

With No Country For Old Men, the Coen Brothers make an all-too-welcome return to form, crafting a film that, to my mind, is easily of the same calibre as Fargo, The Big Lebowski or Oh Brother Where Art Thou.

The script is an (apparently, very faithful) adaptation of a Cormac McCarthy novel, and deals with a hunter - Llewelyn Moss (Josh Brolin) - who comes upon a drug deal gone bad, and decides to take the money left at the scene. Unfortunately, sociopathic killer Anton Chigurh (Javier Bardem), armed with his captive bolt pistol, sets out to reclaim the money. Tommy Lee Jones, in a role he seems more suited to play than almost anything else in his career, plays a local sheriff who gets caught up in attempting to keep Moss safe.

The pace of the film is perfect for the tale being told. At times, it is slow and calculated, and barren of dialogue or action. At others, it is so tense, it is like having your heart gently squeezed by a vice. And at some points, the pace is, quite literally breathtaking. I would say I cannot remember the last time I held my breath in the cinema, except I can - Cloverfield. Nonetheless, in points, No Country For Old Men made me feel that I had never been so still in my life.

Another point of note is the fact that there is no score to speak of during the movie. (There are some ambient sounds that play in places, but I know I didn't notice them.) In several places, the absence of music sits just below your conciousness - affecting the mood of the scene, but not in a way that you notice until you notice that it's not there. Wonderful stuff, and it certainly matches the barren landscapes of the film.

In typical Coen Brothers fashion, everything is not tied up in a neat little package by the end. Things happen that we do not want to (just like real life, eh?), and just because someone is likeable or "the good guy" doesn't mean everything works out.

It would be a serious injustice to this film to give it anything less than an A+, so I won't. A+.

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