No Country for Old Men (2007)
The Coen Brothers make gorgeous films. Even the ones with dead bodies have a cinematic beauty to them. No more so than with No Country For Old Men, which also benefits from Roger Deakins stunning cinematography. They’re not afraid of a quizzical title either. I’m sure this one confused many a cinema goer. Damn I miss the cinema. This outing was many people’s introduction to Javier Bardem. He plays Anton Chigurh and he’s what will haunt your dreams for weeks to come. This I think is largely down to his calm almost inhuman performance. It’s compounded by the environment we find ourselves in. One that Llewelyn Moss (Josh Brolin) finds himself in too. He’s a hunter, stalking pray out in a desolate dusty desert. All cowboy hat and boots, until he stumbles across a load of pick up trucks and dead bodies from a drug deal that’s clearly gone very wrong. Everyone’s dead and Moss finds himself with a case full of money and perhaps he should’ve cut and run, gone and had a nice life with his wife Carla Jean (Kelly MacDonald). Moss doesn’t run though and although he’s good intentions, finds himself being hunted. Hunted by, yep you guessed it Anton... and you do it want to be anything by Anton. Christ even his haircut is terrifying. Now with all this lawlessness, something’s missing. Enter Sheriff Ed Bell (Tommy Lee Jones) who’s gonna hunt hunt them both. This is not a comedy, but Ed’s dry take on life is amusing and will raise a smile. It’s a slow playful sort of hunt. No more so then when Carson Wells (Woody Harrelson) is set after Anton. It’s a chain of people chasing people. Who’s gonna catch who first. Everyone is great, there’s not a beat dropped anywhere... well maybe Harrelson a touch. Bardem though is fantastic. Be it his slow menacing drawl, his dull piercing eyes or the cool as fuck arsenal he employs. The devastating scattergun rifle or of course the brutal cattle gun. You can’t take your eyes of him. The story is simple and you think you know where it’s headed, but if this one thing the Coen’s do well, it’s to make you work a little. You can watch and enjoy the chase, but dig a little deeper and you’ll get the answers to why The Sheriff leaves Anton in the hotel room and why Anton crashes having left Carla Jean refusing to decide her fate over a coin toss. I guess it wouldn’t be a Coen film if it weren’t playing on different levels. I know not everyone likes the ending. I do though. I love it. I’m not sure if it’s my favourite Coen Brothers film, but it’s close.