No Country For Old Men Review

by Ed Lau on February 15, 2008

No Country For Old Men, Javier Bardem, Tommy Lee Jones, Josh Brolin

I know what you’re thinking.

“How the heck do I take the guy with the He-Man haircut seriously?!” While I would honestly agree with you regarding just about any other grown man still sporting a sort of bowl cut…you won’t be laughing at it long as the Coen brothers and Javier Bardem have crafted one of the most chillingly frightening villains in movie history. Although I wouldn’t quite put him in the league of Hannibal Lecter as some critics have, he comes rather close and the character of Anton Chigurh will have you captivated with his twisted and depraved charisma each time he is on screen.

No Country For Old Men is a film adaptation of a novel by Cormac McCarthy. After a bit of dialogue from Tommy Lee Jones over scenic shots of some dustbowl area of the United States, the film begins with powerful and disturbing scene between Chigurh and a random patrol officer. I like to think I have a rather strong stomach and there are few times I’ve had to look away from the screen in any movie but it was hard to keep my eyes fixed for this one. It wasn’t so much the violence as the expression on Chigurh’s face that just made my lunch want to come back the way it came.

No Country For Old Men, Javier Bardem, Tommy Lee Jones, Josh Brolin

The movie then shifts to Llewelyn Moss, a Vietnam veteran who just seems to be in the wrong place at…well, it might be the right time depending on how you look at it. Moss, played by Josh Brolin, stumbles upon a number of cars in the desert strewn with corpses, drugs and a suitcase with $2 million dollars. The main story has Moss trying to make sure no one finds him with the cash even though Chigurh is hot on his trail. Following Chigurh’s trail of grisly murders, some done with a cattle stungun, is Sheriff Tom Bell, played by Tommy Lee Jones.

No Country For Old Men, Javier Bardem, Tommy Lee Jones, Josh Brolin

The plot twists and turns but has that basic formula. Everyone seems like they were made for the role they play. Okay, so it’s not a particular stretch to see Jones as the sheriff or Brolin as a working-class cowboy type but they deliver their dialogue and mannerisms perfectly. The real star of the show is Bardem, who deserves some serious recognition this year at the Oscars. Once you take a look at his ridiculous haircut, you’ll know it took it very special performance to make him a serious assassin. He’s just so despicable, evil and sinister that you can’t help thinking he’s almost some kind of parody. You feel the sense of satisfaction he gets from his victim’s discomfort and fear.

The film also benefits from a superb supporting cast, including Woody Harrelson as Carson Wells and Kelly MacDonald as Carla, Moss’ wife.

One thing I seriously loved about the movie is it’s soundtrack. While most people say No Country For Old Men lacks a soundtrack entirely, this really isn’t the case. It is hard to tell sometimes but there is some very subtle, almost just ambient noise, music in the background of some scenes. However, the most powerful sound in the movie is…dead silence. The lack of sound and music brings the movie to a whole different level of tension, where every sound affects the mood and excitement of the scenes. The crackling of a candy wrapper, the unscrewing of a light bulb, an electronic beep…they’ve never sounded this significant before. While some folks may not enjoy this movie, no one can say it didn’t make their heart pound as they observed the eerie silence.

No Country For Old Men, Javier Bardem, Tommy Lee Jones, Josh Brolin

Of course, No Country For Old Men isn’t for everyone. Honestly, I didn’t like the ending and felt it was a bit too long even though the somewhat useless scenes involved some very funny and witty dialogue. The plot is a bit convoluted and the viewer may be left feeling a little unsatisfied and empty after watching it. It somehow succeeds in being too long and feeling abrupt and disjointed at the same time. It’s far from a bad movie. It’s quite a good one and probably better than many box office hits this year. However, that being said, I think it could have been a much better one (although that probably wouldn’t have been true to the minimalistic source material). As it is, this is simply a fantastic character study and worth watching for the performances of the cast alone.

Verdict: 7.5 out of 10.

in Entertainment

{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Tej Kohli August 14, 2010 at 7:24 am

I saw this movie the Villon of this movie done its role very well .. but I found that the end is not complete , Because there is no solution is find at the end and one more thing that the name is film is too much differ what the story and character plays roles

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