No Country For Old Men

Wow. No Country For Old Men has left me tongue-tied. I don’t even know where to begin. This was truly a superbly intense, well-acted and extremely well-written film. The dialogue was excellent, and that’s why I love the movies: you get to hear people say the coolest shit that no one says in real life. The movie is written and directed by Ethan and Joel Coen (O Brother Where Art Thou), a critically acclaimed pair whose work I’m not terribly familiar with. The only movies I’ve seen that one or both have been associated with are Intolerable Cruelty and a garish old movie called Blood Simple. I’d like to meet their parents, just to see the people who birthed these twisted geniuses.

No Country For Old Men’s plot is simple enough. A drug deal has gone wrong, leaving a band of Mexican drug dealers murdered in the middle of the Texas desert. When a passerby named Llewelyn Moss (Josh Brolin, American Gangster) stumbles upon the human carnage and helps himself to a couple of million dollars, he thinks he’s gotten away with a pretty sweet find. However, I’d like to borrow and slightly alter a quote from Jackie Brown (one of my faves) and point out that 2 million dollars will always be missed. On the trail of the money (and thereby Llewelyn) is Anton Chigurh (pronounced shoo-GAR’), a hired gun, hitman, and assassin – whatever you wanna call him. Homie put the psycho in psychopath; you have never seen anything like this dude. He might be the scariest MF on screen since Hannibal Lecter. Only difference is Chigurh doesn’t eat people. I think he have might have old Lecter beat though…this guy is positively frightening to look at. It doesn’t happen often, but have you ever seen somebody out in public, and they just look scary as hell? Maybe that’s only happened to me, but one time I pulled up to a stop light and looked in the car next to me at its driver and caught a chill. I couldn’t put my finger on it, but the guy just looked scary, and I quickly looked away and didn’t look back. He looked like the type of guy who had something in his trunk, and I don’t mean a spare tire. Chigurh is like that – the type of cat that if you saw in real life, you’d go the other way, trust me. Look at him: He kills at will, savagely resourceful and unstoppable. The movie takes place in 1980, and also stars Tommy Lee Jones (U.S. Marshals) as a lawman in pursuit of Chigurh, trying to reach Llewelyn first. The movie personifies the TX stereotype of “salt of the earth” folks. Lewelyn is a “man’s man” and so is Tommy Lee Jones’ character. They are old school men, the antithesis of the pretty-boy metrosexual. As a matter of fact, Llewelyn almost matches Chigurh in guts and fearlessness, and Josh Brolin deserves an award for his portrayal. Nearly all of the men in this movie are larger-than-life cowboy types who (pardon my French) seem to have brass balls. I don’t think they really make men like that anymore, LOL.

On a more cinematic note, The TX landscape was filmed beautifully, serving as the perfect backdrop to a movie that at times felt like a Western. The movie was filmed in washed-out tones, which illustrated the starkness of it all, from the geography of the desert to the pallor of Chigurh’s skin. Sometimes I see a movie that throws me for a loop and stuns me into speechlessness. It doesn’t happen often, but all I can say about No Country For Old Men is that it was one of those movies that will leave you in awe. It’s ranked #31 in the top 250 movies of all time on IMDB, so take that for what it’s worth. Go see it if you remotely enjoyed any of the following: A History of Violence, Blood Simple, or American Psycho.

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