2007 • No Country for Old Men

No Country for Old MenBack at the farm in South Dakota on the night after Christmas, Lauren and I were joined by my mom, sister, and brother-in-law for a viewing of the 2007 Best Picture No Country for Old Men, a movie I had seen in the theater when it was new. I still don’t fully understand the title of the movie (or novel that it is based on). My best interpretation is “this is not a country for old men” because of the incessant crime of the younger generations that people like the aging sheriff, Ed Tom Bell, must now face.

No Country for Old Men stars Josh Brolin as Llewellyn Moss, a Texan who stumbles upon a drug deal gone bad and finds and keeps a briefcase with $2 million. Hitman Anton Chigurh, played by Javier Bardem, has been hired to track down Moss, and is able to find him using a transponder hidden in the briefcase. Chigurh follows Moss around Texas and eventually things come to blows with a battle in the street at night. All the while Ed Tom Bell is trying to break the case. Moss has also gotten his wife and her mother involved and is faced with saving their lives or keeping the money, but he attempts in vain to do both.

I think having seen No Country for Old Men once before may have slightly ruined some of the suspense for me, but it still remains a great movie that had me on the edge of my seat as Moss is on the run with Chigurh so close behind. Bardem’s portrayal of Chigurh ranks right up there with Anthony Hopkins as Hannibal Lecter in The Silence of the Lambs as far as creepiest characters go—very well deserving of the Best Supporting Actor award he won. I’d also place No Country right up there with Deer Hunter in terms of excellent movies that left me feeling a little depressed.

This certainly had the feel of a Coen brothers movie, especially comparing Sheriff Ed Tom Bell to Marge in Fargo. The endings of the movies were also pretty similar. No Country leaves us with a scene unrelated to the plot, with Bell retelling a dream to his wife, much like at the end of Fargo where Margie is sitting in bed, congratulating her husband on winning a stamp design contest.

All of the acting was awesome, but Kelly Macdonald as Llewellyn’s wife really stood out to me, especially in the final scene. One of the scenes that had me in most suspense was likely the gas station scene where the old man calls a coin flip for his life.

Anyway, an excellent movie that will rank high on my list.

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