No Country for Old Men

2007

 

Based on the Cormac McCarthy novel, “No Country for Old Men” is a Western, noir thriller and rural nightmare wrapped into one brilliant masterwork. Sibling filmmakers Joel and Ethan Coen return to form in this brutal, harrowing and ultimately mesmerizing tale of Texas-sized murder and greed.

 

Near the Mexico border, a good ol’ boy named Llewelyn Moss (Josh Brolin) makes a grisly discovery in the middle of nowhere: the bullet-riddled corpses of Mexican drug runners and a briefcase stuffed with $2 million in cash. He promptly takes the bounty home, but later makes the impulsive decision to return to the scene of the carnage.

 

In a breathtakingly suspenseful turn of events “” one of many orchestrated by the Coens “” Llewelyn is ambushed by a band of drug runners armed with assault rifles and a pit bull. But worse, the absconded drug money is being tracked by a professional killer named Chigurh (Javier Bardem), a terrifying psycho who stalks Llewelyn while simultaneously eluding Sheriff Ed Tom Bell (Tommy Lee Jones).

 

The story is as raw as an exposed nerve, but told with a clinical precision that attests to the Coens’ genius. The movie exudes intensity coupled with a palpable sadness, depicting a modern-day West where rugged individualism has morphed into something wholly sinister and deadly.

 

The acting is superb, right down to the smallest bit parts. Brolin, in a breakthrough performance, evokes the spirit of a young Nick Nolte. Bardem, however, is a revelation, and a nightmarish one at that.

 

“”Phil Bacharach

 

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