No Country For Old Men (2007)






THE SCOOP
Director:  Joel & Ethan Coen
Cast: Tommy Lee JonesJavier BardemJosh Brolin, Woody Harrelson, Kelly MacDonald
Plot:  Violence and mayhem ensue after a hunter stumbles upon some dead bodies, a stash of heroin and more than $2 million in cash near the Rio Grande.

Genre:  Crime / Drama / Thriller
Awards:  Won 4 Oscars - Best Picture, Best Director, Best Supporting Actor, Best Adapted Screenplay.  Nom. for 4 Oscars - Best Cinematography, Best Film Editing, Best Sound, Best Sound Editing.  Nom. for Golden Palm (Cannes Film Festival)
Runtime:  122min
Rating:  NC16 for strong graphic violence and some language.

IN RETROSPECT (Spoilers: NO)
Nominated for eight Academy Awards, No Country For Old Men is one of the two front runners for this year's Oscars along with Paul Thomas Anderson's There Will Be Blood.  Head-to-head, the latter emerges the victor.  However, No Country For Old Men is by no means a pushover, giving Anderson's film a genuine run for its money. 

Directed and written for the screen by the immensely gifted Oscar-winning filmmakers Joel & Ethan Coen (Blood SimpleFargo) and based on the Cormac McCarthy novel of the same name, this motion picture is made to win awards in mind.

For their latest masterpiece, the Coens make the decision to stay with their tried-and-tested route, using conservative storytelling and filming techniques that serve the plot well although it lacks the scope and inventiveness of Anderson's direction in There Will Be Blood.  

The thing I love about the Coens is their ability to crank up the suspense to immensely unbearable levels with absolutely minimal use of sound or music.  The material here presents them with many opportunities to perfect their blend of silent suspense.

There are three main characters played by Josh Brolin, Spanish actor Javier Bardem and the evergreen Tommy Lee Jones.  All give sterling performances with the standout being Bardem whose character, Anton Chigurh, is perhaps the most frightening ever, since Anthony Hopkins' cannibalistic Hannibal Lecter in Silence of the Lambs.  

Armed with a high-pressure gas canister as a murderous weapon and wearing a mop-like hairstyle, Chigurh is a villain who does not know the meaning of mercy.  You wouldn't want to run into him in a crowded shopping mall, let alone in a dark alley at night. 

No Country For Old Men can be said to be a modern Western, an update for the next generation of movie-goers.  The unexpected ending may be a sore point for some, but it will be highly appreciated by discerning viewers who demand something more thought-provoking than what current movies can offer.

The Coens comeback film will be likely to dominate during Oscar night.  There's no doubt that No Country For Old Men is one of the top ten films of 2007. 

GRADE: A 










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