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NO COUNTRY FOR OLD MEN by Ethan Coen and and Joel Coen


Trailer trash-cowboy Llewelyn Moss (Josh Brolin) disovers the remains of a drug deal gone bad in the Texan desert – dead bodies, one wounded man, a truckload of drugs and 2 million dollars in a satchel. He takes the money but returns in the night with water for the dying survivor. But then Mexican gangsters turn up and he barely escapes them, leaving behind his truck.
Moss takes the money, tells his wife Carla Jean (Kelly Macdonald) to go to her mother, and flees from psychopathic killer Anton Chigurh (Javier Bardem) who has been hired to retrieve the satchel.
Local sheriff Ed Tom Bell (Tommy Lee Jones) is way out of his depth trying to protect Moss – all he can do is picking up the bodies Chigurh leaves wherever he comes through.

In No Country For Old Men the Coen brothers mix western, thriller, chase movie and horror together, refine the mixture with top-notch performances (outstanding: Javier Bardem) and finally serve a menu surprise: It’s not about the chase or the thrill, not about Moss, not about a crazy serial killer or 2 million dollars, it’s about luck, chance, and fate.
Unstoppable force: Anton Chigurh Ageing sheriff Bell “always figured when I got older, God would sorta come inta my life somehow. And he didn’t.” Instead, he finds himself in a world he doesn’t understand anymore, with killers and crimes he doesn’t know what to make of. But Ellis, a retired cop wounded in the line of duty, already knows what Bell just begins to realize: “Whatcha got ain’t nothin new. This country’s hard on people, you can’t stop what’s coming, it ain’t all waiting on you. That’s vanity.”
It’s not the times that have changed, it’s Bell who realizes that life is not controlled by a god who rewards the good and punishes the bad, but it’s pure chance that decides if you live or die. Chigurh is not only the most chilling killer since Hannibal Lecter, he is an unstoppable force in the tradition of the old slasher films, but there is still more to him. It’s not a coincidence that bounty hunter Wells (Woody Harrelson), asked just how dangerous Chigurh is, responds with “Compared to what? The bubonic plague?”
Unlike those slashers, he doesn’t kill those who “behaved bad”. Instead, he is like a tsunami (or the plague): No matter if his victims are “guilty” or “innocent”, if they fight, give in, beg for mercy or don’t even realize what happens to them – he casually kills those who cross his path. Only sometimes, when he feels like it, he spares a random person, or lets a tossed coin decide if somebody lives or dies.

No matter if you prefer to watch it as a masterfully paced thriller with black humor or as an analogy about life at the mercy of blind fate – enjoy the ride (and live with the anticlimactic no-ending).

No Country for Old Men movie trailer

One Response to “NO COUNTRY FOR OLD MEN by Ethan Coen and and Joel Coen”

  1. Movie Review » TRUE GRIT by Ethan Coen and Joel Coen Says:

    […] is the Coen brother’s first attempt at a “true” western after western-influenced No Country For Old Men – and at their first shot they prove that the western, despite many claims to the contrary, […]

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