And the Oscar Goes to:
No Country for Old Men, 2007
Directed by: Joel & Ethan Coen
Starring: Tommy Lee Jones, Javier Bardem, Josh Brolin, Woody Harrelson
Based on Cormac McCarthy’s novel of the same name, No Country for Old Men is a cat-and-mouse crime drama about the after-effects of a drug deal gone awry set across the American-Mexican border. Llewelyn Moss (Josh Brolin) stumbles across several dead people and eventually finds, and keeps, over $2m in cash. This is the catalyst for Anton Chigurh’s (Javier Bardem, mother!) chase, which spans most of the remainder of the film.
Bardem and Brolin play their roles brilliantly, as the predator and the prey, and, despite Moss appearing to be able to hold his own, seeing Chigurh appear everywhere Moss is really hammers home how good a hunter Chigurh is, which creates for a more suspenseful chase. Crossing from America to Mexico and spanning several different cities, hotels and hospitals, Moss cannot seem to shake him and this drives the plot on really effectively. Add to the mix Moss’ family, who Chigurh threatens, another bounty hunter (Woody Harrelson, War for the Planet of the Apes) and the local sheriff, Ed Tom Bell (Tommy Lee Jones) and there is enough components for a brilliant chase, with enough obstacles to prolong it for the duration of the two-hour film.
A couple of plot issues seem to either come from out-of-nowhere or are not followed up on, and I understand it’s true to the novel, but it seems a bit unusual. A character’s death, likewise, is barely mentioned afterwards despite him being a rather prominent character, and this just added a slight layer of confusion to the film. The ending, as well, loses a short scene from the novel which creates a slight air of confusion as it doesn’t really close up what’s happened in the film. But those short issues aside, No Country for Old Men is a brilliant adaptation with excellent shooting scenes, well-rounded characters and a steady plot with constantly interesting and changing locations to keep you on the edge of your seat.
Plot: * * *
Acting: * * * *
Writing: * * * *
Presentation: * * * *
Overall Rating: * * * ¾