Monday, December 17, 2007

Movie Review: No Country For Old Men

Movie Title: No Country For Old Men
Starring: Tommy Lee Jones, Josh Brolin, Javier Bardem, Kelly MacDonald and Woody Harrelson
Directed by: Ethan Coen/Joel Coen
Genre: Drama/Thriller/Western
My Rating: 8.7/10.

I had heard a lot of rave reviews and hype about this movie before going to watch it, thus kept my expectations low. For most of the movie I could see why...

Set in the lonely countryside of southeast Texas circa 1980, welder Moss (Brolin) finds $2 million in a satchel and more than a handful of murdered drug-peddling Mexicans, during a hunt. Tired of his trailer park lifestyle and with hope to provide a good future to his wife (MacDonald) and himself, Moss decides to take away the money and run. Little did he expect an uber psychotic killer to be chasing him all over.

Enter Anton Chigurh (Bardem) at the start of the movie. A merciless killer with unorthodox weapons: cattle-gun to open up locked doors, auto-like muffler on a shotgun to reduce noise. To add to that, a very polite speaking demeanor and absurd set of principles. Chigurh is on the hunt for the money, killing anyone coming in the way, even cops.

Contrary to what one would expect in the Texas dessert, the ranger cops are shown to be horse-riding but not so gun-slinging. Tommy Lee Jones plays a retiring and aging sheriff who dreads killing, complicated FBI/DEA style investigations and has the greatest heart of all characters in the movie. Sheriff Bell's primary interests lie in the well being of his townsfolk, no matter how badly they screwed up. This philosophy, however, takes a toll on his aging self and thus the story has such a title.

The movie is a good quasi-western with great photography/cinematography of rural Texas. The acting and direction is very praiseworthy. Jones excelled one more time as a Texas ranger with brains and a heart. Spanish actor Bardem impresses for the first time on American mainstream. Brolin shows for the first time some acting skills while not playing baddie. Scottish actress Kelly MacDonald also did a decent job, while Woody Harrelson's cameo as a humerous bounty hunter who has encountered Chigurh before.

8.7/19. Great cinematography, brilliant acting and a good novel to adapt the screenplay from. Just a weird ending, which I won't spoil for you. Not weird, just un-cliched. Not everyone may appreciate this movie. I know I did, though.

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