Plot: Based on the novel by Pulitzer Prize-winning American writer Cormac McCarthy, this is the story of Llewelyn (Josh Brolin) stumbling upon pickup trucks surrounded by dead men, drugs and $2 million. He takes the cash, which leads to a killer (Javier Bardem) chasing him down and a local sheriff (Tommy Lee Jones) attempting to contain the violence.
Who’s it for: There is a fair amount of blood, mainly at the hands of Javier Bardem’s character, and it’s a great game of cat and mouse.
Expectations: The Coen brothers haven’t been great lately with “The Ladykillers” and “Intolerable Cruelty,” so I had slightly lower expectations.
Josh Brolin as Llewelyn: Wow, Brolin is no longer best known as the older brother in “The Goonies.” Llewelyn has a great balance of being simple and knowing exactly how to get the job done.
Javier Bardem as Anton: From the very beginning, when Anton wrestles a cop down while handcuffed, we can see the pure evil in his eyes. Bardem’s portrayal of a killer who sometimes decides if people live or die from the flip of a coin is one of the best villains to hit the screen in a long time.
Tommy Lee Jones as Ed: Ed is an old-timer who likes to tell stories about old-timers. And while Tommy Lee Jones does a fine job with the role, I always wanted more of Brolin and Bardem. And in the unofficial competition for having the oddest/longest titles, Jones’ last four films are “The Three Burials of Melquiades Estrada,” “A Prairie Home Companion,” “In the Valley of Elah,” and now this one. It looks like Jones is winning.
Talking: There are many great phrases turned in this film, and one of the more amusing characters is Garret Dillahunt’s Wendell. He’s Ed’s right-hand man and his naive enthusiasm is a treat to watch.
Sights and sounds: The violence in this film is different from others, mainly because they show the aftermath of taking care of the wounds. From a technical standpoint, the camera work, such as the reflection of the characters from the TV, gives “No Country” a great style.
Best Scene: One of the more interesting chase sequences occurs near the beginning of the film with Llewelyn attempting to get away from a pit bull while swimming down a river.
Ending: I understand what the Coen brothers were going for, I just didn’t fall head over heels in love with it. I grew to love Brolin’s character, so when the film suddenly switches to Jones’ character it felt a little unrewarding.
Random Thoughts: I have never shot a gun, I might get around to it one day. Films such as this one are great because they give you that rush, that excitement of sawing down a shotgun and going after the bad guy.
Rewatchability: Perhaps I will change my mind about the ending and appreciate the bookends with Tommy Lee Jones’ voiceover at the beginning and end, but I’m not counting on it.
“No Country for Old Men” had me for almost the entire movie. I loved the slow pace that would suddenly jolt you into an action sequence. The townsfolk were a great mix of people who don’t understand the simple things and brilliant thinkers who could strategize with the best of them. To top if off, Josh Brolin vs. Javier Bardem is a battle I would watch anytime. The problem comes when we realize it’s a Tommy Lee Jones film and the title is more than just a random coincidence. It’s a really good film that was almost great.
Overall Grade: 8