December 3, 2007
No Country For Old Men
No Contry... is a modern day (1980s-ish) old-fashioned morality tale. It's about good verses evil, with humanity caught in the middle. At first it seems that Llewelyn Moss is the main protagonist; but the movie is really about Sheriff Ed Tom Bell reckoning to find his place. The chaos Llewellyn causes when he stumbles across two million dollars at a major drug-trade massacre and decides to keep it is the vehicle used to explore Bell's moral confusion and struggle to understand where God is in regard to Bell's life. The main antagonist, Chigurh, is a highly (if bizarrely) principled sociopath, unbeatable...he represents evil. For the Cohen brothers it's not so important how the story resolves, but how the characters interrelate, and the choices they make. As in many cases, the journey is more important than the destination.
The Cohen brothers are masters of cinematography (or picking good Cinematographers to collaborate with; for this film and many others its Roger A. Deakins). They have an uncanny ability to visually set the tone of a film; effectively creating a modern version of the old west for No Country...
It's hard to say for sure, but this is probably (in my opinion) the best Cohen Brothers film to date. Tommy Lee Jones aught to win an Oscar for his role as Bell.
2007 has been a pretty amazing year for movies from some of my favorite film-makers. Aside from No Contry For Old Men, there was Wes Anderson's The Darjeerling Limited; and still to come, a film by PT Anderson, There Will Be Blood (IMDb) (trailer), that looks like it has the potential to be great...And early next year a film by Michel Gondry, Be Kind Rewind (IMDb) (trailer).