In the desolate country near the Rio Grande, hunter Llewellyn Moss (Josh Brolin) stumbles on the aftermath of a drug deal gone wrong. Desperate to improve his circumstances, he acts on impulse and takes a briefcase containing $2 million in cash from the crime scene. His actions make him the target of deadly bounty hunter, Anton Chigurh (Javier Bardem). Best Picture winner, 2007 Academy Awards.

5
Truly a modern masterpiece.

Llewellyn Moss is a no-nonsense Texan who seems mightily unfazed to stumble upon a desert drug deal gone wrong. There are bodies everywhere, and he nonchalantly picks up a $2m stash of underworld cash.

Moss’s mistake is to return to the scene of the crime to try to help an injured man. That puts him in the sights of those who want their money back.

They’ve hired an unholy assassin, Anton Chigurh, and he’s a vile creature who uses an air gun to blow people’s brains out.

Moss’s escape plan across West Texas and into Mexico, pursued by Chigurh, Mexican thugs and Tommy Lee Jones’s tired, laconic Sheriff Ed make up the bulk of the Coen brothers’ haunting No Country For Old Men.

The brothers have been at their very best when in this territory – black comic crime set in the American badlands.

This film really harkens back to their debut, the marvellous Blood Simple, and it’s much richer and more satisfying than their recent, annoyingly self-conscious comedies The Ladykillers and Intolerable Cruelty.

Javier Bardem makes for a terrifying villain. He looks physically corrupt but seems every bit as relentless as The Terminator. He’s also believably, psychotically human.

The underused Josh Brolin is also terrific as the cocky, overconfident Llewellyn. We’ve seen his type in the movies before, but the Coen brothers spin him in a new direction.

Same goes for Tommy Lee Jones. At first it feels like he’s played the deadpan Texas lawman one too many times, but this breaks new ground for him, too.

Based on Cormac McCarthy’s prize-winning novel, this is a film with few peers.

The dialogue is among the Coens’ funniest, the visuals are poetic, and the confrontation and chase scenes will have you jumping in your seat.

I thought I knew where it was headed but it does an amazing turn that made me reconsider everything I’d seen and thought. It’s not so much a Sixth-Sense style story twist, but a grim re-evaluation of what the movie’s about deep down.

No Country For Old Men is a modern masterpiece that rates 5 stars.

 

 

Watch 'No Country For Old Men'

Sunday 11 April, 2:15am on SBS / NOTE: No catch-up at SBS On Demand

MA15+
USA, 2007
Genre: Crime, Drama, Thriller
Language: English
Director: Ethan Coen, Joel Coen
Starring: Josh Brolin, Javier Bardem, Tommy Lee Jones, Kelly MacDonald, Woody Harrelson

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