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No Country for Old Men (2007)
I have to agree that Thematically, Visually, and Auditorily, the movie is stunning.
No Country is best described as a modern-day Western - taking place in the Tex-Mex area, it is focuses on three characters and their actions in relation to a huge drug deal gone horribly wrong. Josh Brolin's Llewellyn is ostensibly the lead character, a regular Joe whose discovery of the deal (and subsequent theft of $2 million worth of drug money) drives the story. Also after the money is psychotic murderer Chigurh (a brilliant turn by Javier Bardem), who leaves a thick and bloody trail of bodies as he pursues Llewellyn. Rounding out the trio is Tommy Lee Jones as Bell, the world-weary sheriff whose presence in the film is best likened to a Greek chorus as he is very loosely involved in the movie's action.
From now on it gets tough to write about No Country - my expectations were very high for this (after all the five-star reviews I'd heard about). Not only were my expectations met, they were defied. I honestly was not ready for the movie - not because it was more than I'd hoped for, but because it was less. No Country is deceptively simple - the best aspect of it is that it does not try to be overly dramatic. Unlike a large number of thrillers, mood-building music is practically non-existent; what little there is goes largely unnoticed. The suspense is built extraordinarily well - even in some of the more clichéd scenarios on offer. You'll probably spend at least two-thirds of the movie on the edge of your seat. I know I did.
If I had to find any fault with the film, I'd consider it a trifling one but I will say this - the other third of the movie. If Brolin and Bardem's cat-and-mouse arc is responsible for the more intense parts of the film, then Jones' part is responsible for the more quiet (and I may even say, slightly boring) moments. I don't see the breaks in the suspense as much of a problem - rather, Jones' philosophical musings provide much-needed breathers and, if anything, the true heart of the film - how his life as a modern-day sheriff is very different to the ways of his lawmaking ancestors, and how things now are not necessarily for the better.
There's a reason No Country for Old Men has been getting fantastic reviews everywhere you look. It's a tense affair that really does suck you in right from the very beginning and doesn't let go, hitting you with surprise after surprise after surprise. This is the breath of fresh air I've been looking for.