No Country for Old Men (2007) Poster

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10/10
Marvellous Ending
chaswe-284021 March 2018
The message of this film is that there is no symmetry to life. What goes around does not come around. The fall of the coin has no bearing on the way the cookie crumbles. There is no right or wrong to the fates of men. No justice. Opportunities seized may lead on to fortune, but they could just as well lead on to dusty death. Only children expect things to be fair. As things once were they need no longer be. Now that IMDb has decided to list reviews by date there is a slightly increased possibility that this effort will be read by someone. Performance reviews are absolutely not read by me for helpfulness, but for interest and entertainment.
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10/10
A Look into an Abyss
Sonic_Ocean20 June 2013
Warning: Spoilers
I expect a film like 'No Country for Old Men' to be polarizing for some, especially if they're expecting a big finale with the good guy and the bad guy drawing their guns in the end to settle the score. 'No Country for Old Men' is a film that dabbles more in existentialism, despite all the crime that occurs. Basically, what I'm saying is that the film adapted from the novel is very unconventional not only for its genre, but also in its approach to storytelling. What the Coen brothers do best is combining altogether different elements and creating something with its own unique character. While there are subtle throwbacks to the old wild west, the story takes place in modern society where technology has advanced, society has advanced and unfortunately crime has too.

What are Anton Chigurh's true motives? Does he have a philosophical doctrine that we the audience are unaware of or are just unable to comprehend? What Anton does is create a lot of questions that arise from his actions and his interactions with the other characters. To watch a character as odd as him is fascinating and I cannot give enough credit to Javier Bardem in portraying such a character that is so enigmatic and just his presence alone is able to evoke so much mystery. Even though Anton is very incomprehensive, it is all made up for by being able to be somehow captivated by him.

How every character deals with Anton is interesting, to say the least and as the film progresses, the feeling of despondency increases gradually. The lack of heroes is what gives this film its sense of hopelessness and that feeling of hopelessness is basically set in stone from the first few shots coupled with Tommy Lee Jone's epic voice-over narration in introducing the story. It is the perfect introduction to what we will witness in the story and what it all means for a sheriff like him in comprehending these events. As the events occur, we the audience reflect on these situations just as much as Sheriff Ed Tom Bell. Tommy Lee Jones' performance in this role is impressive and is injected with a great sense of humanity. I commend his portrayal as Bell, in that he is the character who carries the weight of the story.

The acting is a huge fragment in bringing this film to life, but what also does that is how the visuals are executed and it is definitely utilized to a great effect. From its majestic shots to its beautiful lighting and color tones, the Coen brothers set a mood that permeates the whole film. Its barren settings really add a feeling of desolation that is at the same time hypnotic and surreal. While the film can be suspenseful and its suspense is definitely executed perfectly, the film still somehow manages to maintain an air of mystique. The non-existence of a soundtrack really gives the film a feeling of loneliness, all the while adding an even greater sense of sterility to its already barren wasteland.

I can go on and on about the great acting, its memorable shots and its great script, but what makes 'No Country' a great film is that it manages to be truly idiosyncratic in its execution just like how the Coen Brothers' other great films are. Even if a film like this leaves me more questions than answers, if it still manages to captivate me to a point that I'm willing to return to it, then that shows that it doesn't matter if I don't have any answers to my questions. There are only a few films that are able to pull this off naturally and 'No Country for Old Men' is definitely one of those special films that can do just that.
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8/10
No Country For Old Men - Explanation - Spoilers
FLASHP01NT9 September 2020
Warning: Spoilers
The meaning of Sheriff Bell's dream was that he was ashamed of himself because his fear of death prevented him from doing his duty. In other words: Ed knew the criminal was in the motel room, but his fear of death prevented him from doing his job, which, in this case, was to die honorably in the line of duty.

He interprets this moral failure as a desecration of the legacy of his father.

This is contrast with the moral failure of Anton: Anton killed the woman who refused to play his coin game, which forced him to assume the moral responsibility for murdering her. This incident is immediately followed with Anton's car accident, which represents him being punished by God and forced to rely on the charity of others for survival. This is why Anton demands the kid take the money in exchange for the shirt - because he recognizes that he's being punished (i.e. he recognizes the charitable symbol and that he doesn't deserve charity) which is an indirect admission of guilt.
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10/10
Coens firing on all cylinders. Brilliant.
motta80-216 May 2007
Warning: Spoilers
If this doesn't end my year in the top two films of the year then we are in for one hell of an awesome year of movies.

The new film from two of the best filmmakers working today No Country For Old Men shows the talents of the Coen Brothers on top form. After a couple of disappointments (Intolerable Cruelty had flashes of Coen genius but felt more of a Coen imitation than the real thing; Ladykillers had the odd funny moment but was the blandest film the brothers ever made, and there's just no excusing Marlon Wayans!) they knock this violent western drama out of the park.

More in the vein of their superb early mostly-serious efforts Blood Simple and Miller's Crossing (my personal favourite of the Coen back catalogue) No Country For Old Men is a slow-moving, character-driven masterpiece about uncompromising and uncompromised characters. It is very violent and bloody and not always for the squeamish.

Shot through with moments of humour these come, as in life, from real situations and observations so don't be fooled into thinking this will be the serious film with goofy-characters Coens of Fargo. No Country For Old Men is a tough, gritty story.

The unrelenting pace may take its time but you are gripped every moment. This is a thriller that genuinely thrills.

Javier Bardem gives the best performance of his career. And, yes, I have seen The Sea Inside and he in superb in that but here he is simply extraordinary. It is a portrayal of unrelenting evil, of true derangement, of a human being with no shreds of humanity that ranks at the very top of studied film psychopaths. And I say film not movie because this is not a clichéd character. This is not a character whose lunacy you enjoy over popcorn. This is one of the most frightening performances ever committed to celluloid. I felt truly nervous of what was going to happen every time he walked on screen.

Josh Brolin essentially carries the bulk of the movie and he is excellent in a role that challenges him. I have never seen him perform to this level and if Bardem didn't steal the film you'd be talking about Brolin all the way home. As it is this gives him a showcase for his talents that should see him get a lot more attention.

Tommy Lee Jones is used sparingly but to great effect. Sounding more like Michael Parks than ever before his scenes pepper the movie with a wearied view on a world he doesn't really like or understand to great effect.

I did find Stephen Root a little distracting as i have never seen him in a serious role before and he just looks amusing but he is in very little.

Roger Deakins' cinematography is breathtaking as usual and the Coens' script is superbly crafted. There are moments, almost asides from the main plot, that would be superfluous in most scripts and excised in most studio films but which work perfectly in the overall context of the movie as only the Coens can achieve. One scene featuring Bardem in a gas station is up there with the best scenes i have ever seen on film.

I have not gone into the plot here because I saw this film having not read Cormac McCarthy novel and knowing little other than the basic log-line - a man out hunting comes upon a scene of dead bodies, guns, drugs and money on the Mexican border and comes to the attention of both those behind the scene and a local world-wearied sheriff - and i think that's the way to see this film.

Go in knowing as little as you can but knowing at least this: this is a serious, violent, slow-paced character piece from the Coens. This is not a Fargo. If you are squeamish don't see it. If you have a short-attention span don't see it. If you only love the Coens for their fantastic comedies like O Brother and Big Lebowski and the comedy/thriller Fargo don't see it. But if you want to see an intelligent, superbly acted, powerful, beautiful cinematic treat that will remind you of the true power of cinema see it, see it, see it. It's a masterpiece. Bravo Ethan and Joel.
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9/10
Some Interesting Characters
Lechuguilla13 July 2008
While on a hunting trip, a sportsman (Josh Brolin) finds dead men and a stash of cash in the remote back country of West Texas, the result of a drug deal gone wrong. The greedy hunter takes the cash, but soon discovers that the resourceful criminal responsible for the drug deal, an outlaw named Anton Chigurh (Javier Bardem), has a way of tracking the loot. The hunter thus finds that he is the hunted. Meanwhile, an aging Texas sheriff named Ed Tom Bell (Tommy Lee Jones) is after both the sportsman and Chigurh. The story is set in the early 1980s.

To some extent, this film is a character study of Sheriff Bell, an honest lawman who is wise, observant, grounded in reality, and has a long memory. "No Country For Old Men" is really his story. He doesn't know quite what to make of the drug war that has crossed over from Mexico into Texas; it's something new (for the 1980s); and it makes a land that has always been hostile to settlers even more hostile and dangerous.

The film's premise is quite simple, and the story is straightforward with minimal twists. A lot of time and care are taken with procedural actions: loading a gun, dressing a bloody wound, constructing a pole to retrieve a package from an air vent, for example. Dialogue is minimal; there's lots of silence.

Overall casting and acting are impressive. I especially liked the performance of Tommy Lee Jones who seemed a natural choice for the role of Sheriff. Javier Bardem and Josh Brolin are also well cast. Several minor roles are extremely well performed, like the store owner who is asked to call a coin toss, and the rotund lady who, with a dour face, defies Chigurh's requests in a characteristic Texas twang.

The film's color cinematography is quite good; there are lots of sweeping, wide-angle outdoor shots. I really enjoyed the geographic setting, with that whistling West Texas wind, the silence, and the stunning vistas. It's a landscape that is starkly beautiful. Yet, despite its beauty and wilderness traits, it can quickly turn hostile and unforgiving for anyone unprepared for its hidden risks.

"No Country For Old Men" is a fine film. I'd describe it as a chase story -- character study combo, with elements of noir, especially in the visuals. Violence may be a tad much for some viewers. But given the subject matter, it is entirely appropriate.
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1/10
Wish I loved it (Spoilers)
littlegoldwoman12 December 2007
Warning: Spoilers
I have a plea out on the message boards for someone to please explain this movie to me. I love movies and I am not one of those who insist on only being hand fed obvious characters and plots. I enjoy movies that make you think and use symbolism.

But I honestly did not understand this film. Im not saying its horrible but I will say I don't think it deserves the ratings it is getting. I personally rated it a 1 because I feel compelled to balance out the absurd over ratings it is getting.

What I saw was two men fighting over the same two million dollars. One who is somewhat good and obviously poor and the other who is this maniac psycho killer. Im not even sure its his money, how he knows about it or why he even wants it. None of that was clarified.

The good guy is running with the money the bad guy is chasing him the sheriff seems like he is supposed to be chasing them but doesn't really want to and would rather be some sort of hillbilly philosopher about the whole thing.

Then the good guy suddenly dies. The bad guy escapes death by the skin of his teeth AGAIN the money disappears and the sheriff retires but not becoming so philosophical that the whole movie just ends right there at his dinner table with him rambling on about some dreams he had.

Again I would love to figure out this movie.

I am a 40 year old movie buff Academy Award trivia expert I own over 700 movies I've been a member here for 6 years And I have a college degree.

Maybe I ate too many milk duds or something but it went right over my head.

If you are looking for a Donnie Darko, Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind MUST SEE A SECOND OR THIRD TIME TO FULLY UNDERSTAND kind of movie then go for it!

If you think you are going to see a Titanic, The Green Mile or Silence Of the Lambs kind of movie where the plot unfolds at a normal pace and doesn't make you search for answers and meaning then don't go see this thing.

Again, not a bad movie. Great acting, cinematography, pace.... the works... just incredibly difficult to understand after the first half.

In fact the first half is very good, suspenseful.. second half does not fulfill. Leaves you hanging and wanting more.

OK Im done. Thanks for reading.
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10/10
Tangible Fear As Art
littlemartinarocena4 March 2008
I don't remember being so scared in a movie theater since "Don't Look Now" Here the Coen Brothers take everything a step further with exhilarating ease. The terror was genuine and not because we were rooting for Josh Brolin or anybody in particular. The terror was personal, Joel and Ethan Coen made that terror visceral and tangible. It has to do with our own nightmares. Josh Brolin was a perfect piece of casting because in a way he doesn't have many personal colors. He's one of the bunch, one of us and we could put ourselves in his shoes. That is the art of film narrative expressed in a way that we've never experienced before. I heard people old enough to have seen Hitchcock's "Psycho" in the theaters and what glued them to the screen was their own fear. Well, that's what I've experienced here. Javier Bardem is superb, considering that he's the reason for the fear. He carries a human/inhuman kind of strength and we know he'll get us, sooner or later and if we consider the ending of the film, he might still do. Worthy Oscar winners, all of it and all of them.
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10/10
You need to call it. I can't call it for you. It wouldn't be fair.
Quinoa19849 November 2007
Warning: Spoilers
No Country for Old Men is as exceptional a mix of two creative talents- the Coen brothers, Joel and Ethan Coen, and author Cormac McCarthy (recent winner of the Pulitzer for The Road, his own masterpiece) as one could imagine, as they converge on a story that in lessor hands would be just a B movie. The story concerns an average Joe out hunting one day in Texas who comes across a bunch of dead bodies, heroin, and a satchel with 2 million in cash. He takes it, but without knowing that a true embodiment of a psychopath (Javier Bardem) is on his trail, and as he evades him it becomes more and more clear the fatalism that lies in store, as a weathered sheriff (Tommy Lee Jones) is also on the trail with perpetulally sad eyes looking on from his stolid demeanor.

More than this, it's also about as good a morality play as one could ask for, because it plays and tools and makes very serious questions about what is moral, or what isn't, or what is so ambiguous that it's all up to the toss of a coin or a chance ride out of town. There are a few interpretations to Bardem's character Anton that could be taken, but one thing is certain- he's less a symbol than a real presence, a "ghost" as Jones's sheriff calls him that can come around at the drop of a pin, usually in the dark, and strike the utmost fear (or confusion if you're a clerk) in the hearts of men and women. You'll never look at a coin toss the same way again. Or an air-gun. Or fixing a bullet wound in a leg. Or a hunt at a motel. Or even the aftermath of a car crash.

But at the same time it's the purest time of cinema, recalling Hitchcock and Leone and Welles's Touch of Evil and the best of noir and westerns. There are so many exceptional shots and lighting, so much depth to the perception of the characters through the mis-en-scene, so much tension, that through this it's all up to the actors to make or break the near-perfection that is the McCarthy source. Bardem embodies Anton like no other could- you can't look at his eyes, often steel-cold and horrifically professional (to what professional who can say), which occasional tear- and it's obviously worthy of an Oscar. And Josh Brolin and Tommy Lee Jones are also fantastic; we see Brolin often in the midst of an action scene, a moment of 'save-your-life' going on, and one can finally see an actor of his caliber completely breaking out in a role that doesn't require him to ever totally "emote". Jones, on the other hand, gives a compassionate turn in a film that's about the struggles of desperate men in a land without law and order. He's gone through so much that it comes out completely in his voice and eyes, sorrowful but holding back, and he reaches a level of connection with the character that makes the Fugitive look like simpleton TV. Kelly McDonald, who plays Lleland's wife, is also excellent when called upon, especially in a crucial scene later in the film.

It's gut-wrenching, bleak, violent, super-tense (I clenched many a knuckle during some scenes), surprisingly funny in a darkly comic manner not seen by the Coens in many years, and artistically fashioned to a beat that is meditative (watch the opening moments with Jones's voice-over), simple, and doomed. It's beautiful and terribly tragic, for McCarthy fans it finally strikes at what is truest to his material- even if you haven't read the book itself the Road will give an indication of the mood and atmosphere at hand- and at the moment I can't think of any other film that would be the best pick of the year- maybe one of the best films I've ever seen.
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3/10
Horrible Finish
buckethead6625 November 2007
Warning: Spoilers
No Country for Old Men had a great storyline, character development, acting, and cinematography, and still managed to disappoint me greatly with its crappy anticlimactic ending.

What is the purpose of suspense? I couldn't wait to see how the three main characters would interact when they inevitably met. But the Coens yank the rug out from under the audience by suddenly wiping out the protagonist 75% of the way through the movie. Why waste so much time building Llewelyn Moss'(Brolin's) character and emphasizing his resourcefulness if you're going to kill him off so abruptly with no explanation? There's easily an entire scene missing. Fine, I get it: the Mexicans found him. I don't need a rosy ending, but at least reveal how his demise went down. I'm not even asking for a gory shootout sequence; just elaborate on what led up to it. Yes, there is an underlying commentary on fate and humanity, but this movie is also an action/crime thriller where multiple peripheral characters are strangled or blown away by a sociopathic killer. It seems disingenuous to skim over the main character's death. Moss never had a chance, and neither does the viewer.
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8/10
A hauntingly flawed unconventional masterpiece
DonFishies26 November 2007
Days after seeing it, I am still haunted by No Country for Old Men. There is just something so effectual and uncompromising about it, that mere words will only begin to skim the surface of the cinematic excellence on display.

At its most simplistic, the film is a game of cat and mouse. The mouse here is Llewelyn Moss (Josh Brolin), a hunter who stumbles upon two million in cash after a drug deal gone wrong, and takes it thinking nothing of it. He tries to cover his tracks, but ends up letting the group looking for the money, figure out his identity. The cat is Anton Chigurh (Javier Bardem), a hit-man hired to find Moss and the money. But Chigurh is unconventional at best; he also happens to be bordering on mentally insane. And another man, a law man this time, Sheriff Bell (Tommy Lee Jones), is on the trail of both men as they criss-cross around Texas.

Right up until its dénouement, the film is simply brilliant. Taut and thrilling, it blows right through the majority of its two hour runtime with ease. Even during moments of slowing down, the film stays right on track and never feels like it has run its course. It engages even when it appears that nothing is happening. The Coen Brothers truly crafted what appears at first glance to be a masterpiece, even if it is their first real shot at something that is not indelibly and inarguably their own. Even without reading Cormac McCarthy's novel, I know that the Coens have done it justice, even with their bitterly twisted and dark sense of humour scattered throughout the film.

But all of that comes to a standstill as the film concludes. The last twenty or so minutes feel like hours as the film wraps itself up, and it almost feels like these scenes belong to another movie entirely (one that borders on being pretentious and monotonous). I realize now that McCarthy's novel probably ends the same way, but it does not help provide closure to the fact that the movie is so break-neck paced right up until this happens. Its brilliance is shattered by what looks to be a series of tattered events thrown together to provide closure for all of the characters, alive or dead, and for its audience. It speaks volumes to the film's title, but it just does not feel satisfying compared to the rest of what we saw. Even with its enigmatic devices at play, I still cannot come to terms with how the film closes. It does haunt, and in a way, it may prove to be a significantly stronger ending as time rolls on. But as it stands now, it just feels weak.

What is also a bit of a surprise, and only seems to appear as the film concludes, is the music. It is not so obvious at first, but the majority of the film is audibly shown with just the sounds the characters make and no background music to speak of. This element is brilliantly used, as it helps intensify every situation and makes the film downright terrifying in some cases. It just helps truly make the film come together, and only helps establish the quick pacing even more so. It was definitely a surprise, and one that will probably help the lasting impact of the film become even stronger.

The lush and bloodsoaked visuals also help to define the film. Despite the film taking place mainly in deserted areas, or the desert itself, the camera manages to capture just the right essence of what the writing and acting is conveying. The isolation and the terror almost become characters themselves through these visuals, and are sure to be recognized as the award season rolls in.

The film's acting is also very well done. Brolin anchors the film and even when it is just the audience reacting to his attempts at saving his life, he manages to deliver the best performance of his career. He breathes life into Moss, and truly brings a sense of pathos to the character. We feel for him and his greedy mistake, and as he develops into a man unwilling to go down without a fight, he only manages to up the ante for himself countlessly. Jones, as the law man stuck on the fringe of every event, also does very well for himself. Most of his work is simply delivering dialogue, but it is delivered in such a fashionable sense that you feel like he is speaking to the bigger picture of things, and not just himself. I would have liked a bit more development in his character, but what little there is helps his performance greatly.

Supporting turns from Woody Harrelson and Kelly Macdonald are also done well, but are overshadowed by the main cast by both Brolin and Jones.

And even more of an overcast is Bardem as the ruthless Chigurh. He absolutely nails this character down to his very bones. If anyone is merely toying with the idea of seeing the film, it should be specifically for Bardem. His performance is calculating and plagued with petrifying silence. When he chooses to talk, his words sound like they are being given by the essence of evil. This is a man with a plan, but it is one that only belongs to him. His enigmatic presence is developed throughout the film, and never once does it feel particularly appropriate to understand where this menace comes from. Watching him on screen is a jolt to the heart, and will go down as one of the best performances of the decade. His terrible hair only helps to make his character that more scary and formidable.

No Country for Old Men is one of the best pictures of the year, even if it is flawed. Its brilliance and lasting impact with leave you haunted.

8.5/10.
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1/10
Despicable Snuff Film with Pseudo-Intellectual Pretensions
Danusha_Goska16 December 2007
Warning: Spoilers
"No Country for Old Men" is for the kind of film fan who remarks, "Gee, wasn't that murder a clever mise-en-scene?" and who asks, "What kind of lens do you think they used in that strangulation shot?" The skeleton of "No Country for Old Men" is a cheap, 78-minute, gun-monster-chase B movie. Javier Bardem plays Anton Chigurh, the monster. He is Frankenstein; he is Max Cady from "Cape Fear;" he is from your childhood nightmares. He may be death personified.

One of many completely implausible scenes: an arresting officer, defying any logic, turns his back on Chigurh. Chigurh, displaying the supple sinuosity of a Cirque du Soleil contortionist, or an orangutan, slips out of his handcuffs. This is done out of camera view, because for Bardem it would be impossible; thus the scene's implausibility. Chigurh then, in real time, strangles the young police officer to death on camera. This is an extended sequence. This is the payoff for "No Country for Old Men": watching one human being kill other human beings, in scene after scene after scene, using various weapons, including a captive bolt pistol usually used on livestock. Guess Chigurh couldn't get hold of a Texas chainsaw. This is a slasher flick for the pretentious.

Early on, there are well-done, if standard, chase scenes. A man outruns a car: not believable, but fun to watch. A pit bull chases this fleeing man down a whitewater river. The man reloads his gun at the very last moment (of course) and shoots the pit bull dead just as it is about to sink its teeth into the man. Later, in a hotel, a beeping transponder informs the killer where his prey hides. Your pulse may race and you may think that this is all leading up to something interesting. You will be disappointed.

Tommy Lee Jones, whose ear lobes appear to be metastasizing as he ages, wanders aimlessly through the film as Sheriff Ed Tom Bell, delivering cornpone, homespun, cowboy poet ruminations that are more or less opaque in meaning. No doubt the film's fans are even now feverishly compiling a companion volume that decodes Bell's dreams and conveys their depth.

Woody Harrelson, late the bartender of the TV sitcom "Cheers," shows up for a completely pointless half-hour role that yanks the viewer right out of the movie. "What is Woody Harrelson doing here?" Some years back, some bored English majors decided that conventional narrative structure was not intellectual enuf, and decided to play games with narrative. "No Country for Old Men" plays these sorts of games. The viewer is invited to invest time getting to know characters who are eliminated from the plot in ways that convey no meaning and are not moving. The narrative flow is truncated and yet the movie keeps going; viewers ask themselves why the movie is continuing -- sometimes out loud, even in a movie theater -- this is supposed to be a deep, intellectual experience. It is not. It is merely annoying.

Other than bratty English major head games, pretty much the entire substance of "No Country for Old Men" is a series of murders and tortures committed by Chigurh, who may symbolize your high school's worst bully – a bully so terrifying exactly because he targeted English majors. His victims are often courteous; their likability makes watching them be humiliated and then murdered an uncomfortable, and, given the film's structure, ultimately pointless exercise. Not only are the Coen Brothers torturing their characters, they also torment their ticket-buying audiences.

Chigurh's nice victims are often poor, rural, Southern, whites, the kind of people often not featured as positive, lead characters in Hollywood entertainments. They are often villains – witness films like "Deliverance." Here they are murder victims. Chigurh is associated with Mexicans, part of a rising "dismal tide," as one Anglo character puts it. No matter how you feel about immigration, you may find this association of Mexicans with a rising tide of evil to be offensive.

The film's boosters insist that the movie offers three deep and shocking lessons: life doesn't always follow a neat narrative structure; evil often triumphs; and the old days were more peaceful and, nowadays, things are getting really bad. In truth, everyone walking in to the theater already knows the first two "lessons." No one needs the Coen brothers to inform him that life doesn't always follow a neat narrative structure, or that evil often triumphs. We expect filmmakers, and all artists, to offer us a more substantial thesis. As for the third "lesson," that the old days were more peaceful and things are getting really bad today -- have the Coens, or Cormac McCarthy, heard of Attila the Hun, or any number of other less-than-peaceful and courteous personages from our common human past? One might well be dubious about "No Country"'s "lessons." Visit internet discussion boards devoted to this movie, and you will find fans asking, not "What is fate?" or "What is the role of a good man in a bad world?" but questions like, "If Hannibal Lector and Anton Chigurh were locked in a room, who would come out alive?" Given such reflections, one is safe in concluding that the appeal of this film is its emphasis on graphic violence, rather than on any more advanced intellectual or artistic merit.
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9/10
Amazing film with an incredible acting on display
sam_smithreview9 June 2016
Fargo, had its quirky character and its grotesque moments, but this film is all about a subdued natures intermixed with quick action. For what I expected, I got some of it, but also a bit more of a subdued air and timing than I expected. It would do things in spurts, action at the beginning then a lull and more thunder. It worked great for keeping one on edge, which Brolin did, excellently in the lead role lying awake thinking too hard. Jones too was good in a strong supporting role as a close to retirement sheriff who is on the outside shaking his head at the carnage and mayhem unleashed by the simple finding and taking of a satchel full of money.

The real gem and glue of the film though is Javier Bardem's menacing character who has his own brand of justice, which is extremely harsh and well insane. Even the one who claims to know him cannot even begin to stop or even slow him down. Bardem whom I have not had the pleasure of seeing in anything before is gold and like no other before looks to have the supporting actor award locked up in this performance. His presence is felt, even when he does not show up. That is something I have not seen in film well since probably The Third Man and Orson Welles' character Harry Lime.

I cannot really describe the film that well so I will suffice to say that is best modern western tale I have seen since The Three Burials of Melquiades, which also happened to have Tommy Lee Jones and was directed by him to boot. Another thing I noted was the lack of strong score. The filmmakers just seemed to let the sounds of the creaking boots and the desert landscape speak for the film. It felt natural and a bit menacing.
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9/10
The Coen Brothers' masterful achievement
jp71ph5 March 2008
It was not very long before I watched 'No Country for Old Men' that I watched the other remarkable film of 2007, 'There Will Be Blood.' Back then I thought that Paul Thomas Anderson has delivered the Best Picture of the year with his oil epic, but after watching the Coen brothers chilling and violent adaptation of Cormac McCarthy's 2005 novel, I knew right away that here was a film destined to be even a greater film than any I've seen this past year.

It's not easy to watch 'No Country for Old Men.' The first time I saw it, I found myself dazed enough to not be able to stand-up immediately even after the whole end credits have finished. And yet, mixed with the feeling of shock is the profound sense of wonder and awe with what I have just witnessed on the screen. It took me another viewing to fully appreciate the meaning and intention of the film, and while the experience from watching the film is not one everybody will enjoy and understand, it certainly is one of the most moving and thought-provoking movies I have ever watched. This is the kind of movie that will make you think, the kind that stays with you even after a long time has passed since you've last watched it. On the literal level, it is a simple cat-and-mouse chase thriller movie, but from within its roots lie a very profound philosophical and penetrating analysis not only of the characters and the situations involved in the story, but also of the kind of world we are living in today and the more monstrous sides of it we often choose to ignore.

The story revolves around the chase between a guy named Llewelyn Moss (Josh Brolin,) who stumbles upon a stash of money in a drug deal gone wrong in the middle of the desert and a psychopathic but surprisingly "principled" assassin named Anton Chigurh (Javier Bardem). The third party and the moral center of the story is the guy trying to find both the hunter and the hunted, Ed Tom Bell, the old sheriff of a peaceful, but increasingly becoming violent locality in West Texas.

The movie features the perfect mix thrill and excitement that would be expected out of a movie in this genre. The Coen brothers' direction of the particularly intense chase scenes between Chigurh and Moss are masterful, evoking emotions of suspense to the highest level and pushing the audience to the very edge of their seats. This is achieved by very careful editing and sound direction that perfectly recreates the tense atmosphere whenever a particular scene is being played out. Also remarkable is the photography (done by Roger Deakins) of vast scenes in the desert where even what the ordinary moviegoer would consider as "empty scenes", where no action is played out, tells a story in a visual manner, where even when there is no dialogue or action on screen, the sweeping images speak out for themselves.

'No Country for Old Men' is rich in such bravura kind of film-making. The particular camera move, position and choice of background and other trivial details such as time of day, cloud cover or positioning of the props and point-of-view perspective offer the best experience for the audience, and the most effective means of story-telling for the Coen brothers. Just watch the scenes of Tommy Lee Jones as the tormented old sheriff being burdened by the challenge of something that is greater a force than himself, something that he "does not understand," and you will realize what I mean. The environment and tone created by the filmmakers perfectly accentuates the performance of Jones and more importantly, the core messages of the film. This style is present throughout the film and one of the particular points that makes it more than just a chase movie.

I must say that I can't help but agree to most people when they say the Javier Bardem's Anton Chigurh is the most disturbing character (and yet mesmerizing) to grace the screen since Anthony Hopkins introduced us to Hannibal Lecter in 'Silence of the Lambs.' Chigurh effectively radiates evil and embodies violence in a very intelligent and forceful manner that touches the fear in all of us. Like Lecter, he personifies evil not in the conventional and simple sense, but in way that somehow presents to us the whole magnitude and complexity of its nature. In the dialogue he speaks, a kind of thinking revealed is one that is calculating and deeply philosophical but essentially ruthless and sinister.

The film's monumental achievement is in its ability to remarkably transport us into a world where the places, emotions, fears, anxieties, choices, morals and realities of life are strikingly brought to life and presented to us in a manner where we, after the whole experience, can reflect upon and look back with careful consideration. In the end, the moviegoer is left to marvel at the beauty (and madness) of it all. Here the theme of innocence lost as it is corrupted by evil and violence is explored in the most cinematic fashion, delivered perfectly with richness of emotion and the greatest impact possible. The violence and bleakness of it all is not there to simply evoke reaction or engage the audience, it is there to tell a story and impart an experience of great magnitude and intention, to which the Coen brothers have brilliantly succeeded. All at the same time the movie is a character study on the effects of evil and innocence lost, an exploration on the themes of fate and chance, an analysis of the freedom to choose and its consequences, a reflection on evil and good as forces of society and the investigation of basic human emotions such as hope, fear, love, violence and aspiration in the face of a variety of situations.
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5/10
Beneath the eye-catching photography and violence, and the good acting, there lies an empty plot
Chilangojoe12 November 2007
Warning: Spoilers
Beneath the eye-catching photography and violence, and the good acting, there lies an empty plot

To call this "film of the year" is to ignore that the world is a big place, and full of films that are a lot better.

This film simply didn't live up to the critical acclaim it garnered prior to release. Yes, Tommy Lee Jones does a good turn, as does Josh Brolin and Javier Bardem is somewhat unusual. The bleak countryside is well filmed and one of the reasons I cannot forswear multiplexes, and the violence also grabs the viewer's attention, but even that artifice wears off as the violence simply becomes monotonous.

The critics have uncovered nuances that separate this film from the classic Hollywood blood-and-guts formula, the most notable of which is that the lawman doesn't get the bad guy in the end. The trouble is that beyond critics counting angels on heads of pins, the Coens have retained hackneyed Hollywood clichés aplenty, the most egregious of which is the psycho who comes from nowhere, a plot device that dates back to the devil featuring in mediaeval morality plays and was debunked by the time Shakespeare was a lad. Hitchcock famously explained why Norman Bates became a psycho, and his suspense was all the more masterful as Anthony Perkins didn't look like a killer, just the Mummy's boy he really was.

With Hitchcock, you know something very bad is going to happen; but the suspense lies in not knowing what, by whom or when. After the first few minutes with Bardem's character, however, you know he will do the killing, you know how and you know it will be sooner rather than later. The only time the evil Chigurgh acquires more than one dimension is when people tell him he has a screw loose, but he just doesn't get it. Otherwise, he's as predictable as Terminator. We also have no idea where he learned his Rambo or Jason Bourne tricks, or how he gets to be better informed than the cops, and that is just one of many plot holes.

Bardem has acted much better before, as when he diversified from tongue-in-cheek macho roles years ago in films like "Carne Trémula" or "Segunda Piel". He successfully masks his native accent, but ends up sounding a bit too machine-like.

We can see Chigurh is after a pot of drug money, but just who the hell is he? Who are the "managerial" guys who put him in the picture? We are left to guess that Woody Harrelson is a hired man, but told nothing about his background, who does the hiring, or why. And why is Woody's character stunningly efficient one minute, in tracking down Moss, while allowing Chigurh to sneak up on him the next?

We are also meant to believe that a full-blown drug war can break out with just a lone sheriff on the case, without the feds getting involved. Yes, there is a lot of disbelief to be suspended in seeing this picture.

And then there is the foray across the border, which is corny and stereotypical to any one who has ever lived for a while in Mexico. Since when do norteño bands dress like mariachis? Since when do they serenade blood-stained gringo vagrants, for nothing, and in the morning? Since when do foreigners with bullet wounds get admitted to hospital, no questions asked? This has as much to do with the real Mexico as nachos and chile con carne. Could the Coens find not one Mexican adviser?

OK, so maybe this is beside the point, that the film is really all about a man getting too old for his job, as the very title suggests, but even here the plot is full of holes. It is all very well for the sheriff's uncle to wistfully say that a lot of nasty stuff has always happened on the border, but that ignores the fact that drug trafficking entails a dangerous mix of grinding poverty and instant fortunes which has made things nastier, all along the supply and distribution routes; Mexican towns once known for little more than growing avocadoes now have severed heads rolled across dance floors, and the country's equivalent of David Letterman was wasted in broad daylight.

Even that hollow and superficial take on drugs violence fails to grasp the nettle of centuries of brutality, of slavery and killing Indians, in making the U.S. what it is. And yes, it is possible to cover all these bases in a two-hour film. I will certainly look for them, and for answers to all the plot holes, should I ever read Cormac McCarthy's original novel.

For a sense of just how disturbingly omnipresent drug-fuelled violence is, and how it ends up breeding more violence, "La Vírgen de los Sicarios" did the job far better, but with Spanish dialogue and being made in Colombia, it never came to the attention of the critics who heap undeserving praise on the Coen brothers.
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1/10
Possibly the most overrated movie ever made . . .
billreynolds6 December 2007
Warning: Spoilers
. . . by the most overrated filmmakers ever.

"No Country for Old Men" shares with other wildly overrated movies, like "Pulp Fiction" or "Collateral," a ludicrous setting in which criminals engage in wild shootouts and murder sprees lasting for days and days without any noticeable effort on the part of law enforcement to put a stop to it. NCFOM takes place in an alternate universe where an insane madman can travel across Texas murdering several people a day without the slightest hint of the FBI, DEA, U.S. Marshals, Texas Rangers, or any other authorities lifting a finger to stop him. The only cop who seems to be on his trail is an aging small town sheriff played by Tommy Lee Jones who doesn't actually try to catch him but just passing amiably through life making philosophical reflections on evil.

This movie has no interesting or sympathetic characters. Our supposed "hero" only gets in trouble because he commits an unbelievably stupid and selfish act -- stealing $2 million in cash from a drug deal gone wrong in which several people have already been murdered. Does he think no one will come after him? Then he compounds his idiocy by returning to the scene of the crime. Why should we care what happens to him after this beginning? He has what appears to be a very nice, likable girlfriend, whose life (along with his own) he endangers -- for what? Some blood/drug money that if the drug dealers don't kill him for taking, the cops will bust him for spending. Stupid. Besides which, the character has no backstory, no interesting qualities. He is a cipher.

The character of "Chigurh," over which all the critics are having such orgasms, might as well be an extraterrestrial, he bears so little relationship to actual human life. He appears to be in his late thirties -- killing people at a rate of two or three a day, as he does in this film, he must have murdered close to 10,000 in his adult life, without ever being apprehended. This man is almost on a par with Stalin, Hitler, Mao, and Pol Pot, except instead of killing people en masse as they did (using subordinates, secret police, and soldiers to do the dirty work), he appears to do every killing himself, many of them with some kind of oxygen tank (how clever, and how convenient it must be to lug around an oxygen tank to kill people with instead of, say, a handgun). And there is no FBI team on his tail, no worldwide manhunt to catch the biggest serial killer of all time. It's funny how many "professional assassins" there are in movies like this (and "Pulp Fiction" and "Collateral") and how few there seem to be in real life.

The plot of this movie is so unbelievably trite, clichéd, and hackneyed that it is simply boring. Of course, a trite story can still make a great movie if it is well done. But the Coen brothers are far above actually putting in the effort to make their story work effectively on a nuts and bolts level. For instance, why bother to show the ultimate confrontation between the hero and villain? Why would the audience care about that? On some level, the Coen brothers must be laughing at all the sycophantic critics falling all over themselves to heap orgasmic praise on this joke of a movie. This film, and its ecstatic critical reception, represents the ultimate elevation of style over substance -- the appearance of meaning over actual meaning, quirkiness and moodiness for its own sake rather than in the service of a genuinely engaging story and characters.
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10/10
Expect the Unexpected as the Coen's deliver a pneumatic jolt to the head
Craig_McPherson17 November 2007
There's very little "good" in No Country for Old Men beyond the mesmerizing acting and viciously dark screenplay. Instead, the unholy trinity of temptation, cynicism and pure, dark, evil take center stage in this modern western directed by brothers Joel and Ethan Coen.

Based on the 2003 novel by Cormac McCarthy, the movie unfolds in the dusty Texas borderlands as hunter Llewelyn Moss (Josh Brolin) stumbles upon the remnants of a desert drug deal gone bad, complete with a case containing two million dollars. Succumbing to temptation, Moss makes off with the money setting in motion a chain of events that leaves a trail of blood spattered carnage across the State as he is pursued by the ruthless, coin tossing hit man Anton Chigurh (Javier Bardem) among whose killing weapons of choice is a pneumatic air gun.

Bearing little in common with pretty much any previous Coen film with the possible exception of Blood Simple, No Country for Old Men is a dark, bleak, ode to the baser elements of the human soul, and a spit in the eye to the noble ones as well.

With a structural trademark hinging upon breaking the conventional norms of predictability, No Country is a movie that will unsettle you at successive turns - in the way deaths are dealt out; by its palpable tension that can almost be cut with a knife, and its periodic deviations from the narrative norm – the latter likely the only Coen brothers "quirk" for which their movies are renown.

Switching back and forth between the game of cat and mouse being played out by Moss and Chigurh and the investigation of unfolding events by cynical aging Texas Sheriff Ed Bell (Tommy Lee Jones), the Coens weave a web of dangled threads that one can't help but expect will be neatly tied together at story's end, only to tie them up in ways that buck the storytelling norm and manage to be both unsatisfying and true to their nature at the same time.

Unforgettable among this tableau is Bardem's Chigurh. The Spanish actor who has also appeared in Love in the Time of Cholera and Goya's Ghosts evokes the most amazing presence of a ruthless killer with his own twisted adherence to a bizarre code of ethics that nothing short of witnessing his performance can do it justice.

Sadly, however, justice is one of the few items in abundance in this movie. And yet, as unhappy as I am that the Coen's screenplay defiantly refuses to cater to the audience's inherent desire for satisfaction, I grudgingly have to admire them for opting for the unpredictable.

Consider the movie akin to one big coin toss – will it be heads or tales? Call it - you've been calling it your entire life.
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1/10
Genius? Hell no, simply misguided directors...
jung-828 December 2007
Warning: Spoilers
Well, I say spoilers but with no plot, a loose story line, random characters, no resolution to story line, saying this review contains spoilers is a compliment I don't want to give this movie.

When I went to see this movie I did not know, believe it or not, it was a Coen Brothers film. However after the first scene and the visual of the boot marks all over the floor and I guessed that it was. It left me with the same feeling of the blood stains from the wood chipper in the snow from Fargo.

Not the same imagery, mind you, but the same sense of feeling. A sense of something violent and chaotic happened looked at from an obtuse albeit familiar image with contrasting colors of something that shouldn't be there.

Next the dialog came about and I knew for sure.

This movie is just plain misguided. When directors start to be identified by their techniques they are losing the plot and forgetting what film making is all about. To tell a story and to express ideas, not to showcase their quirks and be identified by them.

They should be in the background and not center stage.

The Coens, granted in my opinion only, took a step towards the over indulgent David Lynch and a giant leap away from becoming great directors based on their earlier works. The genius of Raising Arizona or Joel's The Hudsucker Proxy is a distant rock of film work casting a giant shadow on this current piece.

So many are saying that Javier Bardem's morbid and "deep" character is the real gem of the movie and brings originality to a type of role never seen before. Hell, take a look at another Tommy lee film, Batman where he played Two Face. The quirky and annoying Anton Chigurh is simply Two Face in an adult movie and like any bad guy, should not have gotten away.

Then there are the random characters being introduced in the movie for no apparent reason. I mean, just what was Woody Harrelson's character in the movie for? Seriously, without dipping into film school hogwash about stereotypes and archetypes of moral choices and bit characters to drive a moral choice. Or the old guy in the wheel chair towards the end?

By that time I was just rolling my eyes and getting more confused and upset that I was actually trying to make sense of this non-sequitur story line.

Then it hit me.

There was no point. There was no reason for this movie at all. It is just one long Coen self back patting cinematic journey and a movie to praise their own, self recognized, film making skills. What Blazing Saddles was to westerns this movie is to their previous works. It is quite ironic, and knowing the Coens deliberate, that it ends with Tommy Lee speaking of dreams. You know that feeling, the sense when you first wake up from a weird dream but in your half asleep mind set the fact that a pink dog was playing Tchaikovsky on the piano while sipping a martini and explaining why hot dogs come in 10 packs while buns come in 8 somehow can relate to your entire life plan and future goals.

As you regain your senses and become fully awake you realize that it was only a dream and sometimes a cake is just a cake.

Directors should not take center stage and simply let their films speak for them. This movie only speaks about the directors. Those that say this film is genius are still half asleep. When they wake up they also will admit they were stupefied by the Coens and didn't dare to question their "talent".

Well, I am begging you to indeed question it and see this movie for what it really is: Self indulgent nonsense.

Bottom line is that No country for Old Men (even the title is ridiculous and misleading) is a film one can easily skip. When someone comes out and tells you about this film and how great it is, watch them start talking about the Coens and their amazing talent. For if any other director made this heap of trash you would be renting this directly off the shelves as it would never have made the big screen.
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9/10
Everyone is entitled to an opinion. As long as it's justified.
sirdjb-118 June 2016
Warning: Spoilers
Now I've seen some harsh reviews, but I'll always stand by the notion that everyone is entitled to their own opinion. Plus that's not to say that this film hasn't been received well critically. However, when people make assertions like 'this films overrated' without being able to substatantiate that opinion it frustrates me because it gives this film a bad rep without good cause.

Now the reason I love this film is because it puts into practise that all too rare technique of showing, not telling. These days so much exposition and plot is just spoon fed to us in really haphazard and unnatural dialogue. In the first 10 minutes of this film you learn all you need to know about the two main characters with maybe two sentences? Not even dialogue. And more than that this film doesn't treat you like an ignoramus.

The film uses a lot of metaphors and analogies - so a lot of people will call it artsy or pretentious but they brings me back to my disclaimer. It's just one of those subjective things.

Another thing I like about this film is that it's very brooding or moody which for a thriller is great, you're constantly on edge. Javier Bardem as the antagonist is iconic. He's not your standard relentless murdering psychopath, he is a character with a code and morales.

It is a complicated film, it tells a linear story but follows multiple story archs and the film is very quiet which many people don't like surprisingly. Some people might find the ending alienating. But ultimately the film ends on an important social comment about humanity, modern society, age and so much more. It's a very interpretive film hence why it has such a dichotomous reception. Anyway, I'm rambling now, it's late and I'm tired.

Good day.
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1/10
A frustrating film that goes nowhere
modline15 December 2007
Warning: Spoilers
The Coen Brothers have succeeded in making what is possibly the most nihilistic film in the history of cinema, and in doing so they have divided the audience like Moses parting the Red Sea. A lot of people love this film and feel it is one of the greatest ever made, while I'm on the opposite side, thinking the film is too frustrating to be enjoyed.

The story, as you may know, revolves around Lleweleyn Moss (Josh Brolin) and, upon his discovery of a crime scene (a drug sale gone horribly wrong), the theft of two million dollars. From the moment he steals the money, Moss is followed by Anton Chigurh (Javier Bardem), a menacing figure who kills anyone who gets in his way. Along the way, we meet Sheriff Ed Thom Bell (Tommy Lee Jones), who really does nothing to advance the story any, since his character does little to stop the events which unload on screen. In his soliloquies, we learn that he has seen better times than the horror unraveling around him, and that this is no country for old men (thus the title).

And that's basically the story in a nutshell. There is virtually no development of characters, no backdrop to show us why Chigurh is involved and so evil, and no involvement of Bell's character. There is a brief appearance of Carson Wells (Woody Harrelson), who is hired to track down Moss and Chigurh by someone who obviously was behind the whole drug deal, yet we know nothing about who hired him (even the credits list the character as "Man who hires Wells"). After Wells fails, the "Man who hires Wells" then involves a band of Mexicans to track down Moss, and the story goes off the rails from there.

What is even more frustrating is the final quarter of the film, where not only do we not get any further development of character, we get the lead character killed off camera, a scene involving Chigurh and Moss' wife that is not fully realized, an out-of-the-blue car accident which doesn't do anything of any importance, and, yet, another meaningless soliloquy from Jones.

I truly do not understand the hype and love surrounding this film. When I saw the film, several people walked out, and there was a groan at the end of the movie and multiple apologies to loved ones from people had brought them to see what was to be the "movie of the year." Sure, the movie had great cinematography, great sound, and decent acting (it's a Coen Brother's film, would you expect less?) - the problem lies in the script and the lack of character development. There were some great scenes of tension, especially one involving Chigurh and a gas station owner and the toss of a coin, scenes which truly deserved to be in a better movie.

If you're looking for entertainment, the best advice here is to stay far away from this film.
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1/10
Better titles could have been: "No story"; "No Point"; "No Ending".
Navaros11 March 2008
Warning: Spoilers
No Country for Old Men is a very bad movie that is chockful of basic structural errors of storytelling & film-making, and common sense. But, hold on a minute. What I just said might be all wrong! An outmoded way of thinking. A viewpoint that simply does not have enough "intelligence" to appreciate the deep brilliant art that *is* "No Country".

It seems that these days if you make a movie that has no story, no point, and no ending --- that that is automatically a *masterpiece* that is worthy of universal critical and consumer acclaim, and a Best Picture Oscar. That in a nutshell, is *exactly* what No Country for Old Men is.

Now that "No Country" has paved the way for such "brilliant innovations", I can't wait to see what other "innovations" await films to come in the future. Maybe next in addition to masterpiece movies requiring there to be no story, no point, and no ending, they will also eventually further innovate by doing away with other things like actors and dialogue. Maybe mankind will eventually *evolve* to such a point of perfect enlightenment that films consisting entirely of slideshows of some kindergarten students' fingerpainting artwork will eventually be the recipient of Best Picture Oscar awards and universal acclaim.

"No Country" has taken a lot of flack for having a "controversial ending" --- but that is inaccurate phrasing. "No Country " has *no ending* at all. For it to have a "controversial ending" carries the prerequisite that it first *has* an ending. It doesn't! "No Country" is just a bunch of random scenes of a repressed homosexual, turned psychopath, who goes around shooting people with a weapon powered by a giant tank of compressed air. This random formula is even further randomized by not *bothering* to show many of his kills on-screen. Including the death of the main character, who is suddenly, inexplicably, shown as a corpse in the middle of the movie. Even though the movie had previously spent gratuitous amounts of screen-time showing him prepare for, evade, and engage in firefights with the psychopath. Yet no *zero* time is devoted to showing how he died. The randomness of showing trivial moments like the main character staring thoughtfully at a wall, and buying tent-poles from a camping store, are crafted with meticulous detail and given tons of screen-time. But the film's utter genius shines through *most of all* by not spending one second showing him die or struggle to survive in his final moments before he died. Just a random fade-in, and he's suddenly a corpse! The sheer *brilliance* of such artistic unconventional storytelling has never been seen in any film or book *ever* made before in the *history* of mankind. I wonder why? Why did it take until the year 2007 for man to finally reach this high watermark of storytelling utopia? Ah heck, I need to stop wondering, and be content to wallow in the fact that since I "don't get it", I'm simply an idiot.

The main character is an extremely banal hick so I had no emotional reaction whatsoever to him at any point in the movie, or to him magically fading-in as a corpse, but I'm sure the lack of any reason to care one iota about the main character is yet another of this film's amazing innovations. Layers upon layers, my friend! In several other cases, the movie makes it totally unclear if the psychopath killed his victim or not, because after trapping the victim, the scenes simply fades to black and then he is shown again outside the building later and the victims' fates are never revealed; they are never seen or mentioned in the movie again, as corpses or otherwise. One cannot assume he killed them, because in an early scene he spares a gas station attendant.

"No Country" also innovates the art of film-making by making it's psychopath killer, "the deepest film villain since Hannibal Lecter" (or, the universal acclaimists allege...and who wants to argue with *them*!). No Country's killer shows his compelling deepness by repeatedly shouting things like "CALL IT!" after he flips a coin. In another scene, he further shows his deepness by making such deeply thought-provoking statements as: "I won't tell you you can save yourself. You can't." *Clearly*, this is Pulitzer Prize-worthy dialogue and one of the great cinematic villains of all-time. Thanks, universal acclaimists, for being honest about this and giving this character all the credit he so richly deserves! Maybe in the sequel he can play Blackjack or Poker to determine if he will shoot someone with his airgun or not? There I go again with my bad ideas, he's *already* *soooooooo freakin' unbelievably complex!!!* that to add a further level of complexity to him, like Blackjack-playing on top of coin-flipping, would be too much to even *try *to comprehend without bursting a gasket in one's brain wiring.

Tommy Lee Jones plays a hick sheriff in this movie. He is a great actor, but he seems very bored in this role and it's like he's phoning in his performance. Perhaps he was disappointed when he read the script and realized the movie has no ending, and this made him not wanna put any energy or effort into the role. The other actors in No Country are all third-rate unknowns (other than Woody Harrelson who has a nonsensical, pointless cameo); maybe Tommy Lee was simply trying to dumb-down his acting down to their level. Whatever the case may be, it's definitely Tommy Lee Jones' worst performance ever. On second thought, I am probably wrong with everything I've just said in this paragraph. Really, Tommy Lee Jones' seemingly uninspired performance is probably just him tapping into the higher plane of existence upon which this whole enigmatic masterpiece of a movie so-good that normal human beings are barely fit to watch it, much less understand it, occupies.
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1/10
Too many plot holes to be good.
fraserstewart22 January 2008
Warning: Spoilers
My vote of awful may be a little exaggerated, but I can tell you when this film ended, the audience literally groaned. The story is about some guy who we don't know happening upon a drug deal that went horribly wrong then finding $2 million in cash and taking it.

This guy who we find out is called Lewellen (I don't know how to spell it sorry), suddenly grows a conscience and decide to help a dying drug dealer by bringing back water, almost getting himself killed in the process. I honestly as I watched, did not understand why he went back, it was only after we left that my wife explained that he went to take that water to that poor drug dealer.

Next we meet our bad guy, a man who has been arrested, escapes and can continue to kill literally dozens of people, even having shoot outs in hotels and main streets, without anyone either caring or phoning the police. This sort of thing must be perfectly normal in Texas, because at one point you have one guy firing a shotgun on the street and no one could care less, let alone phone the police.

There's the Sheriff, who's "trying" to help the "good guy", but couldn't really care. I mean wtf was he doing all day apart from lazing about reading the paper. Apart from anything else he's got a psycho running lose and like 10 dead Mexicans as well as two dead police officers. You'd think he'd be quite busy, but he's really not.

Anyway our bad guy is hunting the thief for the money, and then in steps Woody Harrelson who you assume is going to save the day, but gets shot within five minutes. Honestly even after he was shot I thought he was faking it and would come back and help our "hero", I honestly couldn't believe it. Then they have both hero and wife murdered off camera, and again you honestly cannot believe that it happened.

The worst thing of all though is the ending, you keep thinking that the bad guy will get caught, but no he gets away, after killing like 1 million people, and the film closes with our Sheriff who's done jack anyway talking about some dreams he had. I was literally astounded by this film, it started off well, but just when you were waiting for something to happen, like a showdown between psycho and thief, nothing happened. If you want to waste your money go watch this, otherwise pick something else.
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Nothing Could Possibly Be Worse Then This Awful Movie
McGrit11 January 2008
Warning: Spoilers
You can believe all the negative things being said about this movie. What's remarkable is that it's such a bad experience that it turns out to be the ultimate pallet cleanser. What I mean, all other movies you see after having to endure this awful film will seem less bad by comparison. I realized this while walking out of the "Aliens Vs Predator: Requiem" showing. It's a terrible movie in its own right but I found myself saying, "At least it wasn't as awful as NCFOM." That's not a joke or an over-exaggeration in any way. Walking out of NCFOM, you feel cheated, disappointed and even a bit angry. How is any film going to make you feel worse then that? I wasn't expecting anything coherent from AVP and that's what I got. Judging by the ratings here and a few critics that I read, I was expecting at least a decent film from NCFOM. For those that think this movie offers a deep theme or a hidden, complex agenda, you need to grow up.

The movie offers poor dialogue from the first scene on out. It's clichéd, needlessly cruel and the story itself is a trite disaster. The film exists only to jar the viewer and to attempt to be edgy and different. It offers nothing substantial, even in it's veiled attempts at allegory and a thematic message. It agitates the viewer at every level by callously killing any character they even half develop. What was the point of Woody's character? Why have the killer survive with no ramifications? Killing a main character (and his innocent wife) away from the camera is as poor as it gets. Let's not even discuss the ending, there are enough people that have mentioned that irritating lack of conclusion. I could go on but why bother? I'm not even going to remember the specifics of this film for very long. All I'll remember is the general unpleasant flavor it left and I'll remember that not many movies will leave such a poor taste. I'm not bitter. I'm grateful that going to the movies now has a bottom to the barrel in which to judge future films.

I want to thank the creators of this film. It single handedly sets up better experiences for the rest of the year because nothing could possibly be worse then this movie.
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10/10
"You don't have to do this."
lucasaq-116 November 2007
"You don't have to do this," repeated words in this lingering film, which really does not feel like a typical Coen Brothers film to me. Fargo, had its quirky character and its grotesque moments, but this film is all about a subdued natured intermixed with quick action. For what I expected, I got some of it, but also a bit more of a subdued air and timing than I expected. It would do things in spurts, action at the beginning then a lull and more thunder. It worked great for keeping one on edge, which Brolin did, excellently in the lead role lying awake thinking too hard. Jones too was good in a strong supporting role as a close to retirement sheriff who is on the outside shaking his head at the carnage and mayhem unleashed by the simple finding and taking of a satchel full of money.

The real gem and glue of the film though is Javier Bardem's menacing character who has his own brand of justice, which is extremely harsh and well insane. Even the one who claims to know him cannot even begin to stop or even slow him down. Bardem whom I have not had the pleasure of seeing in anything before is gold and like no other before looks to have the supporting actor award locked up in this performance. His presence is felt, even when he does not show up. That is something I have not seen in film well since probably The Third Man and Orson Welles' character Harry Lime.

I cannot really describe the film that well so I will suffice to say that is best modern western tale I have seen since The Three Burials of Melquiades, which also happened to have Tommy Lee Jones and was directed by him to boot. Another thing I noted was the lack of strong score. The filmmakers just seemed to let the sounds of the creaking boots and the desert landscape speak for the film. It felt natural and a bit menacing.
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1/10
Great, if you like 1/2 of a movie, with no ending...
georgeleague26 November 2007
Warning: Spoilers
The first half of this movie was great! Suspenseful, well acted, etc. Just as I was getting really fired up for the ending, the movie stopped, just STOPPED. Everyone in the audience was going "WTF?". What the hell just happened? I cannot believe the critics gave this a good review, nor can I believe the users are giving it such a high score. Towards the end, there are some characters that come into the movie, then disappear, and you have no idea who they are or why they are in the movie. And what the heck was Woody Harrelson's character there for? It could have been such a good movie, if it just hadn't stopped in the middle.
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1/10
Not as good as some folks would like to think
classiccateringco30 November 2007
Warning: Spoilers
First the good news, I did actually have to use a bit of brainpower while watching this, paying attention to each line and connecting the dots along the way. This was refreshingly non-Hollywood.

The actors did a decent job of making the cartoon characters into real people with lots of good line delivery, subtle expressions and feeling of realness. The style of the film was also a nice change from the norm, I liked the silences.

Now the bad news, it was still predictable (I knew that the movie would end after Tommy Lee Jones last monologue- don't ask me how, I just knew it).

About halfway through the film I realized that evil would win out since it played like a Steven Seagal movie in reverse (with an infallible anti-hero). Not impressive in the least.

Who was Woody Harrelson supposed to be? The Greek Chorus? His character was a waste of time.

Cliché after cliché characters (writers fault). Drug dealing Mexicans, bumbling deputies, smart sheriffs, clueless wives, nasty mother-in-laws. Yawn, when have I not seen all this before.

Did I just flat out disagree with the concepts behind it. Sure I did, cause I'm not addicted to TV news the way some folks are. In my experience the law enforcement actually works together and a person like the anti-hero would be called a mass murderer and hunted down. Suspension of disbelief only goes so far. It all points to bad writing. I'm sorry that someone was grappling so hard with the whole good vs. evil issue that they took the time to make something that is really a horror film into something it isn't.

Is it art? No way. Does it contribute anything lasting to society or it's genre? Not really, perhaps some technical movie-making stuff but generally no.

Don't waste your time on this one.
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