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Overall Rating

Worth A Look: 16.13%
Average: 4.03%
Pretty Bad: 3.23%
Total Crap: 5.65%

7 reviews, 82 user ratings

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No Country for Old Men
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by Lybarger

"But fine real estate for cinema."
5 stars

‘No Country for Old Men’ is a grim and unsettling film that curiously makes its viewer beg for more of the same. In adapting Cormac McCarthy’s 2005 novel, sibling writer-directors Joel and Ethan Coen, the team behind ‘Fargo’ and ‘O Brother Where Art Thou?,' keep their quirky humor in check and stare unflinchingly at the worst humanity has to offer. As a result, the duo may have created their most accomplished and compelling movie to date.

The Coens have always penned lively dialogue (“We felt the institution no longer had anything to offer us,” says John Goodman, justifying his prison break in “Raising Arizona”) and demonstrated visual panache (the wood chipper scene in “Fargo” is hard to forget).

But the characters in “No Country for Old Men,” despite being larger than life, seem more real and believable. It’s much easier to get worked up over their outcomes than wondering how the broad characters in “Intolerable Cruelty” might fare.

It also doesn’t hurt that the new film is loaded with several first-rate performers who can make potentially outlandish situations seem real. Tommy Lee Jones stars as Ed Tom Bell, a grizzled, third-generation lawman who has stumbled upon a grizzly case that makes anything he’s handled before seem tame.

An antelope hunter named Llewellyn Moss (Josh Brolin) discovers the aftermath of a drug deal that turned into a massacre. The only survivor of the class is a mortally-wounded man who’s only able to beg for water, which Llewellyn doesn’t have.

In what seems like a major stroke of luck, he discovers a case of money that no one at the site of the debacle has lived to collect. He takes it home to his trailer park, bewildering his wife (Scottish actress Kelly Macdonald).

The seemingly untraceable fortune actually has several people eager to claim it. A flashy hired gun named Carson Wells (Woody Harrelson) has the dual task of retrieving the money and finding another fellow who’s after it.

Anton Chigurh (Javier Bardem, obliterating his Spanish accent) may have been hired initially to find the cash, but he quickly leaves a trail of blood as long as the Nile. With his drooping bangs, Chigurh looks almost comical from a distance. His cold, brown eyes, however, betray how dangerous he can be. He murders anyone who gets in his way. And he often seems to dispatch people simply for pleasure.

He’s also as inventive as he is arbitrarily cruel. He can turn air tanks into a both a weapon and a door opener. Think of his as a Satanic McGuyver. Barden also projects the right blend of menace and buffoonery that makes each of Chigurh’s attacks seem appropriately shocking.

As Chigurh’s quarry, Brolin is appropriately compelling. He may have been dumb to get himself in his current predicament, but he’s resourceful enough to survive longer than anyone else who crosses Chigurh’s path. Brolin has a likable sad sack quality to makes you wish he could get out of his grim situation.

Following all of the sordid events is Jones’ Earl Tom. The sheriff can read a crime scene with astonish accuracy, but correctly worries that it will take a Herculean effort to prevent a greater bloodbath. Jones demonstrates a fascinating vulnerability that belies his tough guy image and manages to make a character who functions primarily as a narrator engaging on his own terms.

In addition to three terrific lead performances, the Coens manage to deliver some of their usual wordplay. When asked how dangerous Chigurh is, Wells simply replies, “Compared to what? The bubonic plague?” And thanks to McCarthy’s plotline, they also have some genuinely surprising plot twists. The film constantly throws off a viewer’s expectations.

“No Country for Old Men” is sometimes a difficult film to watch because it’s unflinchingly grim and often leaves viewers to reach their own decisions about what happened.

But the film lingers in the brain long after the credits start rolling and proves the Coen’s can examine the frailty of the human heart as skillfully as they can manipulate words and images.

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originally posted: 12/04/07 16:04:20
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OFFICIAL SELECTION: 2007 Toronto International Film Festival For more in the 2007 Toronto International Film Festival series, click here.

User Comments

9/14/17 morris campbell good not great 4 stars
5/21/15 stanley welles muscular, exact and thrilling 5 stars
12/08/10 Dennis Excellent film; you have to view it more than once. 5 stars
11/12/10 Josie Cotton is a goddess A decent flick, but doesn't compare to the Coehn bros. older films 3 stars
6/11/10 Flathead King A very entertaining film. 5 stars
6/01/10 User Name Once you open Pandora's Box, there's no stopping what comes spilling out. 4 stars
3/05/10 dennis engelke kept me one the edge 5 stars
7/08/09 *Holy_J@lapeno* You have to watch it 3 times to finally say...ok this movie isnt that bad 4 stars
5/11/09 R Lan Repeating what everybody was said. A very good movie that was hurt by its ending. 4 stars
5/06/09 MP Bartley A tightly wound, precisely measured and overwhelmingly cruel masterpiece. 5 stars
3/26/09 mariah great movie but wasnt best movie of '07... 5 stars
1/09/09 Anonymous. chigurh was one of the weirdest movie killers ever. 5 stars
12/07/08 TheViper Stunning achievement, have watched it over and over. 5 stars
11/24/08 brian Has everything but a satisfying resolution. 5 stars
9/22/08 Charles Tatum Well done, but too many "Coenisms" 4 stars
9/17/08 Stu Amazing film with one of the BEST ENDINGS ever. Wildly entertaining and deeply haunting 5 stars
8/18/08 jonathantstorm ending sucked 1 stars
8/11/08 Jon G Definition of a Man Flick 5 stars
8/03/08 Saravanan Srinivasan Yet another brilliant stuff from Coehn Bro.Fantastic acting by Javier Bardem &Josh Brolin 4 stars
7/23/08 Ivana Mann That ending makes a Zen riddle look like a first-grade math problem. Absolute poo! 1 stars
7/15/08 Matt I know I'm not going to be popular for saying this...but this is a shower of crap. 1 stars
6/22/08 AnnieG Although not very unique, this film has some good lines and characters. 3 stars
6/12/08 Jayson One of the best. Ever. 5 stars
5/13/08 Yo Mama if that crazy cracker Javier came to my hood i'd pop a cap in his ass!!!!! 5 stars
5/05/08 Phil M. Afficiando Watch the bonus material first especially "Diary of ...". to appreciate the film itself 4 stars
4/28/08 guisada awesome 5 stars
4/14/08 Colleen Cousineau Terrible ending, other then that, a great thriller 5 stars
4/13/08 DG Based on Chaucers - Pardoner's Tale. Chigurh is death 4 stars
4/10/08 ravenmad i tell you, it was javier's hair cut that creeped me most. Awesome film. Intense. 5 stars
3/26/08 Mike Nice thriller, terrible ending, what in the HELL was {that} all about 4 stars
3/25/08 action movie fan no country for action fans-okay story, but too slow 2 stars
3/22/08 Joe Smaltz started out pretty good but ended with out an ending 1 stars
3/20/08 Nick T Riveting though the ending caught me by suprise but it made me think about the events 5 stars
3/19/08 The real ED Ed bob - people like you should have life violently revoked. Call it.. friendo. 5 stars
3/18/08 AD Moss represents Bell's father - 20 years younger than him, get it? 5 stars
3/18/08 RF Great movie. Brillantly Intense and brilliantly acted. Well deserved Oscars. 5 stars
3/17/08 Amit One of the few films that has value, only people with some intelligence can appreciate it 5 stars
3/17/08 Danny I have no idea what happened at the end. Overrated. 3 stars
3/16/08 Julie Total waste of time!!! 1 stars
3/14/08 Mr Hype Good... but the hype is silly, and undeserving to say the least 4 stars
3/13/08 daniel wolfe ending let me down,,,,,,great for 3 / 4 's of movie, but boring ending !!! 4 stars
3/09/08 Freddy A solid, involoving film that seems to lose impetus in the last 20 minutes 4 stars
3/05/08 Louise A well-made and gripping film - such a shame about the weak ending! 4 stars
3/03/08 ladavies The Coen brothers at the Oscars...idiot savants?? Great movie! 5 stars
3/01/08 mormor613 Not good for my blood pressure, but worth it 5 stars
2/18/08 ang Anton Chigurh one of the best villains/Great Movie but ending was crappy! 4 stars
2/12/08 Monday Morning Riveting, but seemed to end early - I missed closure on several plotlines/characters 4 stars
2/11/08 Stefan Great acting but uncanny and towards the end, totally unrealistic plot 3 stars
2/03/08 ad instant classic 5 stars
2/02/08 Quigley A masterfully crafted film. Will go down as an American classic and a Coen Bros masterpiece 5 stars
1/30/08 ronp the ending sucked. left too many doors opened. the rest of movie was powerful 4 stars
1/26/08 proper amateur film critic Brutal and intense, its an enigmatic, metaphysical mindgame 4 stars
1/24/08 Mike O I don't know what the big deal is. 2 stars
1/24/08 synthman Another high water mark from American geniuses 5 stars
1/23/08 mr.mike Fairly weak ending keeps it from a 5 star rating. 4 stars
1/18/08 Buttley Great Film, extremely suspenseful and wonderfully acted. Enjoy your Oscar, Javier. 5 stars
1/13/08 JamieD Starts off masterfull, then limps toward the end and dies. 1 stars
1/06/08 NatalieH I loved everything about this film, the sountrack, Javier Bardem & Tommy Lee Jones acting! 5 stars
1/01/08 hardy campbell I am obsessed with this film, and I am NEVER obsessed with films. 5 stars
12/26/07 Vagile Superb 5 stars
12/26/07 Ed Bob Sucks big harry donky balls 1 stars
12/18/07 Tim O'Donnell Great movie--captures a great book 5 stars
12/14/07 Mike Erickson Suspenseful, Violent, and Funny - How they accomplished this I dont know 5 stars
12/11/07 Shawn Best picture of the year 5 stars
12/09/07 Edward Great - taking my son - it will be talked about years later. 5 stars
12/08/07 orpy Wildly entertaining! I love that bad guy! 4 stars
12/05/07 ES This will be a movie people look back on and think- ok, maybe it wasn't that good after all 3 stars
12/03/07 Bnorm Great movie, wonderful villain and is violent witouth being gratutious. the ending was bad 5 stars
12/02/07 george1039 Everything and I mean everything a movie should be 5 stars
12/02/07 Michael Thoughtful, violent, riveting. Brilliantly acted. 5 stars
12/01/07 Jefenator Joel & Ethan: Quit now - you'll never top it! 5 stars
11/28/07 bucslim The "I don't get it" crowd doesn't get it 5 stars
11/27/07 Patrick Go see this movie, now!!! 5 stars
11/27/07 Ole Man Bourbon A lot of fun to follow these characters. Classic movie. 5 stars
11/26/07 john wow, Mr. Brooks and Hannibal step aside, eh..thoughtful, fun, fine 5 stars
11/25/07 David Vivat Flat and nearly incomprehensible 2 stars
11/25/07 R.W.Welch Neat script and villian. Trails off some towards the end. B+ 4 stars
11/19/07 Sully Javier Bardem=Anthony Hopkins in Silence of the Lambs, he's that scary 5 stars
11/12/07 DonnyM Instant Classic. Cohen bros hit oil. 5 stars
11/11/07 reddye5 See this film!!!! That's all you need to read. 5 stars
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  09-Nov-2007 (R)
  DVD: 11-Mar-2008



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