No Country For Old Men (15)



Thriller (2007)
122mins US

Starring: Tommy Lee Jones, Javier Bardem, Josh Brolin, Woody Harrelson, Kelly Macdonald
Director: Joel Coen, Ethan Coen
Writer(s): Joel Coen, Ethan Coen
Listings: London | Rest of UK and Ireland

Llewelyn Moss, one of life's eternal dreamers, thinks he has hit the jackpot when he stumbles on the bloody aftermath of a drugs deal, and a suitcase containing a cool $2.4 million. Unfortunately, Llewelyn is caught in the act by the dealers and they dispatch twisted hit man Anton Chigurh to kill the thief and return the cash. As Llewelyn and Anton begin a deadly game of cat and mouse across the barren Texan landscape, Sheriff Ed Tom Bell gives chase, following Anton's trail of destruction with an eye to apprehending this most sadistic and merciless of serial killers.

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LondonNet Film Review
No Country For Old Men

Writer-directors Joel and Ethan Coen orchestrate an unbearably tense game of cat-and-mouse against the barren Texan borderlands in this frequently bloody thriller, based on the book by Cormac McCarthy...

No Country For Old Men. Paramount Pictures UK.Surpassing the near-perfect 1996 caper Fargo, No Country For Old Men is a breathtaking demonstration of concise storytelling and filmmaking brio, coupled with powerful performances and the blackest humour. It is unquestionably one of the best films of this or any year.

The menacing tone is established from the offset when a police officer takes a telephone call and cheerfully tells a superior, "Yes sir, I got it under control," oblivious to the serial killer creeping up behind him. No one is immune from that most cruel and unforgiving mistress, fate. "This country's hard on people... you can't stop what's coming," remarks one elderly figure, catching scent of the dread and foreboding that pervades every frame.

No Country For Old Men. Paramount Pictures UK.The Coens use violence sparingly and to devastating effect. Most of the protagonists end up on a mortuary slab; their deaths anything but painless at the hands of Javier Bardem's psychopath - a humourless, menacing and relentless hunter with his own twisted morality. A wife or girlfriend, who stumbles unwittingly into the fray, is acceptable collateral damage, paying the price for their significant other's sins. "You bring the money and I'll let her go, else she's accountable," the assassin tells one spouse without a flicker of compassion.

The sucker in question is trailer park loser Llewelyn Moss (Josh Brolin), who thinks he has hit the jackpot when he stumbles on the aftermath of a drugs deal, and a suitcase containing USD2.4 million. Unfortunately, Llewelyn is caught stealing the cash by the dealers and they despatch hit man Anton Chigurh (Bardem) to kill the thief and reclaim their loot. As the killer edges closer to his prey, Sheriff Ed Tom Bell (Tommy Lee Jones) gives chase, following Anton's trail of destruction, shadowed by bounty hunter Carson Wells (Woody Harrelson).

No Country For Old Men. Paramount Pictures UK.No Country For Old Men holds us in a vicelike grip as these men slowly gravitate towards one another, destined to collide in a hail of bullets. The Coens crank up the tension until we're holding our breath, knuckles white with nervous anticipation. Our only respite is a bravura set piece like a late night shootout that spills onto the streets, or the retrieval of the stolen money from its hiding place in a motel room.

Bardem chills to the bone with a genuinely discomfiting portrayal of an unstoppable angel of death, with scintillating turns from Brolin and Jones, the latter tingeing his role with humour almost as dry as the Texan desert. "It's a mess, ain't it?" quips Ed's hapless deputy, Wendell (Garret Dillahunt). "If it ain't, it'll do 'til the mess gets here," replies the sheriff. It'll do very, very nicely.

- Jo Planter


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