"Nihilistic, Hopeless Thriller"
NO COUNTRY FOR OLD MEN is the new thriller from Academy Award®-winning filmmakers Joel and Ethan Coen, based on the novel by Pulitzer Prize-winning Cormac McCarthy. The movie is set in the 1980s and presents a new “vision” of the Western film genre, with rustlers giving way to drug-runners and the small towns having become free-fire zones between rival Mexican drug runners.
The story begins when a local Texan, Llewelyn Moss (played by Josh Brolin), is out hunting and finds a pickup truck full of heroin surrounded by a group of dead men. Moss finds another dead man nearby with two million dollars. Moss takes the money. This sets off a chain reaction of catastrophic violence that not even the law, especially the local sheriff, Sheriff Bell (played by Tommy Lee Jones), can stop.
When the money is found missing by other drug dealers, Moss is suddenly thrust into a run for his life. Not knowing how they are tracking him, Moss tries to evade his pursuers and protect his wife, Carla Jean (played by Kelly MacDonald), at the same time. The main threat is a killer named Anton Chigurh (played by Javier Bardem) who heartlessly kills almost anyone crossing his path. Chigurh is introduced violently as he strangles a police officer to death. Murder after murder after murder follows. This crime spree feeds into the personal “crisis” that Sheriff Bell is experiencing as he remembers the old days and can’t fully comprehend how modern times have become so vile and criminal (thus the title of the movie).
NO COUNTRY FOR OLD MEN is a little too slowly paced to be considered an action thriller, although it does have its suspenseful moments and keeps viewers guessing what will happen next. The story is a bit more weak. The audeince never fully understands why Llewelyn, a blue-collar, everyday sort of character, is so nonchalant about finding a group of dead bodies with hundreds of pounds of drugs and over two million dollars in cash. When he comes home with the cash, it’s as if nothing had ever happened. Also, other than being a cold-hearted killer, Chigurh’s “story” is never brought completely into the plot involving Moss and Sheriff Bell. The directing and cinematography are well done, but nothing unique or creative. Jones certainly gives the best performance of the cast but is still supported well by the actors who “share” much more screen time than he is given. Woody Harrelson makes a nice cameo but plays a character that is a typical role for him and that doesn’t seem to be much of a challenge to his talent.
The movie has a surprisingly small amount of foul language and should be complimented on the absence of any sort of sexual content and only one brief scene of partial nudity, and that not in a sexual context. Religious elements are also almost entirely left out of the movie, except for one ironic line where Sheriff Bell states that “he hoped God would find him when he got old, but God had never had much of an opinion of him.”
Overall, the movie has an average plot of a good guy being chased by bad guys. There’s not much more than that we understand from the story. The biggest turn off, of course, is the relentless violence and quiet disturbing depiction of multiple murders, not to mention the movie’s rather pointless, hopeless, postmodern ending. While the killings aren’t as gory as many movies, it still has its fill of blood and leaves the viewer feeling “sick” or “dirty” for being exposed to so much senseless violence.
(HHH, APAPAP, Ab, B, LL, VVV, N, DD, MM) Very strong humanist, nihilistic, hopeless worldview with a very negative portrayal of modern America where American society has clearly broken down into a heartless desire for money with the police unable to stop brutal killers and corrupt drug dealers, plus a reference by a policeman to God’s uncaring attitude, but two characters do wonder why society has become so vile and violent, with one suggesting that a lack of manners is a major cause; about 15 obscenities and five profanities; very strong brutal, somewhat graphic violence mostly involving multiple murders and pointblank shootings; one scene with partial male nudity; no alcohol use; no drug use, but smoking and references to illegal drug running; and, lying, kidnapping, moral relativism, racism, blackmail, bad parent models, other bad role models.
NO COUNTRY FOR OLD MEN begins when a Texas hunter, Llewelyn Moss, finds a truck full of heroin surrounded by dead men. Another dead man nearby has two million dollars in a fat briefcase. Moss takes the money. This sets off a chain reaction of catastrophic violence that not even the law, including the local sheriff, can stop. The main threat is a killer named Anton, who heartlessly kills nearly anyone crossing his path. Not knowing how he is being tracked, Moss tries to evade his pursuers and protect his wife, Carla Jean, at the same time.
This movie has a surprisingly small amount of foul language and no graphic sex or nudity. Religious content is also almost left entirely out of the movie, however, except for one ironic line. The script contains an average plot of an average guy being chased by bad guys. The biggest turn off is the relentless violence and disturbing depiction of multiple murders, not to mention the movie’s nihilistic, hopeless ending. While the killings aren’t as gory as other movies, they still leave the viewer feeling “dirty” for being exposed to so much senseless violence.