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No Country For Old Men (2007)

There Are No Clean Getaways.

Rating: 10/10

Running Time: 122 minutes

US Certificate: R UK Certificate: 15


In a year full of cinematic achievements—There Will Be Blood, The Diving Bell and the Butterfly, and even quirky little Juno, the Coen brothers’ No Country for Old Men manages to stand above the rest and earn its Best Picture Oscar. It’s a movie lover’s movie, a pure story that’s part crime drama, part Western, and full of memorable performances and stunning cinematography. This is the Coens at their peak.

After finding the remains of a drug deal gone bad in the Texas desert—remains that include not only dead bodies and heroin, but a case containing two million dollars— Llewelyn Moss (Josh Brolin) decides to keep the findings to and for himself. Things go awry, as often happens when there’s stolen drug money, and Moss finds himself tracked by a crazy killer with beautifully bad hair, Anton Chigurh (Javier Bardem), who kills just about anyone that moves. Meanwhile, back at the ranch, Sheriff Ed Tom Bell (Tommy Lee Jones) tries desperately to track down Moss—or Chigurh—before the body count grows.

This is different than most of the Coen films of late, not an O Brother, Where Art Thou? but more along the lines of their directorial debut Blood Simple. What it really is, though, is a faithful adaptation of Cormac McCarthy’s novel, which automatically distances itself from the typical Coen outing. There’s still some dark humor, and there’s the character who, just like Fargo’s Marge Gunderson, just doesn’t understand what the world’s become around them—but No Country feels like the grown up version of the kid who was always ahead of his peers, but who now seems to have taken everything he’s learned and used it to make the best … whatever it is he’s good at. Every aspect of this film is spot on, from the (almost complete lack of) music to the costume design, but it’s definitely the three main actors who take it to another level. Jones is the epitome of a weary sheriff looking for some sore of answer, and Brolin, once again, shines as the man who chooses to risk it all for a suitcase of money. It’s Bardem, though, that has created the creepiest psycho the screen has seen in a long time—sure he’s a crook, but he’s in it for the killing, and when an actor can deaden his eyes enough to scare you even with that wacky hairdo, you know you’re in the presence of greatness.

Overall, even with its overflow of critical acclaim, No Country for Old Men should satisfy just about anyone who loves a good film, and has actually earned the right to call itself by the vastly overused title “instant classic.”

It's Got: All the makings of a classic, plus Javier Bardem’s hair.

It Needs: Better special features.

DVD Extras Three Featurettes: "The Making of No Country for Old Men," "Working with the Coens," "Diary of a Country Sheriff,” Trailers. DVD Extras Rating: 4/10


Blood Simple, Fargo, The Ladykillers


Take a crime drama, add some modern-day Western-ness, throw in some dark humor, and watch some perfectly cast actors act their socks off, and you’ve got the most deserving Best Picture winner in years.

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