Overall Grade: (A+)
Despite a methodical pace this film is made great by excellent characters and strong story telling that create many tense situations.
The Coen Brothers have a long resume of great projects but none were as critically acclaimed as “No Country For Old Men”. The dark crime-thriller took home four Oscars in 2008 including Motion Picture of the Year, and Best Achievement in Directing.
The cast was filled by some talented actors such as Josh Brolin (Oldboy 2013), Tommy Lee Jones (The Family 2013) and Woody Harrelson (Out of the Furnace 2013). Stealing the show with his performance was the relatively unknown Javier Bardem (Skyfall 2012) who won the Oscar as well for Supporting Actor.
In the vast openness of rural Texas a common hunter (Brolin) out on a normal trip in the countryside stumbles across a drug deal turned shootout near the Rio Grande. No one is left alive and out in the middle of nowhere he doesn’t suspect any survivors. He decides to take a case full of money from one of the trucks and soon he finds his life in danger as an ominous killer (Bardem) begins to hunt him down, killing anyone he crosses. Trying to keep a step ahead, this hunter will find eluding this dangerous man nearly impossible.
This was another example of a simple plot theme (innocent man finds money decides to take it and his life falls apart) but with excellent performances by the cast and creativity in the characters, not to mention the script, are what make this an excellent film. Brolin was excellent in the lead and captured the true feel of a rough around the edges Texan.
Tommy Lee Jones was good but his role mostly consisted of scenes filled with narrative to deliver the underlying meaning of the film so his mood was steadily somber. Bardem was the true star of this one, with the creativity put into the character Bardem’s delivery was flawless, and hauntingly creepy. With his every scene you are on the edge of your seat not knowing what he will say or do next and the result was truly captivating cinema.
Yes the pace is very slow but for the most part it keeps a smooth flow as it tells itself. There were a few lulls in the story with some very slow imagery but it didn’t hinder the overall entertainment in my opinion because these instances were a fair exchange for the gripping moments in the film. The Coen Brothers created an ominous setting in rural Texas and with some great camera work you get pulled in to the locations, and the script. Throughout the film you are privy to many emotions from nail biting moments of tensity, to fear, to the dramatic vibe the creators intended.
Despite the good story and compelling writing it all returns back to the performance of Javier Bardem as the films antagonist. He completely intrigues every time he is on the screen and the methodical game of cat-and-mouse between him and Brolin’s character was very thrilling. Throughout it is hard to predict the outcome of the plot so your interest is kept till the end credits (although they do take their time to come around) with some slow paced closing scenes.
I would have liked to have seen more from the path Tommy Lee Jones’ character took in the film. His narratives were to serve as the films dramatic meaning but with his dialogue being fit into some rather mindless conversations, added with his thick accent, made it hard to understand at time thus some of the meaning did not deliver as it should have. Overall this was a very entertaining film and the Coen Brothers succeeded in their intentions. The acting in this one is superb and if you have not seen this one yet, enjoy, it’s a top tier crime-drama.
Time: 122 min
MPAA Rating: R (For strong graphic violence and some language)