Director(s): Joel & Ethan Coen
Starring: Tommy Lee Jones, Javier Bardem, Josh Brolin, Woody Harrelson, Kelly Macdonald
Number 165 on the IMDb top 250.
If you read last month’s Movie 50/50, you’ll know already that I was very excited about watching No Country for Old Men. I have seen this movie many times before, and have evangelised about it to everyone who has given me the opportunity to do so. I bought it for someone as a work Secret Santa present because I felt they needed it in their life, and just this week I instructed my other half that he absolutely had to watch this film!
Watching this film was not a new experience for me, but I was incredibly excited about the opportunity to review it properly…and of course to talk about it some more.
I don’t use this word lightly, but No Country for Old Men is a masterpiece. There is simply no other way to describe it! If I was reviewing this movie in my usual fashion, I wouldn’t even bother with the subheading for The Bad, as there would be nothing to file under it. It is completely flawless, and a film which only gets more satisfying and more interesting with repeated watches.
Roger Deakins is the man behind the cinematography for this movie, and this film fully confirms why he is my favourite cinematographer. This film is so, so beautifully shot, and right from the start with the beautifully barren landscapes, you know you’re in for a visual treat. The direction of the brothers Coen is exquisite also, and this is unquestionably my favourite of their movies.
One of the most incredible things about this film for me is the sound design. No Country is fairly unique in the sense that it has no musical score, save from a very brief interlude at the beginning, and in the end credits. In the absence of a conventional score, the sound design has to be commended as it does an incredible job in it’s place. This film is ridiculously tense any way, but without the music to force you into feeling something, it is even more nerve-shredding. Every sense is heightened, especially hearing, as every tiny sound is amplified, and expertly used.
The cast are also exceptional, and for Tommy Lee Jones, Josh Brolin and Javier Bardem, this film features my favourite performances from each of them. Bardem in particular needs special mentioning. As Anton Chigurh, Bardem gives us arguably one of the most amazing villains in movie history, cutting an imposing figure that makes you feel nervous every time he is on screen! Chigurh is so methodical in everything that he does that he makes for a truly unsettling and calculating villain. He says so much in saying so little, and it is impossible to take your eyes off him.
Thematically this film is very rich as well, covering things such as chance, free-will and predestination, and whilst a deeper level of understanding is there if you want it, it can also be enjoyed as a very entertaining, and highly watchable crime drama.
I could honestly talk about this movie forever, but it really does speak for itself. It is an incredible movie, and one which thoroughly deserved the awards it received. If you haven’t seen it before, I urge you to give it a watch. It is perfect, and indeed the only problem with it is that it appears so low on the IMDb top 250, when in my mind, it should be a lot higher!
What are your thoughts on No Country for Old Men? Let me know in the comments below, or send me a tweet!
The coin has been flipped (heads again…this streak will end soon, I’m sure of it!), and the random number generated (215), so next month I will be watching Monsters, Inc.! Don’t forget, you can get involved and watch along as well, I will be tweeting out what day I’ll be watching this, so look out for that, and check out #Movie5050 for more updates!