Saturday, June 27, 2009

No Country for Old Men

No country for old men poster

In the open stretches of West Texas, an assassin hunts welder Llewelyn Moss, who is in possession of two million dollars worth of drug money.

This movie overall was very, very good.  I know it came out several years ago, but I only watched it last night with my brother.  Essentially the film is about three men--Llewelyn Moss (played by Josh Brolin, whom I had no idea was even in this movie), the Sheriff Ed Bell (Tommy Lee Jones), and the assassin and sociopathic killer, Anton Chigurh (Javier Bardem).  Moss appears on Chigurh's radar (some place you don't want to be) when he comes across a drug deal gone wrong and steals two million dollars.  A wealthy man involved in the deal hires Chigurh to retrieve the money and kill Moss.  Jones is the aging sheriff of the Texas town Moss lives in.

Anton Chigurh from No country for old men

Beyond being characters in the movie, it's clear that Moss, Chigurh, and Bell are symbols.  Chigurh is the Angel of Death, unstoppable and implacable.  Everyone who "sees" him has to die.  Moss represents the Youth response to death--basically, he thinks he can cheat death.  But Bell, much older and wiser, knows you can't cheat death.  So he simply tries to hide from it.

One thing I absolutely loved about this film was the landscape--it is exactly like the place I grew up in, before they started building suburbs everywhere.  It's endless vistas and far-distant mountains and absolute nothingness, and I love it.  In fact, my favorite movie of all time, Thunderheart, has a similarly invoked landscape and mood to it; and definitely brought a quality of nostalgia to movie, for me at least.

Something I did not like about the movie was that it was way too long.  Once Moss's storyline is concluded, the narrative of the film was pretty much over, and it needed to wrap up and finish.  But instead it goes on for another 40-ish minutes!  I started to get bored.  I know they kept the extra time in because it explains more of the symbolism, but come on.  Like I give a freaking frack about symbolism. 

Besides that, however, the first hour of the movie is a great, tense, cat-and-mouse story where the admirably intelligent and clever Moss tries to outwit the fiendishly dangerous Chigurh.  I would recommend this movie to just about anyone.

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