The book “No Country for Old Men” written by Cormac McCarthy hit the shelves in 2005 and instantly became a best seller receiving great reviews and nominated for multiple awards. The story, set in Texas close to the Mexican border focuses on three main characters who find themselves locked in a game of cat and mouse that has drastic consequences for anyone that gets involved. This is a complex modern western story that harps back to the old through the personal narration of an ageing Sheriff – Tom Bell, but cleverly weaves the old with the new via Llewellyn Moss an ex Vietnam vet and Anton Chigurgh as an ice cold hitman.
This story has many layers and it would take some real talent to respectfully bring it to the big screen and make it a success. By the end of 2005, brothers Joel and Ethan Coen had been approached and they agreed to write the script and direct the Film. The Coen Brothers have a well-earned reputation for making truly unique films that have a dark underlying humour, many of then winning multiple awards such as Fargo that went on to win two Academy Awards. No Country For Old Men hit the screens in 2007 and became the Coen Brothers biggest box office hit to that date. Critically acclaimed, the movie went on to win 3 BAFTA's, 2 Golden Globe's and 4 Academy Awards including Best Motion Picture of the Year 2008. So to say that the Coen Brothers adaptation of the book was nothing short of brilliant is no overstatement, in fact personally, I had overlooked this movie until watching it with friends in 2015 and was completely blown away by it.
It is not just the script and cinematography that is excellent in this film, but the casting of the three main characters that really makes this film stand out. Josh Brolin plays Llewelyn Moss; he pulls off a career performance bringing an honest rawness to the character. Tommy Lee Jones is Sheriff Ed Tom Bell – Jones has had an award-winning career and pulls on all his experience to provide a brilliant performance, his features are as harsh as the environment and his scratchy southern accent delivers the narration in a suitably haunting fashion. But the performance of Javier Bardem who plays the psychotic hitman Anton Chigurh is nothing short of genius. He went onto win a BAFTA, a Golden Globe and an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor and thoroughly deserved to win each of these awards. The first time I watched this movie I could not take my eyes off the screen throughout, but when Bardem appears he is just magnetic – totally convincing as the character and terrifying.
Although this film is spectacular in many ways, it has to be said that it really is quite horrific in places. If you are not keen on the sight of blood (well lots and lots of blood) then this could be a challenge for you. But if you are looking for a quality movie that delivers on every level, look no further than “No Country for Old Men” – it really is a cinematic masterpiece.
Update: No Country For All Men is now available on Netflix US. You can also rent it on Amazon but it is not included with the Prime subscription.