User Reviews (1,599)

  • motta80-216 May 2007
    10/10
    Coens firing on all cylinders. Brilliant.
    Warning: Spoilers
    If this doesn't end my year in the top two films of the year then we are in for one hell of an awesome year of movies.

    The new film from two of the best filmmakers working today No Country For Old Men shows the talents of the Coen Brothers on top form. After a couple of disappointments (Intolerable Cruelty had flashes of Coen genius but felt more of a Coen imitation than the real thing; Ladykillers had the odd funny moment but was the blandest film the brothers ever made, and there's just no excusing Marlon Wayans!) they knock this violent western drama out of the park.

    More in the vein of their superb early mostly-serious efforts Blood Simple and Miller's Crossing (my personal favourite of the Coen back catalogue) No Country For Old Men is a slow-moving, character-driven masterpiece about uncompromising and uncompromised characters. It is very violent and bloody and not always for the squeamish.

    Shot through with moments of humour these come, as in life, from real situations and observations so don't be fooled into thinking this will be the serious film with goofy-characters Coens of Fargo. No Country For Old Men is a tough, gritty story.

    The unrelenting pace may take its time but you are gripped every moment. This is a thriller that genuinely thrills.

    Javier Bardem gives the best performance of his career. And, yes, I have seen The Sea Inside and he in superb in that but here he is simply extraordinary. It is a portrayal of unrelenting evil, of true derangement, of a human being with no shreds of humanity that ranks at the very top of studied film psychopaths. And I say film not movie because this is not a clichéd character. This is not a character whose lunacy you enjoy over popcorn. This is one of the most frightening performances ever committed to celluloid. I felt truly nervous of what was going to happen every time he walked on screen.

    Josh Brolin essentially carries the bulk of the movie and he is excellent in a role that challenges him. I have never seen him perform to this level and if Bardem didn't steal the film you'd be talking about Brolin all the way home. As it is this gives him a showcase for his talents that should see him get a lot more attention.

    Tommy Lee Jones is used sparingly but to great effect. Sounding more like Michael Parks than ever before his scenes pepper the movie with a wearied view on a world he doesn't really like or understand to great effect.

    I did find Stephen Root a little distracting as i have never seen him in a serious role before and he just looks amusing but he is in very little.

    Roger Deakins' cinematography is breathtaking as usual and the Coens' script is superbly crafted. There are moments, almost asides from the main plot, that would be superfluous in most scripts and excised in most studio films but which work perfectly in the overall context of the movie as only the Coens can achieve. One scene featuring Bardem in a gas station is up there with the best scenes i have ever seen on film.

    I have not gone into the plot here because I saw this film having not read Cormac McCarthy novel and knowing little other than the basic log-line - a man out hunting comes upon a scene of dead bodies, guns, drugs and money on the Mexican border and comes to the attention of both those behind the scene and a local world-wearied sheriff - and i think that's the way to see this film.

    Go in knowing as little as you can but knowing at least this: this is a serious, violent, slow-paced character piece from the Coens. This is not a Fargo. If you are squeamish don't see it. If you have a short-attention span don't see it. If you only love the Coens for their fantastic comedies like O Brother and Big Lebowski and the comedy/thriller Fargo don't see it. But if you want to see an intelligent, superbly acted, powerful, beautiful cinematic treat that will remind you of the true power of cinema see it, see it, see it. It's a masterpiece. Bravo Ethan and Joel.
  • Chilangojoe12 November 2007
    5/10
    Beneath the eye-catching photography and violence, and the good acting, there lies an empty plot
    Warning: Spoilers
    Beneath the eye-catching photography and violence, and the good acting, there lies an empty plot

    To call this "film of the year" is to ignore that the world is a big place, and full of films that are a lot better.

    This film simply didn't live up to the critical acclaim it garnered prior to release. Yes, Tommy Lee Jones does a good turn, as does Josh Brolin and Javier Bardem is somewhat unusual. The bleak countryside is well filmed and one of the reasons I cannot forswear multiplexes, and the violence also grabs the viewer's attention, but even that artifice wears off as the violence simply becomes monotonous.

    The critics have uncovered nuances that separate this film from the classic Hollywood blood-and-guts formula, the most notable of which is that the lawman doesn't get the bad guy in the end. The trouble is that beyond critics counting angels on heads of pins, the Coens have retained hackneyed Hollywood clichés aplenty, the most egregious of which is the psycho who comes from nowhere, a plot device that dates back to the devil featuring in mediaeval morality plays and was debunked by the time Shakespeare was a lad. Hitchcock famously explained why Norman Bates became a psycho, and his suspense was all the more masterful as Anthony Perkins didn't look like a killer, just the Mummy's boy he really was.

    With Hitchcock, you know something very bad is going to happen; but the suspense lies in not knowing what, by whom or when. After the first few minutes with Bardem's character, however, you know he will do the killing, you know how and you know it will be sooner rather than later. The only time the evil Chigurgh acquires more than one dimension is when people tell him he has a screw loose, but he just doesn't get it. Otherwise, he's as predictable as Terminator. We also have no idea where he learned his Rambo or Jason Bourne tricks, or how he gets to be better informed than the cops, and that is just one of many plot holes.

    Bardem has acted much better before, as when he diversified from tongue-in-cheek macho roles years ago in films like "Carne Trémula" or "Segunda Piel". He successfully masks his native accent, but ends up sounding a bit too machine-like.

    We can see Chigurh is after a pot of drug money, but just who the hell is he? Who are the "managerial" guys who put him in the picture? We are left to guess that Woody Harrelson is a hired man, but told nothing about his background, who does the hiring, or why. And why is Woody's character stunningly efficient one minute, in tracking down Moss, while allowing Chigurh to sneak up on him the next?

    We are also meant to believe that a full-blown drug war can break out with just a lone sheriff on the case, without the feds getting involved. Yes, there is a lot of disbelief to be suspended in seeing this picture.

    And then there is the foray across the border, which is corny and stereotypical to any one who has ever lived for a while in Mexico. Since when do norteño bands dress like mariachis? Since when do they serenade blood-stained gringo vagrants, for nothing, and in the morning? Since when do foreigners with bullet wounds get admitted to hospital, no questions asked? This has as much to do with the real Mexico as nachos and chile con carne. Could the Coens find not one Mexican adviser?

    OK, so maybe this is beside the point, that the film is really all about a man getting too old for his job, as the very title suggests, but even here the plot is full of holes. It is all very well for the sheriff's uncle to wistfully say that a lot of nasty stuff has always happened on the border, but that ignores the fact that drug trafficking entails a dangerous mix of grinding poverty and instant fortunes which has made things nastier, all along the supply and distribution routes; Mexican towns once known for little more than growing avocadoes now have severed heads rolled across dance floors, and the country's equivalent of David Letterman was wasted in broad daylight.

    Even that hollow and superficial take on drugs violence fails to grasp the nettle of centuries of brutality, of slavery and killing Indians, in making the U.S. what it is. And yes, it is possible to cover all these bases in a two-hour film. I will certainly look for them, and for answers to all the plot holes, should I ever read Cormac McCarthy's original novel.

    For a sense of just how disturbingly omnipresent drug-fuelled violence is, and how it ends up breeding more violence, "La Vírgen de los Sicarios" did the job far better, but with Spanish dialogue and being made in Colombia, it never came to the attention of the critics who heap undeserving praise on the Coen brothers.
  • littlegoldwoman12 December 2007
    1/10
    Wish I loved it (Spoilers)
    Warning: Spoilers
    I have a plea out on the message boards for someone to please explain this movie to me. I love movies and I am not one of those who insist on only being hand fed obvious characters and plots. I enjoy movies that make you think and use symbolism.

    But I honestly did not understand this film. Im not saying its horrible but I will say I don't think it deserves the ratings it is getting. I personally rated it a 1 because I feel compelled to balance out the absurd over ratings it is getting.

    What I saw was two men fighting over the same two million dollars. One who is somewhat good and obviously poor and the other who is this maniac psycho killer. Im not even sure its his money, how he knows about it or why he even wants it. None of that was clarified.

    The good guy is running with the money the bad guy is chasing him the sheriff seems like he is supposed to be chasing them but doesn't really want to and would rather be some sort of hillbilly philosopher about the whole thing.

    Then the good guy suddenly dies. The bad guy escapes death by the skin of his teeth AGAIN the money disappears and the sheriff retires but not becoming so philosophical that the whole movie just ends right there at his dinner table with him rambling on about some dreams he had.

    Again I would love to figure out this movie.

    I am a 40 year old movie buff Academy Award trivia expert I own over 700 movies I've been a member here for 6 years And I have a college degree.

    Maybe I ate too many milk duds or something but it went right over my head.

    If you are looking for a Donnie Darko, Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind MUST SEE A SECOND OR THIRD TIME TO FULLY UNDERSTAND kind of movie then go for it!

    If you think you are going to see a Titanic, The Green Mile or Silence Of the Lambs kind of movie where the plot unfolds at a normal pace and doesn't make you search for answers and meaning then don't go see this thing.

    Again, not a bad movie. Great acting, cinematography, pace.... the works... just incredibly difficult to understand after the first half.

    In fact the first half is very good, suspenseful.. second half does not fulfill. Leaves you hanging and wanting more.

    OK Im done. Thanks for reading.
  • modline15 December 2007
    1/10
    A frustrating film that goes nowhere
    Warning: Spoilers
    The Coen Brothers have succeeded in making what is possibly the most nihilistic film in the history of cinema, and in doing so they have divided the audience like Moses parting the Red Sea. A lot of people love this film and feel it is one of the greatest ever made, while I'm on the opposite side, thinking the film is too frustrating to be enjoyed.

    The story, as you may know, revolves around Lleweleyn Moss (Josh Brolin) and, upon his discovery of a crime scene (a drug sale gone horribly wrong), the theft of two million dollars. From the moment he steals the money, Moss is followed by Anton Chigurh (Javier Bardem), a menacing figure who kills anyone who gets in his way. Along the way, we meet Sheriff Ed Thom Bell (Tommy Lee Jones), who really does nothing to advance the story any, since his character does little to stop the events which unload on screen. In his soliloquies, we learn that he has seen better times than the horror unraveling around him, and that this is no country for old men (thus the title).

    And that's basically the story in a nutshell. There is virtually no development of characters, no backdrop to show us why Chigurh is involved and so evil, and no involvement of Bell's character. There is a brief appearance of Carson Wells (Woody Harrelson), who is hired to track down Moss and Chigurh by someone who obviously was behind the whole drug deal, yet we know nothing about who hired him (even the credits list the character as "Man who hires Wells"). After Wells fails, the "Man who hires Wells" then involves a band of Mexicans to track down Moss, and the story goes off the rails from there.

    What is even more frustrating is the final quarter of the film, where not only do we not get any further development of character, we get the lead character killed off camera, a scene involving Chigurh and Moss' wife that is not fully realized, an out-of-the-blue car accident which doesn't do anything of any importance, and, yet, another meaningless soliloquy from Jones.

    I truly do not understand the hype and love surrounding this film. When I saw the film, several people walked out, and there was a groan at the end of the movie and multiple apologies to loved ones from people had brought them to see what was to be the "movie of the year." Sure, the movie had great cinematography, great sound, and decent acting (it's a Coen Brother's film, would you expect less?) - the problem lies in the script and the lack of character development. There were some great scenes of tension, especially one involving Chigurh and a gas station owner and the toss of a coin, scenes which truly deserved to be in a better movie.

    If you're looking for entertainment, the best advice here is to stay far away from this film.
  • 1/10
    Gallons and gallons of blood
    Warning: Spoilers
    Not to mention bloated dead bodies of dogs and humans and a "man who wouldn't die".

    "No Country for Old Men" has Javier Bardem playing Anton Chigurh, a monstrous motive-less killer (unless you count the money, but how does he know about it?) He slides in and out of scenes, you are always chilled but like the clichéd train-wreck victims you see reeling on the side of the road, he never engages you, you never speculate on what made him this way, he is simply a nerveless, passionless cypher.

    Actually the clichés were too many to count in this truly, truly disappointing effort from the Coen brothers. A police officer turns his back on the monster and is promptly dispatched and of course the monster manages to squeeze bloodily out of his own handcuffs. H'mm. The instrument used to kill by Chigurh is some kind of stun gun with an oxygen tank. Surely to God he could get hands on a gun with a silencer and not have to lug this tank around like some deranged Fred Munster? There is so much blood, the only conclusion I could make was that this was the whole point, raise the barf meter with everyone, show acres of gratuitous violence to draw in the desirable adbash demographic and forget any kind of plot. A slasher film for the pseudo-sophisticated.

    The movie grabs you early and you think, as you survey a field full of fallen felons (they were involved in a drug heist) discovered by an officer played by Josh Brolin, that this movie is going to unwind a great mystery. You settle in for the denouement.

    Poor you. You are sidetracked by an absolutely meaningless sub-plot involving Woody Harrelson (another grisly ending) and by Tommy Lee Jones who was left without any relevant script and wanders cynically in and out of scenes, delivering tired old witticisms as a sheriff. We can count the ways and days of tired old cynical sheriffs. I was waiting for "life is just a box of chocolates and Chigurh the hardboiled candy". It would have improved things.

    I was baffled as to the narrative. Was there one? Why didn't I get it? Was this movie, in spite of the barrels of blood, too deep for me? I was asking myself these questions long before it was over.

    Was this movie reaching for pretension or was it truly in the stratum of the intellectual elite? Coin toss answer.

    For me, it seemed fitting that there was no ending to this. No plot should equal a no ending. The beast didn't die and went on his stumbling way. All the good guys died, apart from aforementioned slow-drawl sheriff, who is now retired.

    Zero artistic merit, zero plot. I gave it a 1 to bring down the over-rating. I still like Tommy, Josh gave a great perforance but I'm going to be really leery of future Coen efforts.
  • 1/10
    Despicable Snuff Film with Pseudo-Intellectual Pretensions
    Warning: Spoilers
    "No Country for Old Men" is for the kind of film fan who remarks, "Gee, wasn't that murder a clever mise-en-scene?" and who asks, "What kind of lens do you think they used in that strangulation shot?" The skeleton of "No Country for Old Men" is a cheap, 78-minute, gun-monster-chase B movie. Javier Bardem plays Anton Chigurh, the monster. He is Frankenstein; he is Max Cady from "Cape Fear;" he is from your childhood nightmares. He may be death personified.

    One of many completely implausible scenes: an arresting officer, defying any logic, turns his back on Chigurh. Chigurh, displaying the supple sinuosity of a Cirque du Soleil contortionist, or an orangutan, slips out of his handcuffs. This is done out of camera view, because for Bardem it would be impossible; thus the scene's implausibility. Chigurh then, in real time, strangles the young police officer to death on camera. This is an extended sequence. This is the payoff for "No Country for Old Men": watching one human being kill other human beings, in scene after scene after scene, using various weapons, including a captive bolt pistol usually used on livestock. Guess Chigurh couldn't get hold of a Texas chainsaw. This is a slasher flick for the pretentious.

    Early on, there are well-done, if standard, chase scenes. A man outruns a car: not believable, but fun to watch. A pit bull chases this fleeing man down a whitewater river. The man reloads his gun at the very last moment (of course) and shoots the pit bull dead just as it is about to sink its teeth into the man. Later, in a hotel, a beeping transponder informs the killer where his prey hides. Your pulse may race and you may think that this is all leading up to something interesting. You will be disappointed.

    Tommy Lee Jones, whose ear lobes appear to be metastasizing as he ages, wanders aimlessly through the film as Sheriff Ed Tom Bell, delivering cornpone, homespun, cowboy poet ruminations that are more or less opaque in meaning. No doubt the film's fans are even now feverishly compiling a companion volume that decodes Bell's dreams and conveys their depth.

    Woody Harrelson, late the bartender of the TV sitcom "Cheers," shows up for a completely pointless half-hour role that yanks the viewer right out of the movie. "What is Woody Harrelson doing here?" Some years back, some bored English majors decided that conventional narrative structure was not intellectual enuf, and decided to play games with narrative. "No Country for Old Men" plays these sorts of games. The viewer is invited to invest time getting to know characters who are eliminated from the plot in ways that convey no meaning and are not moving. The narrative flow is truncated and yet the movie keeps going; viewers ask themselves why the movie is continuing -- sometimes out loud, even in a movie theater -- this is supposed to be a deep, intellectual experience. It is not. It is merely annoying.

    Other than bratty English major head games, pretty much the entire substance of "No Country for Old Men" is a series of murders and tortures committed by Chigurh, who may symbolize your high school's worst bully – a bully so terrifying exactly because he targeted English majors. His victims are often courteous; their likability makes watching them be humiliated and then murdered an uncomfortable, and, given the film's structure, ultimately pointless exercise. Not only are the Coen Brothers torturing their characters, they also torment their ticket-buying audiences.

    Chigurh's nice victims are often poor, rural, Southern, whites, the kind of people often not featured as positive, lead characters in Hollywood entertainments. They are often villains – witness films like "Deliverance." Here they are murder victims. Chigurh is associated with Mexicans, part of a rising "dismal tide," as one Anglo character puts it. No matter how you feel about immigration, you may find this association of Mexicans with a rising tide of evil to be offensive.

    The film's boosters insist that the movie offers three deep and shocking lessons: life doesn't always follow a neat narrative structure; evil often triumphs; and the old days were more peaceful and, nowadays, things are getting really bad. In truth, everyone walking in to the theater already knows the first two "lessons." No one needs the Coen brothers to inform him that life doesn't always follow a neat narrative structure, or that evil often triumphs. We expect filmmakers, and all artists, to offer us a more substantial thesis. As for the third "lesson," that the old days were more peaceful and things are getting really bad today -- have the Coens, or Cormac McCarthy, heard of Attila the Hun, or any number of other less-than-peaceful and courteous personages from our common human past? One might well be dubious about "No Country"'s "lessons." Visit internet discussion boards devoted to this movie, and you will find fans asking, not "What is fate?" or "What is the role of a good man in a bad world?" but questions like, "If Hannibal Lector and Anton Chigurh were locked in a room, who would come out alive?" Given such reflections, one is safe in concluding that the appeal of this film is its emphasis on graphic violence, rather than on any more advanced intellectual or artistic merit.
  • Navaros11 March 2008
    1/10
    Better titles could have been: "No story"; "No Point"; "No Ending".
    Warning: Spoilers
    No Country for Old Men is a very bad movie that is chockful of basic structural errors of storytelling & film-making, and common sense. But, hold on a minute. What I just said might be all wrong! An outmoded way of thinking. A viewpoint that simply does not have enough "intelligence" to appreciate the deep brilliant art that *is* "No Country".

    It seems that these days if you make a movie that has no story, no point, and no ending --- that that is automatically a *masterpiece* that is worthy of universal critical and consumer acclaim, and a Best Picture Oscar. That in a nutshell, is *exactly* what No Country for Old Men is.

    Now that "No Country" has paved the way for such "brilliant innovations", I can't wait to see what other "innovations" await films to come in the future. Maybe next in addition to masterpiece movies requiring there to be no story, no point, and no ending, they will also eventually further innovate by doing away with other things like actors and dialogue. Maybe mankind will eventually *evolve* to such a point of perfect enlightenment that films consisting entirely of slideshows of some kindergarten students' fingerpainting artwork will eventually be the recipient of Best Picture Oscar awards and universal acclaim.

    "No Country" has taken a lot of flack for having a "controversial ending" --- but that is inaccurate phrasing. "No Country " has *no ending* at all. For it to have a "controversial ending" carries the prerequisite that it first *has* an ending. It doesn't! "No Country" is just a bunch of random scenes of a repressed homosexual, turned psychopath, who goes around shooting people with a weapon powered by a giant tank of compressed air. This random formula is even further randomized by not *bothering* to show many of his kills on-screen. Including the death of the main character, who is suddenly, inexplicably, shown as a corpse in the middle of the movie. Even though the movie had previously spent gratuitous amounts of screen-time showing him prepare for, evade, and engage in firefights with the psychopath. Yet no *zero* time is devoted to showing how he died. The randomness of showing trivial moments like the main character staring thoughtfully at a wall, and buying tent-poles from a camping store, are crafted with meticulous detail and given tons of screen-time. But the film's utter genius shines through *most of all* by not spending one second showing him die or struggle to survive in his final moments before he died. Just a random fade-in, and he's suddenly a corpse! The sheer *brilliance* of such artistic unconventional storytelling has never been seen in any film or book *ever* made before in the *history* of mankind. I wonder why? Why did it take until the year 2007 for man to finally reach this high watermark of storytelling utopia? Ah heck, I need to stop wondering, and be content to wallow in the fact that since I "don't get it", I'm simply an idiot.

    The main character is an extremely banal hick so I had no emotional reaction whatsoever to him at any point in the movie, or to him magically fading-in as a corpse, but I'm sure the lack of any reason to care one iota about the main character is yet another of this film's amazing innovations. Layers upon layers, my friend! In several other cases, the movie makes it totally unclear if the psychopath killed his victim or not, because after trapping the victim, the scenes simply fades to black and then he is shown again outside the building later and the victims' fates are never revealed; they are never seen or mentioned in the movie again, as corpses or otherwise. One cannot assume he killed them, because in an early scene he spares a gas station attendant.

    "No Country" also innovates the art of film-making by making it's psychopath killer, "the deepest film villain since Hannibal Lecter" (or, the universal acclaimists allege...and who wants to argue with *them*!). No Country's killer shows his compelling deepness by repeatedly shouting things like "CALL IT!" after he flips a coin. In another scene, he further shows his deepness by making such deeply thought-provoking statements as: "I won't tell you you can save yourself. You can't." *Clearly*, this is Pulitzer Prize-worthy dialogue and one of the great cinematic villains of all-time. Thanks, universal acclaimists, for being honest about this and giving this character all the credit he so richly deserves! Maybe in the sequel he can play Blackjack or Poker to determine if he will shoot someone with his airgun or not? There I go again with my bad ideas, he's *already* *soooooooo freakin' unbelievably complex!!!* that to add a further level of complexity to him, like Blackjack-playing on top of coin-flipping, would be too much to even *try *to comprehend without bursting a gasket in one's brain wiring.

    Tommy Lee Jones plays a hick sheriff in this movie. He is a great actor, but he seems very bored in this role and it's like he's phoning in his performance. Perhaps he was disappointed when he read the script and realized the movie has no ending, and this made him not wanna put any energy or effort into the role. The other actors in No Country are all third-rate unknowns (other than Woody Harrelson who has a nonsensical, pointless cameo); maybe Tommy Lee was simply trying to dumb-down his acting down to their level. Whatever the case may be, it's definitely Tommy Lee Jones' worst performance ever. On second thought, I am probably wrong with everything I've just said in this paragraph. Really, Tommy Lee Jones' seemingly uninspired performance is probably just him tapping into the higher plane of existence upon which this whole enigmatic masterpiece of a movie so-good that normal human beings are barely fit to watch it, much less understand it, occupies.
  • billreynolds6 December 2007
    1/10
    Possibly the most overrated movie ever made . . .
    Warning: Spoilers
    . . . by the most overrated filmmakers ever.

    "No Country for Old Men" shares with other wildly overrated movies, like "Pulp Fiction" or "Collateral," a ludicrous setting in which criminals engage in wild shootouts and murder sprees lasting for days and days without any noticeable effort on the part of law enforcement to put a stop to it. NCFOM takes place in an alternate universe where an insane madman can travel across Texas murdering several people a day without the slightest hint of the FBI, DEA, U.S. Marshals, Texas Rangers, or any other authorities lifting a finger to stop him. The only cop who seems to be on his trail is an aging small town sheriff played by Tommy Lee Jones who doesn't actually try to catch him but just passing amiably through life making philosophical reflections on evil.

    This movie has no interesting or sympathetic characters. Our supposed "hero" only gets in trouble because he commits an unbelievably stupid and selfish act -- stealing $2 million in cash from a drug deal gone wrong in which several people have already been murdered. Does he think no one will come after him? Then he compounds his idiocy by returning to the scene of the crime. Why should we care what happens to him after this beginning? He has what appears to be a very nice, likable girlfriend, whose life (along with his own) he endangers -- for what? Some blood/drug money that if the drug dealers don't kill him for taking, the cops will bust him for spending. Stupid. Besides which, the character has no backstory, no interesting qualities. He is a cipher.

    The character of "Chigurh," over which all the critics are having such orgasms, might as well be an extraterrestrial, he bears so little relationship to actual human life. He appears to be in his late thirties -- killing people at a rate of two or three a day, as he does in this film, he must have murdered close to 10,000 in his adult life, without ever being apprehended. This man is almost on a par with Stalin, Hitler, Mao, and Pol Pot, except instead of killing people en masse as they did (using subordinates, secret police, and soldiers to do the dirty work), he appears to do every killing himself, many of them with some kind of oxygen tank (how clever, and how convenient it must be to lug around an oxygen tank to kill people with instead of, say, a handgun). And there is no FBI team on his tail, no worldwide manhunt to catch the biggest serial killer of all time. It's funny how many "professional assassins" there are in movies like this (and "Pulp Fiction" and "Collateral") and how few there seem to be in real life.

    The plot of this movie is so unbelievably trite, clichéd, and hackneyed that it is simply boring. Of course, a trite story can still make a great movie if it is well done. But the Coen brothers are far above actually putting in the effort to make their story work effectively on a nuts and bolts level. For instance, why bother to show the ultimate confrontation between the hero and villain? Why would the audience care about that? On some level, the Coen brothers must be laughing at all the sycophantic critics falling all over themselves to heap orgasmic praise on this joke of a movie. This film, and its ecstatic critical reception, represents the ultimate elevation of style over substance -- the appearance of meaning over actual meaning, quirkiness and moodiness for its own sake rather than in the service of a genuinely engaging story and characters.
  • classiccateringco30 November 2007
    1/10
    Not as good as some folks would like to think
    Warning: Spoilers
    First the good news, I did actually have to use a bit of brainpower while watching this, paying attention to each line and connecting the dots along the way. This was refreshingly non-Hollywood.

    The actors did a decent job of making the cartoon characters into real people with lots of good line delivery, subtle expressions and feeling of realness. The style of the film was also a nice change from the norm, I liked the silences.

    Now the bad news, it was still predictable (I knew that the movie would end after Tommy Lee Jones last monologue- don't ask me how, I just knew it).

    About halfway through the film I realized that evil would win out since it played like a Steven Seagal movie in reverse (with an infallible anti-hero). Not impressive in the least.

    Who was Woody Harrelson supposed to be? The Greek Chorus? His character was a waste of time.

    Cliché after cliché characters (writers fault). Drug dealing Mexicans, bumbling deputies, smart sheriffs, clueless wives, nasty mother-in-laws. Yawn, when have I not seen all this before.

    Did I just flat out disagree with the concepts behind it. Sure I did, cause I'm not addicted to TV news the way some folks are. In my experience the law enforcement actually works together and a person like the anti-hero would be called a mass murderer and hunted down. Suspension of disbelief only goes so far. It all points to bad writing. I'm sorry that someone was grappling so hard with the whole good vs. evil issue that they took the time to make something that is really a horror film into something it isn't.

    Is it art? No way. Does it contribute anything lasting to society or it's genre? Not really, perhaps some technical movie-making stuff but generally no.

    Don't waste your time on this one.
  • buckethead6625 November 2007
    3/10
    Horrible Finish
    Warning: Spoilers
    No Country for Old Men had a great storyline, character development, acting, and cinematography, and still managed to disappoint me greatly with its crappy anticlimactic ending.

    What is the purpose of suspense? I couldn't wait to see how the three main characters would interact when they inevitably met. But the Coens yank the rug out from under the audience by suddenly wiping out the protagonist 75% of the way through the movie. Why waste so much time building Llewelyn Moss'(Brolin's) character and emphasizing his resourcefulness if you're going to kill him off so abruptly with no explanation? There's easily an entire scene missing. Fine, I get it: the Mexicans found him. I don't need a rosy ending, but at least reveal how his demise went down. I'm not even asking for a gory shootout sequence; just elaborate on what led up to it. Yes, there is an underlying commentary on fate and humanity, but this movie is also an action/crime thriller where multiple peripheral characters are strangled or blown away by a sociopathic killer. It seems disingenuous to skim over the main character's death. Moss never had a chance, and neither does the viewer.
  • volhome22 March 2008
    1/10
    Critics and Previews Failed Miserably
    Warning: Spoilers
    When the trailers for Old Country came along, I must say I was mesmerized. The introduction of a wanton killer that seemingly strode his own path in a place and time yet to be determined. Along for the ride, the critics' glowing praise of the movie and especially the glow from Oscar winning performance of Javier Bardem sold me. I had missed the movie in the theatre, but seeing it on the big screen at home would make up for it. The anticipation began high, as the storyline was laid out. Heck, Josh Brolin was doing an excellent job with his little mentioned role. Tommy Lee Jones was giving another workmanlike laid-back performance as well. An there was, of course, Javier, plodding along. Okay, stick with this, it will grow and develop. Hour number two starts, and the foundation is well laid. Javier is playing a less than remorseful toad. Everyone else is playing their roles in a deadpan manner. Lord, is this what the people in Texas are really like? Don't worry, though. The critics have assured that Javier's performance is well worth it. Then the second hour ends. And so does the movie. Wait, is that the credits? You're kidding. Right? I just watch two hours of everyone playing like they were under Karloff's make-up from Frankenstein? Folks, Boris made that character believable and sympathetic. This drivel made me hate everyone associated with the movie. We didn't get a decent bad guy. We didn't get a story with a morality play. We didn't get decent ending or hope for the future. We got a stinking pile of manure and Oscar noted efforts. Well if this is what the Academy Awards have come to, then I'll make sure I never see another Award winning movie again. They passed on Kevin Costner as Mr. Brooks for this? Of, for God's sake, Please, someone tell me where I go to get a refund for the two hours of my life spent on this. I'm there in a heartbeat.
  • MovieFanGuyy14 February 2008
    1/10
    I absolutely hated No Country For Old Men, and I am serious about it.
    Warning: Spoilers
    The Coen Brothers, one of America's most talented directors, with a string of terrific films behind them have changed Cormac McCarthy's controversial novel into the front runner at this year's Oscar ceremonies.

    Unforuantely, as in year's past, this film, is going to purely divide moviegoers. Critics and Academy members are going to reward the Coen brothers for their adaptation of McCarthy's novel. Moviegoers, on the other hand, seem to have a divided opinion of this film.

    I saw this film with a completely divided audience. The storyline, concerns a drug deal gone badly in the Texas outback. A retired welder and Vietnam veteran, played by Josh Brolin comes across a case full of thousands of dollars in the pick up truck of a Mexican drug dealer. Unforuantely he doesn't realize the case has a homing device, which hired killer, Anton Chigurh, played to complete chilling effect, by Javier Bardem who easily steals the movie from the rest of the cast, uses to track him down.

    Chigurh, has deadly ways of killing off those who stand in his way, including a contraption used to kill off livestock, which he uses to blow open door locks and people's heads off with ease. Chigurh, pursues Llewelyn Moss, played by Brolin and his wife, who he sent off to Odessa, in hopes of outrunning the cunning Chigurh, with only local sheriff, Bell, (Tommy Lee Jones) who has a chance of protecting them.

    I won't give much more details except to say that this film felt like half a movie, the two main characters' and their stories felt completely unfinished, and that was the key problem with McCarthy's novel. I am a huge fan of the Coen Brothers and their films, Fargo, one of the best films of the 1990s, The Big Lebowski, one of the funniest films I have ever seen, and a film that I watch on a regular basis, heck, I even enjoyed The Hucksucker Proxy, but, like last year, with the overrated, Martin Scorsese film The Departed, I think that critics and academy members are looking to reward the Coen Brother's work, rather than their film.

    I'm not going to say it's overrated, just that the ending felt completely unfinished. The film doesn't state what happens to either Chigurh, or Moss. The audience and many people who I have spoken with felt the film was completely unfinished, and felt like half a movie. I agree with them. Unfortunately, I think the academy will reward the Coen brothers for this film, rather than they did with their far superior Fargo in 1996 which covered similar territory as No Country For Old Men.
  • Andariel Halo2 March 2008
    1/10
    Wasn't that good
    Warning: Spoilers
    I was not biased against the film when I saw it. I loved "The Big Lebowski", and was even amused by the similar theme in the two: both involve a suitcase full of money which the main character carts around, for events to get the suitcase lost, and inevitably leave the audience in the dark as to the eventual fate of the money.

    Unfortunately, as great as the movie started out, it devolved into pretentious art-film-like movie-making and a muddled ending with no clear ending. Not defined ending or happy ending, but CLEAR ending. The whole thing came to an abrupt end like a train that hits an invisible wall at low speed.

    The cinematography was something worth an Oscar in itself, and I especially loved the way it was shot when Llewellyn discovered the botched drug deal and eventually the money. It was so realistic, you could almost feel the mucky grime of blood drying in the sand or the greasiness of an overused dump-truck, the plainness of the brand-less milk, all the homey settings of a western border-city.

    The character Llewellyn isn't very likable. He reminds me something of The Dude in that he's very much aloof to the horrors of seeing the shot-up drug dealers, and casually takes their money and goes home, suddenly remembering one of the dying men asked him for water, and deciding to go back with a gallon of tap water for him, until Anton Shigurh comes after him and he panics, and is forced to become resolute.

    In the beginning, Anton Shigurh, played by Javier Bardem, seemed the ideal villain; quiet, utterly irredeemable, seeming the kind of person who would kill someone at any moment without any sort of honor. Even the scene where he makes a shopkeep gamble on his life with the flip of his coin, you fully expect Anton to kill him at any moment, even when he lets the man live.

    At about the mid-way point of the movie, it starts to unravel. Perhaps I need to see the movie again, but for the life of me, I cannot begin to wonder what Tommy Lee Jones's character's purpose in the movie is. He promises Llewellyn's wife that he'll make sure Llewellyn lives, and goes about doing nothing but reading the newspaper and lounging about in the office or at a diner. Only once does he visit the crime scene, and towards the end does he come close to the killer.

    Next come the nameless character played by Woody Harrelson, and the oh-so-elegantly named "Man in the Office" played by Stephen Root. Woody Harrelson's character describes Anton for us, and then wanders off to meet with Llewellyn, and then get killed by Anton for some reason. Anton then randomly appears in the Office man's office and kills him in the middle of interviewing some guy for a job. Anton doesn't say anything of worth to the other man, and is then back to the western area chasing Llewellyn. I have no idea what that was supposed to be about.

    The thing is a mess, as the movie skips ahead slightly with Llewellyn dead, and Anton flustered that he lost the money. In a moment that completely changes my opinion of Anton from cold, calculating, assassin of pure evil, to a pitiful, pathetic, stubborn childish creature that kills Llewellyn's wife just because Llewellyn didn't let Anton kill him.

    For some random reason, as Anton is driving off from her house, he gets hit by a car, staggers out with a broken arm, and walks away.

    For another random reason, Tommy Lee Jones's character has some retrospect, then gives a long, rambling soliloquy about a dream he had. I have heard many accents, and I have very sharp hearing. I can understand some of the most rambling of mumblings and mutterings, but for the life of me, I could not understand more than a few words of Tommy Lee Jones's heavily accented, mumbling, rambling speech about dreaming about his father.

    And it suddenly ended with "And then I woke up."
  • Jung Tampo28 December 2007
    1/10
    Genius? Hell no, simply misguided directors...
    Warning: Spoilers
    Well, I say spoilers but with no plot, a loose story line, random characters, no resolution to story line, saying this review contains spoilers is a compliment I don't want to give this movie.

    When I went to see this movie I did not know, believe it or not, it was a Coen Brothers film. However after the first scene and the visual of the boot marks all over the floor and I guessed that it was. It left me with the same feeling of the blood stains from the wood chipper in the snow from Fargo.

    Not the same imagery, mind you, but the same sense of feeling. A sense of something violent and chaotic happened looked at from an obtuse albeit familiar image with contrasting colors of something that shouldn't be there.

    Next the dialog came about and I knew for sure.

    This movie is just plain misguided. When directors start to be identified by their techniques they are losing the plot and forgetting what film making is all about. To tell a story and to express ideas, not to showcase their quirks and be identified by them.

    They should be in the background and not center stage.

    The Coens, granted in my opinion only, took a step towards the over indulgent David Lynch and a giant leap away from becoming great directors based on their earlier works. The genius of Raising Arizona or Joel's The Hudsucker Proxy is a distant rock of film work casting a giant shadow on this current piece.

    So many are saying that Javier Bardem's morbid and "deep" character is the real gem of the movie and brings originality to a type of role never seen before. Hell, take a look at another Tommy lee film, Batman where he played Two Face. The quirky and annoying Anton Chigurh is simply Two Face in an adult movie and like any bad guy, should not have gotten away.

    Then there are the random characters being introduced in the movie for no apparent reason. I mean, just what was Woody Harrelson's character in the movie for? Seriously, without dipping into film school hogwash about stereotypes and archetypes of moral choices and bit characters to drive a moral choice. Or the old guy in the wheel chair towards the end?

    By that time I was just rolling my eyes and getting more confused and upset that I was actually trying to make sense of this non-sequitur story line.

    Then it hit me.

    There was no point. There was no reason for this movie at all. It is just one long Coen self back patting cinematic journey and a movie to praise their own, self recognized, film making skills. What Blazing Saddles was to westerns this movie is to their previous works. It is quite ironic, and knowing the Coens deliberate, that it ends with Tommy Lee speaking of dreams. You know that feeling, the sense when you first wake up from a weird dream but in your half asleep mind set the fact that a pink dog was playing Tchaikovsky on the piano while sipping a martini and explaining why hot dogs come in 10 packs while buns come in 8 somehow can relate to your entire life plan and future goals.

    As you regain your senses and become fully awake you realize that it was only a dream and sometimes a cake is just a cake.

    Directors should not take center stage and simply let their films speak for them. This movie only speaks about the directors. Those that say this film is genius are still half asleep. When they wake up they also will admit they were stupefied by the Coens and didn't dare to question their "talent".

    Well, I am begging you to indeed question it and see this movie for what it really is: Self indulgent nonsense.

    Bottom line is that No country for Old Men (even the title is ridiculous and misleading) is a film one can easily skip. When someone comes out and tells you about this film and how great it is, watch them start talking about the Coens and their amazing talent. For if any other director made this heap of trash you would be renting this directly off the shelves as it would never have made the big screen.
  • Lechuguilla13 July 2008
    9/10
    Some Interesting Characters
    While on a hunting trip, a sportsman (Josh Brolin) finds dead men and a stash of cash in the remote back country of West Texas, the result of a drug deal gone wrong. The greedy hunter takes the cash, but soon discovers that the resourceful criminal responsible for the drug deal, an outlaw named Anton Chigurh (Javier Bardem), has a way of tracking the loot. The hunter thus finds that he is the hunted. Meanwhile, an aging Texas sheriff named Ed Tom Bell (Tommy Lee Jones) is after both the sportsman and Chigurh. The story is set in the early 1980s.

    To some extent, this film is a character study of Sheriff Bell, an honest lawman who is wise, observant, grounded in reality, and has a long memory. "No Country For Old Men" is really his story. He doesn't know quite what to make of the drug war that has crossed over from Mexico into Texas; it's something new (for the 1980s); and it makes a land that has always been hostile to settlers even more hostile and dangerous.

    The film's premise is quite simple, and the story is straightforward with minimal twists. A lot of time and care are taken with procedural actions: loading a gun, dressing a bloody wound, constructing a pole to retrieve a package from an air vent, for example. Dialogue is minimal; there's lots of silence.

    Overall casting and acting are impressive. I especially liked the performance of Tommy Lee Jones who seemed a natural choice for the role of Sheriff. Javier Bardem and Josh Brolin are also well cast. Several minor roles are extremely well performed, like the store owner who is asked to call a coin toss, and the rotund lady who, with a dour face, defies Chigurh's requests in a characteristic Texas twang.

    The film's color cinematography is quite good; there are lots of sweeping, wide-angle outdoor shots. I really enjoyed the geographic setting, with that whistling West Texas wind, the silence, and the stunning vistas. It's a landscape that is starkly beautiful. Yet, despite its beauty and wilderness traits, it can quickly turn hostile and unforgiving for anyone unprepared for its hidden risks.

    "No Country For Old Men" is a fine film. I'd describe it as a chase story -- character study combo, with elements of noir, especially in the visuals. Violence may be a tad much for some viewers. But given the subject matter, it is entirely appropriate.
  • Yumpin Yimany11 January 2008
    Nothing Could Possibly Be Worse Then This Awful Movie
    Warning: Spoilers
    You can believe all the negative things being said about this movie. What's remarkable is that it's such a bad experience that it turns out to be the ultimate pallet cleanser. What I mean, all other movies you see after having to endure this awful film will seem less bad by comparison. I realized this while walking out of the "Aliens Vs Predator: Requiem" showing. It's a terrible movie in its own right but I found myself saying, "At least it wasn't as awful as NCFOM." That's not a joke or an over-exaggeration in any way. Walking out of NCFOM, you feel cheated, disappointed and even a bit angry. How is any film going to make you feel worse then that? I wasn't expecting anything coherent from AVP and that's what I got. Judging by the ratings here and a few critics that I read, I was expecting at least a decent film from NCFOM. For those that think this movie offers a deep theme or a hidden, complex agenda, you need to grow up.

    The movie offers poor dialogue from the first scene on out. It's clichéd, needlessly cruel and the story itself is a trite disaster. The film exists only to jar the viewer and to attempt to be edgy and different. It offers nothing substantial, even in it's veiled attempts at allegory and a thematic message. It agitates the viewer at every level by callously killing any character they even half develop. What was the point of Woody's character? Why have the killer survive with no ramifications? Killing a main character (and his innocent wife) away from the camera is as poor as it gets. Let's not even discuss the ending, there are enough people that have mentioned that irritating lack of conclusion. I could go on but why bother? I'm not even going to remember the specifics of this film for very long. All I'll remember is the general unpleasant flavor it left and I'll remember that not many movies will leave such a poor taste. I'm not bitter. I'm grateful that going to the movies now has a bottom to the barrel in which to judge future films.

    I want to thank the creators of this film. It single handedly sets up better experiences for the rest of the year because nothing could possibly be worse then this movie.
  • fraserstewart22 January 2008
    1/10
    Too many plot holes to be good.
    Warning: Spoilers
    My vote of awful may be a little exaggerated, but I can tell you when this film ended, the audience literally groaned. The story is about some guy who we don't know happening upon a drug deal that went horribly wrong then finding $2 million in cash and taking it.

    This guy who we find out is called Lewellen (I don't know how to spell it sorry), suddenly grows a conscience and decide to help a dying drug dealer by bringing back water, almost getting himself killed in the process. I honestly as I watched, did not understand why he went back, it was only after we left that my wife explained that he went to take that water to that poor drug dealer.

    Next we meet our bad guy, a man who has been arrested, escapes and can continue to kill literally dozens of people, even having shoot outs in hotels and main streets, without anyone either caring or phoning the police. This sort of thing must be perfectly normal in Texas, because at one point you have one guy firing a shotgun on the street and no one could care less, let alone phone the police.

    There's the Sheriff, who's "trying" to help the "good guy", but couldn't really care. I mean wtf was he doing all day apart from lazing about reading the paper. Apart from anything else he's got a psycho running lose and like 10 dead Mexicans as well as two dead police officers. You'd think he'd be quite busy, but he's really not.

    Anyway our bad guy is hunting the thief for the money, and then in steps Woody Harrelson who you assume is going to save the day, but gets shot within five minutes. Honestly even after he was shot I thought he was faking it and would come back and help our "hero", I honestly couldn't believe it. Then they have both hero and wife murdered off camera, and again you honestly cannot believe that it happened.

    The worst thing of all though is the ending, you keep thinking that the bad guy will get caught, but no he gets away, after killing like 1 million people, and the film closes with our Sheriff who's done jack anyway talking about some dreams he had. I was literally astounded by this film, it started off well, but just when you were waiting for something to happen, like a showdown between psycho and thief, nothing happened. If you want to waste your money go watch this, otherwise pick something else.
  • Merwyn Grote29 February 2008
    3/10
    No answers to key questions
    Warning: Spoilers
    When some movies are over, everything is tied up in a neat little package; for better or worse, someone worked really hard to make sure there were no unanswered questions. Other movies aren't so considerate. Others may be messy, but the good ones leave you asking key questions about the philosophy of the story. They may make you wonder "What would I do in that situation?" "Was the hero really a hero?" "Do I agree with the film's moral?" etc. These films draw you into the story, to the point where the ending is really the beginning of the film's lasting power. Sometimes messy is good.

    Bad ones, however, leave you questioning the story itself: "Why did he do that?" "What happened to so-and-so?" "Did that make any sense?" "What did I miss?" Such films make you see the holes in the plot, not the story that surrounds them. When the film is a huge critical or commercial success, the pertinent question may well be "So, what's the big deal?" NO COUNTRY FOR OLD MEN is a "so-what's-the-big-deal" type of movie. It is undoubtedly THE film of 2007, an Oscar-winning, critic's choice, top ten darling. Yet, for the most part, it is an utterly conventional modern day western; so predictable that Charles Bronson could be resurrected from the grave and plopped down into the middle of it without missing a beat. It is adequately directed and decently acted, but otherwise -- for the first two-thirds -- it is largely without distinction. Perhaps, because the filmmakers work so hard to seem unconventional in the last third, the defenders think they see something unique in the whole.

    The set up is routinely plotted: A poor, but relatively honest young man, while hunting in the west Texas desert, stumbles on a drug deal gone bad. While callously rooting around amidst the dead bodies, he helps himself to over two million dollars in illicit cash. He takes off and is soon pursued by a relentless, but relatively insane mob assassin -- and they are both -- sorta -- pursued by an honest, but relatively ineffectual local marshal. Leaving a predictable trail of dead bodies along the way, the film seems to be promising a confrontation where any two or more of the protagonists should face each other in a traditional showdown.

    At least, that is how the writing/directing team of Joel and Ethan Coen set things up. It could be argued that Coen brothers are playing around with the audience, mischievously creating expectations that they have no intentions of meeting. But in side-stepping the obvious tried and true plot twists and dramatic confrontations that such a climax normally would offer, the Coens don't really replace them with anything better. The last third of NO COUNTRY is shocking and challenging only because it is so vapid and devoid of drama. Characters die off-camera with only the vaguest explanation, while other characters' fates are left an obtuse mystery. The finale peters out into three separate and pointless conclusions: the thief dies, the killer apparently gets away and the policeman quits, never to cross each other's paths. And the audience isn't given much reason to care about any of them.

    The anemic narrative wouldn't matter so much, I suppose, if the film were instead a incisive or compelling study of one or more of the characters. Though the actors give decent enough performances, they can't flesh out the characters beyond ciphers. Josh Brolin as Llewelyn Moss, the hunter turned thief, is a solid presence, a modern day twist on the iconic figure of the strong, silent and resourceful cowboy. But beyond the good-boy-gone-bad tradition of the western, the film gives Llewelyn little backstory and no particular depth beyond being both foolish and yet smarter than one would expect. Ed Tom Bell, the gruff, world-weary, retirement-bound, small-town sheriff, is played by Tommy Lee Jones as a safe and comfortable stereotype; only denied by the uninspired script either the traditional age-cultivated wisdom or the opportunity to be even vaguely heroic. He spends most of the film wistfully longing for the good old days.

    Javier Bardem's much praised work as the tiresomely inscrutable and indestructible hit-man Anton Chigurh is largely a one-note performance -- Oscar win notwithstanding. His persistence, in lieu of any personality, has been inexplicable interpreted as having mythic dimensions as the embodiment of cruel fate or death incarnate. Only desperation to find meaning in the slight story justifies such heavy-handed symbolism. Lumbering through the film with all the emotional complexity of a slasher movie serial killer, Chigurh is little more than a lazy gimmick; with his over-sized weapons (one requires he lug around a 30-pound tank of compressed air!) and arbitrary flip-a-coin sadism, he is a ludicrous character who survives only due to the manipulations of a generously contrived script.

    But, it is no wonder the film focuses on Chigurh, who like Coens' films, embodies a cold, dispassionate emptiness. It is not that they don't do compassion (let alone passion) well, they don't even try. In their best effort, BLOOD SIMPLE, the chill of their drama is counteracted with a coy air of satire. Even FARGO is unpleasantly empty as far as emotional depth. You can tell a lot about filmmakers by how they treat even their minor and incidental characters; most characters in Coen films are disposable plot devices. It is no wonder a key character is killed off screen; the Coens don't care about his fate and assume we shouldn't either.

    NO COUNTRY FOR OLD MEN builds to one of the least satisfying conclusions of all time. The film is ultimately riddled with gaps in logic and figure-it-out-for-yourself ambiguities; things that the audience may not need to see, but have a right to expect to experience as part of the drama. NO COUNTRY isn't just weak film-making, it is an act of bad faith. The final question facing the viewer might well be "Is that it?"
  • George League26 November 2007
    1/10
    Great, if you like 1/2 of a movie, with no ending...
    Warning: Spoilers
    The first half of this movie was great! Suspenseful, well acted, etc. Just as I was getting really fired up for the ending, the movie stopped, just STOPPED. Everyone in the audience was going "WTF?". What the hell just happened? I cannot believe the critics gave this a good review, nor can I believe the users are giving it such a high score. Towards the end, there are some characters that come into the movie, then disappear, and you have no idea who they are or why they are in the movie. And what the heck was Woody Harrelson's character there for? It could have been such a good movie, if it just hadn't stopped in the middle.
  • Dr. John H. Crow12 January 2008
    1/10
    Friday the 13th Meet the Same Old Coens
    Warning: Spoilers
    I am not sure I have a spoiler in here or not because the movie is rotten (aka spoiled). With high expectations this time I was disappointed by these two brothers once again.

    The plot is simple (Okay). A loser finds a killing field, a truckload of dope, and a lawyers case full of money. He leaves the scene only to return with water for one thirsty, dying Mexican. This part is fine and the stage is set for a good movie. He is found on the scene by the guys wanting the money but escapes. He leaves his pickup behind so he is easy to find.

    He leaves town and gets his wife out of his quarters as well. A psychopathic, indestructible killer comes into the movie about now and has his first killing spree. From here on the movie is not real at all but some reasonable parts are thrown in and some of the acting is, in fact good by everyone but the maniac. By this time though I am thinking I am also a maniac for staying to see this film.

    There is a continuing chase that is non-sensical except for the fact that the money has a transponder tucked inside to make it easy to track him and the cash. The real chances of this working as shown in the movie defy logic but this is a movie so I will calm down a bit.

    What is nuts is the fact that just about anyone can find this guy and there are about 60 coincidences that make the whole thing ridiculous. Every step results in killing fiesta. In the end a few stars come into the movie - this is to give the Coen's film pseudo endorsements and sell the picture and it seems to have worked because the mindless have given it high ratings and even I went to see it.

    In the end the blood keeps a coming and there is no justice or sense of style anywhere to be seen. This is sort of a "Friday the 13th" or "Halloween" for adults with 70 IQ's and below. The acting is okay but who with a brain could care when there is no reason for the film itself.

    I guess that gives everyone my opinion. What junk. Speaking of "spoilers" this did the Coens in once and for all for me. Never again will they get a dime of my cash.

    JHC
  • DUKEJBM16 November 2007
    AWFUL =The WORST Movie Going Experience Of My Life
    Warning: Spoilers
    I'm sorry but anyone that thinks this movie is clever or deep is certifiably insane.

    I've literally seen thousands of films at the theatre in my life and the response to this thing was something I've never seen before. It was a near revolt. I actually saw people angrily walking to get a refund. This exchange perfectly sums up this waste of film...

    The woman seated behind me turns to the people she was with and says, "Bill, that was the LAST time you pick the movie." He responds, "I'm soooo sorry. That was completely awful." I turned to my friends and apologized as well. They were there because I wanted to see it. I had to apologize all the way to the parking lot.

    Anyone here labeling it a masterpiece or thinking it's a textured, complex film couldn't be more wrong. This was nothing more then a blatant attempt to shatter the cookie cutter Hollywood genre picture using poor dialogue and offbeat characters. That was its ONLY goal. Creating unpredictable crap may have helped it accomplish that goal but that doesn't make it good work in any way. It certainly doesn't qualify as entertainment.

    SPOILERS follow but I'd advise those who haven't seen it to read them. This could save you money and wasted time...

    Killing the lead barely three quarters of the way through the movie, OFF SCREEN, may seem clever to some but it's just so irritating to most. The movie does take the tedious time to try to emotionally involve you with the characters and the story. What I can't understand is how anyone can think that frustrating an audience is good cinema. Callously killing multiple characters with no consequences, killing the lead off screen, killing his wife, having the insane psychopath villain walk away scott free (hurt by a random car wreck no less) and having Tommy Lee Jones' character quit and babble to the camera before a cut to black is as bad of a theatre experience as anyone could imagine. Clearly, my audience felt cheated and I was chief among them. Word of mouth will be as bad as gets from general audiences, not alleged film buffs pretending to posture and enjoy a film because they think it makes them appear clever.
  • wdwallis29 January 2008
    1/10
    Bad movie.
    Warning: Spoilers
    There are just too many ideas that were not properly explained or developed, and occurrences that don't make sense. My feeling is that the Coens and other writers/directors/producers/assistants just didn't care.

    Spoilers occur hereafter.

    Why was Chigurh arrested at the beginning?

    The mechanics of the drug deal are not explained. Are we to assume one side decided to rip off the other or was a third party involved? In the former case, why does there seem to be evidence that the shooters came back (further damage to the pickup)? If the latter, why didn't they take the money?

    Why ON EARTH did Moss go back with the water bottle? It was totally out of character. If he had not done so, the whole story would have been different. (The existence of the transmitter would still allow it to work, provided Moss was really stupid, and there's a lot of evidence for that.) From this point on, I had totally lost my belief in the movie. It seemed likely that other occurrences would also be dictated by plot needs, not by common sense.

    How did Chigurh and co find out about the botched deal? The obvious answer is that they were in the pay of the unnamed crooked businessman and that the whole deal was a setup from beginning to end. But in that case we are back to a scenario where they would have been on hand to take the money before Moss showed up (whether the shootout involved a third party or not).

    Okay, the transmitter. What kind of moron would keep the money in the bag it came in? Surely you would realize that people would be looking for it, and a different-looking piece of luggage would be a good idea. And you would find the transmitter when you unpacked the money.

    So where was Moss going? Why did he run off? Why this hopping in and out of motels? And why leave his wife looking like a target? He and his wife should have left the country. And not to Mexico.

    It wasn't that easy to get back and forth across the border to Mexico, even in 1980. (Of course, if it wasn't so easy, the plot wouldn't have worked.)

    Coin tossing: this might have made sense if there were ANY other evidence that Chigurh's character had principles (no matter how insane), other than Wells' (Harrelson's character) one-liner. (And what was that character doing in the movie anyway? Pointless unless you give him more time.)

    This is about 10% of the flaws.

    All in all, a shoddy piece of film-making so that we can see lots of gore. Coupled with excellent directing and cinematography, so that the gullible will not notice the lack of substance.
  • Supermanofsteel2 January 2008
    1/10
    Terrible Movie
    Warning: Spoilers
    This was a terrible movie. It had no cohesion or direction. It was a scattered mess. Just as you got to know a charter they would be removed from the film.

    One of the biggest disappointments was how they ended the story line between Josh and Javier's charters. They have this great story unfolding then bam, it's over. And to make it worse they don't even show you what happens. All you see is the sheriff pull up and Josh's charter is dead.

    Why put Woody's charter in the film if all your going to do is kill him in 2 or 3 scenes in a meaningless manner? His whole charter made no sense. At first you suspect he is some quick thinking hired gun to help clean up the situation. Next thing you know he is dead and before he dies he almost has a nervous breakdown. That charter alone was so contradicting of it's self it was pathetic.

    These directors need to find better ways to tell the movie's story line instead of finding a story that they can use to showcase their style of film making.
  • sanyariez20 March 2008
    1/10
    Overrated
    Warning: Spoilers
    OK interesting way of putting things, won the Oscar....but i don't think it deserves it....too many things unsolved and so many emphasis on some things that will have an end that won't be shown completely...seriously... it creates so many expectations and give such poor answers... Tommy Lee Jones barely shows in the movie, and his character doesn't offer anything, the protagonist kind of gives us good times at some point, but disappoints us later. Definitely not the best picture, music?, actors, not the best choice interesting at first but totally disappointing at the end. Totally a waste of time, and so overrated. Not worth it.
  • MisterWhiplash9 November 2007
    10/10
    You need to call it. I can't call it for you. It wouldn't be fair.
    Warning: Spoilers
    No Country for Old Men is as exceptional a mix of two creative talents- the Coen brothers, Joel and Ethan Coen, and author Cormac McCarthy (recent winner of the Pulitzer for The Road, his own masterpiece) as one could imagine, as they converge on a story that in lessor hands would be just a B movie. The story concerns an average Joe out hunting one day in Texas who comes across a bunch of dead bodies, heroin, and a satchel with 2 million in cash. He takes it, but without knowing that a true embodiment of a psychopath (Javier Bardem) is on his trail, and as he evades him it becomes more and more clear the fatalism that lies in store, as a weathered sheriff (Tommy Lee Jones) is also on the trail with perpetulally sad eyes looking on from his stolid demeanor.

    More than this, it's also about as good a morality play as one could ask for, because it plays and tools and makes very serious questions about what is moral, or what isn't, or what is so ambiguous that it's all up to the toss of a coin or a chance ride out of town. There are a few interpretations to Bardem's character Anton that could be taken, but one thing is certain- he's less a symbol than a real presence, a "ghost" as Jones's sheriff calls him that can come around at the drop of a pin, usually in the dark, and strike the utmost fear (or confusion if you're a clerk) in the hearts of men and women. You'll never look at a coin toss the same way again. Or an air-gun. Or fixing a bullet wound in a leg. Or a hunt at a motel. Or even the aftermath of a car crash.

    But at the same time it's the purest time of cinema, recalling Hitchcock and Leone and Welles's Touch of Evil and the best of noir and westerns. There are so many exceptional shots and lighting, so much depth to the perception of the characters through the mis-en-scene, so much tension, that through this it's all up to the actors to make or break the near-perfection that is the McCarthy source. Bardem embodies Anton like no other could- you can't look at his eyes, often steel-cold and horrifically professional (to what professional who can say), which occasional tear- and it's obviously worthy of an Oscar. And Josh Brolin and Tommy Lee Jones are also fantastic; we see Brolin often in the midst of an action scene, a moment of 'save-your-life' going on, and one can finally see an actor of his caliber completely breaking out in a role that doesn't require him to ever totally "emote". Jones, on the other hand, gives a compassionate turn in a film that's about the struggles of desperate men in a land without law and order. He's gone through so much that it comes out completely in his voice and eyes, sorrowful but holding back, and he reaches a level of connection with the character that makes the Fugitive look like simpleton TV. Kelly McDonald, who plays Lleland's wife, is also excellent when called upon, especially in a crucial scene later in the film.

    It's gut-wrenching, bleak, violent, super-tense (I clenched many a knuckle during some scenes), surprisingly funny in a darkly comic manner not seen by the Coens in many years, and artistically fashioned to a beat that is meditative (watch the opening moments with Jones's voice-over), simple, and doomed. It's beautiful and terribly tragic, for McCarthy fans it finally strikes at what is truest to his material- even if you haven't read the book itself the Road will give an indication of the mood and atmosphere at hand- and at the moment I can't think of any other film that would be the best pick of the year- maybe one of the best films I've ever seen.
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