Saturday, November 17, 2007

Take the Money and Run

In the Coen brothers' new film, No Country for Old Men, Llewelyn Moss (Josh Brolin) comes across a drug deal gone bad and takes a bag with $2 million from the scene. Anton Chigurh (Javier Bardem), one of the baddest bad guys I've ever seen, is hired by some businessmen to track down the money. And no matter where Moss goes, Chigurh finds him. That bad guy, he's good. And so is the film itself. Also featuring a top-notch performance by Tommy Lee Jones — as Ed Tom Bell, the sheriff on Chigurh's trail — No Country is one of the best movies of the year.

Most notable about No Country is the acting. Bardem especially is awesome. It's not just his haircut; rather, his whole persona is total badass, without a hint of sympathy. This is a man on a mission, and his single-minded pursuit allows no time for a conscience. Bardem isn't given much dialogue, so he says everything with his face and his body movement, as when he strangles a policeman with his handcuffs in one of the film's early scenes. And I love when he says "friendo."

The Coens have directed the film in an assured, confident style that takes its Texas-style time, without a noticeable score (though Carter Burwell is credited with the music), and yet the 2 hour and 20 minute running time flies by. This is no Fargo, meaning the quirks are kept pretty much to a minimum (Bardem's hair excepted), but No Country is still very much of its place, just like Fargo was. I sort of wish the movie had ended five minutes before it actually did, which means it would have been more about the chase than the larger thematic elements that Bell (and the title) introduces. After all, Bell is more of a supporting character, and the Chigurh-Moss chase is the main focus. But it's all good. I'm giving No Country an A-.



Post a Comment

<< Home