“No country for old men” ,directed by the duo brothers Joel And Ethan Coen, is adapted from Cormac McCarthy’s gripping novel of the same name. I felt the same eerie ambiance and a foreboding silence enveloping around me when I watched Fargo , the duo’s most accomplished venture as of yet. But this time the ambiance was more profound, more relentlessly violent and menacing. An expansive parched West Texas landscape in the opening scene as Ed Tom Bell lambastes the increasing violence in the area as he rose to the ranks of sheriff just like father. A botched up drug deal makes up the premise as the protagonist, Llewelyn Moss played by the hardened Josh Brolin, wanders around the carnage landing upon a satchel filled with two million dollars. Moss is portrayed as just like one of us-the ordinary guy- shackled by money.The violence that ensues later throughout the movie , a gut-wrenching portrait of the lust for money, spins around the very cash-stuffed suitcase which Moss stole from the scene . It gets darker when Anton Chigurh (played by Javier Bardem) steps in , a ruthless impassive sociopath with his captive bolt pistol held firmly in his hands and sporting a haircut that will force a chuckle out of you . McCarthy described him in the novel having a dark complexion with eyes “blue as lapis … Like wet stones” .A cat-and-mouse drama ensues as Anton viciously pursues Moss for that suitcase. The only modicum of sanity he shows is by bestowing his victims with a second chance by deciding their fate with a coin toss. His morbid fascination with killing almost everyone he meets and his quirky acts makes you cringe sometimes but still you can’t take your eyes off the screen. In one of his scenes ‘Call it’ he says in that throaty tone to the gas station owner-a surprisingly funny moment in a darkly comic way that is prevailing throughout the film. His dark looming spectre, keeps our eyes glued to screens inculcating an air of trepidation. In one of his opening scenes he brutally strangles an officer with a stony deadpan face that may easily feed nightmares to the squeamish ones. In a scene where Anton picks up Moss’s call ,as blood gushes out of Carson’s body whom he just shot, he steps over the stream of blood carefully. A ruthless hitman cares about his boots getting blood? That showed the depth of Anton’s character and how much the duo have paid painstaking attention to the detail of his character.
The writing is seamless. Movie formalists-those scrupulous moviegoers- are surely gonna revel in the deft technical traits of the film whether it be the agile camera work or screw-tight editing . The film moves at a sedate pace intriguing the watchers with every frame that passes. Javier Bardem puts in a performance that will send chills down your spine every time his formidable presence will grace the big screen. Tommy Lee Jones doesn’t impress as he wanders around aimlessly in the movie with mundane ruminations about life and experiences. Woody Harrelson as Carson Wells comes as a surprise but not a pleasant one. His role feels out of the narrative and the movie could have done without a detective offering protection in return for the money. The cinematography was awe inspiring. Watch out for the botched up drug deal scene as the filming blends so well with this dark tone of the film . Watch it and it will give you the creeps the kind you get when brilliance is at helm. 4.5/5
Review by HaseebShahid