My current Top 5

My current Top 5


Number 33: No Country for Old Men (Best Picture Ranking)

Just like The Departed finally brought Martin Scorsese an Oscar for Best Director and Best Picture, No Country for Old Men finally brought both of these Oscars to the Coen brothers one year later. Like most of their movies, No Country for Old Men mixes violence with dark humour and complex characters with various stereotypes. And like most of their movies, No Country for Old Men does it marvellously.

It’s a very effective crime thriller that puts together three unusual characters. Llewelyn Moss, a reticent man who happens to find two million dollars in the dessert, Ed Tom Bell, a sheriff who realizes that he doesn’t understand the world he is living in anymore and Anton Chigurh, a killer who wants the money back. Thanks to the writing and the acting, all these three different characters are able to make their storylines extremely absorbing and the Coens find exactly the right balance to handle these characters in the plot of the movie. Josh Brolin gives a great performance as Llewelyn, making him both smart and naïve and he knows how to carry the main plot of the story. Tommy Lee Jones’s tired face and body are a perfect match for the character of Sheriff Bell and he turns his observations about the absurdity of today’s world into very poignant moments. The most celebrated cast member is Javier Bardem who steals the show as the mad hitman – his Chigurh is one of the most fascinating yet menacing characters to ever hit the screen. In the role of Llewelyn’s suffering wife, Kelly McDonald also gives a highly moving performance (he final moments with Bardem are truly perfect) and also the other supporting players fill their parts with the usual eccentricities that one would expect from the Coens.

No Country for Old Men does not only offer various violent scenes – but also a lot of tension. The gunfight between Llewelyn and Chigurh at night in the hotel and then on the streets is a heart-stopping moment and the Coens constantly keep the high tension in the flow of the story. What’s probably most unusual about No Country for Old Men is that the Coens defy various ‘rules of moviemaking’ – nothing in the story seems to follow the usual formulas, from the solution between Llewelyn and Chigurh right to the final moments that come so sudden and unexpected. I admit that these aspects rather annoyed me the first time I watched the movie but a second (and later third) viewing showed me how much more there is to discover in the story and the characters.

The Coens also know perfectly how to add a certain amount of humour that isn’t subtle or smart but still never feels out-of-place – Carla Jean’s mother yelling ‘I got the cancer’ may be not funny for her but it’s still so absurd that it’s a hilarious scene. Maybe the word ‘absurd’ describes the world of the Coens best – it’s a world filled with slow-witted and smart people who constantly clash and where violence is a constant theme. It’s a constant mix of realism and satire, of comedy and thriller and the Coens know how to handle these aspects perfectly.


dinasztie said...

Would you say that Bardem deserved his Oscar? I tend to say he did. I didn't get the praise for Casey Affleck.

Fritz said...

I haven't seen Affleck yet. I've seen Bardem and Wilkinson from that year and I would say that Bardem deserved it (but wilkinson was fantastic, too)

Louis Morgan said...

I agree I had almost the same reaction. I would only disagree on a few minor details that annoyed me, but still it is a good film.

Anonymous said...

I hated this film and thought it was the most boring film of 2007, There Will Be Blood was definitely my choice, but I want to watch it again because I think that now I get Coen's "humor" better and can appreciate it better.

joe burns said...

I think it's well-made, but kind of pointless to me, notr Best Picture at all. Michael Clayton should have won..