“No Country for Old Men” tells interesting and terrifying story

Daniel Garcia

“No Country for Old Men” is a stark change of pace for the Coen Brothers, a pair of oddball directors with a penchant for dark humor. Adapted from a book of the same name by Cormac McCarthy, the film is a bleak yet fascinating exploration of the increasing prevalence of violence in today’s society and the inability of the world to combat it.

The film focuses on a man named Llewelyn Moss (played by Josh Brolin), a Vietnam War veteran who, while out hunting in the Texas wilderness, comes across the gruesome aftermath of a drug deal gone wrong. Amongst the corpses and carnage, he finds a briefcase containing $2 million. With no witness and confident of his ability to take care of himself, Moss takes the money and plans to use it to make a better life for him and his wife.

Meanwhile, the gang responsible for the drug deal hires a hitman named Anton Chigurh (played by Javier Badem), who will stop at nothing to retrieve the money, and is willing to kill anyone who gets in his way. The rest of the story follows Moss as he tries to outsmart Chigurh, and yet only succeeds in dragging down everyone around him. All of this is seen through the eyes of Ed Bell (played by Tommy Lee Jones), an aging sheriff who struggles to understand the actions of both Moss and Chigurh.

The characters in the film are wonderfully developed and interesting, and all play into the overall theme of the film, being the increasing prevalence of pointless violence in today’s world. The acting is superb, and each actor fits well into the character they play.

Of particular note is Javier Badem as Chigurh. His portrayal of the hitman is frightening and incredibly interesting. The character is more of a machine than a man, stopping at absolutely nothing to complete the job he was hired to perform, yet almost seems to act on a twisted sort of logic and ethics that make no sense to anyone but himself. He is without a doubt the most memorable character, stealing the show.

The rest of the actors give excellent performances. Brolin is great as Moss, a character who starts off as almost a typical action hero, yet becomes increasingly selfish, greedy and unlikeable as the film goes on. Jones is also wonderful, giving an incredibly realistic and believable role as a tired old man from an age long past, trying to make sense of such pointless violence in the film.

The film has an incredibly depressing and unsettling atmosphere that never lets go through the whole experience. It is also extremely violent and is frighteningly realistic. In fact, the violence may be a bit too much for some to stomach. It definitely earns its R rating. However, the violence and brutality of it only serves to make the overall theme of the film more apparent; the utter pointless nature of violence, and the impossibility of making sense of it.

“No Country for Old Men” is a film that is both interesting and unsettling. It is arguably the high point of the Coen Brother’s film career. Wonderfully thought provoking, disturbing and memorable, a journey into “No Country for Old Men” is one that will not soon be forgotten.