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“Money is the root of all evil.” An old cliché that the Coen Brothers have done much with, from the botched money exchange that fueled the plot of “The Big Lebowski” to the blood money that was central to the much darker “Fargo.” In “No Country For Old Men,” Llewelyn Moss (Josh Brolin) is a retired welder who lives a happy but simple life on a trailer with his wife.
All that changes when he comes across a drug deal gone wrong while hunting and makes off with $2 million. Before long, Moss is being trailed by Anton Chigurh (Javier Bardem), a man loosely connected to the massacre. Chigurh is without a doubt one of the most creative and stylistic killers in cinematic and literary history (the film is based on a novel by Cormac McCarthy). Dressed in all black and carrying a pressurized air tank and a silenced shotgun as his weapons of choice, Chigurh kills seemingly at random but in fact based on a set of “principles,” as Woody Harrelson’s character Carson Wells, a day trader and part time assassin hired to kill Chigurh explains.
Cinematically, it is the most beautiful thing the Coens have ever directed by far, and when combined with the complete lack of music from the film, the filming of the dim and desolate surroundings set the tone for the film perfectly.
The film is not without humor, Tommy Lee Jones’ character (Sheriff Ed Tom Bell) is so disturbed by Chigurh’s actions that cracking jokes is all he can do to maintain his sanity.
“No Country for Old Men” is arguably the best film the Coens have done yet, combining the dark humor that made “Fargo” great and the uncanny ability to create moments that will undoubtedly leave audiences biting their nails and clinging to the edges of their seats.
Our rating (out of 5): 4