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NO COUNTRY FOR OLD MEN

Director: JOEL COEN & ETHAN COEN

U.S.A. • 2007 • COLOUR • ANAMORPHIC • DOLBY/DTS DIGITAL STEREO • 122 MIN


THE COEN BROTHERS’ FIERCELY POETIC ADAPTATION OF CORMAC McCARTHY’S BLEAK CRIME NOVEL MARKS A MAJOR RETURN TO FORM, WITH OSCAR NOMINATIONS BOUND TO FOLLOW.
While hunting in the desert, Llewelyn Moss (Josh Brolin) stumbles upon a drug deal gone bad: bodies are strewn everywhere, beside bullet-holed pick-up trucks stuffed with heroin and more than $2 million in cash. Many classic Westerns were set in these sun-baked Texan/Mexican borderlands beside the Rio Grande. But it’s now 1980, and times have changed. Hard drugs, and the ruthless violence associated with them, have displaced the Old West and its manly codes of honour. So when Vietnam veteran Llewelyn takes the money, to seek a new start for himself and his wife Carla Jean (Kelly Macdonald), the chance of a lifetime rapidly turns into a chase to the death. Pursued by the dogged local Sheriff Bell (Tommy Lee Jones) and chilling, rootless sociopath Chigurh (Javier Bardem), Llewelyn enters a world of Old Testament morality mixed with cold, modern nihilism. Although the Coens’ sinewy storytelling and sparse dialogue are not without their moments of wry, absurd or gallows humour, the overall tone is dark and at times despairing. Tommy Lee Jones’ ageing old-timer knows his days are numbered, Bardem’s expressionless Chigurh displays the blank face of the amoral future, and Josh Brolin’s good ol’ boy is smart and determined but way out of his league. But the harsh beauty of cinematographer Roger Deakins’ desert vistas and small town settings elevates these human and symbolic conflicts to the level of modern myth.—Nigel Floyd.

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