Suggested Alternate Title: Ninja with a Bad Haircut
Somewhat Like: A History of Violence, A Simple Plan, Kill Bill (if you can picture Uma Thurman as a European guy with an extremely bad haircut), Fargo (only not a comedy, and with miles of dessicated desert instead of miles of snow), a Coyote & Roadrunner cartoon (if Wile E. Coyote was an utter psychopath and had weaponry that actually worked)
Summary: I confess I haven't read any Cormac McCarthy, so I can't give my opinion on how this stands up to the book. It piqued my interest, though.
Blue-collar Texan Llewelyn Moss (Josh Brolin) stumbles across the scene of a drug massacre in the desert and discovers a caseful of cash. Problem: The most insanely driven villain in modern movie history (with the worst haircut in modern movie history), Anton Chigurh (Javier Bardem, also star of Love in the Time of Cholera), knows he has it. And he's not a guy who can be deterred. Chigurh also has - how shall I put it? - a creative way of dispatching people.
Leaving a considerable body count in their wake, these supremely stubborn men chase each other across deserts and international borders, hole up in motels that look like portals to hell, and rig up groovy McGuyver-like gizmos (they're resourceful, those Texans!). Sheriff Ed Bell (Tommy Lee Jones in perhaps his best performance) grapples with the case as well as with the brutality of the desert and the brutality of man. As in Fargo, by the end of the chase you have to wonder if "a little bit of money" could possibly have been worth it all.
Upsides: The Coen brothers! Nearly flawless bare-bones storytelling, and flashes of wicked dark humor leaven the heart-squeezing suspense
Downsides: Do sharp-as-nails lawmen really trample all over crime scenes with horses? 'Cause if they do, um, maybe they shouldn't?
Chigurh's haircut makes him look like some kinda deranged cross between Emo Philips and Prince Valiant, but it works.
Final Conclusion: In the hands of even a mediocre director, this movie would fall flat on its face. Thank God it wasn't in those hands. Not exactly rich in dialogue and very violent and gory, No Country for Old Men is brilliant and heady stuff if you can stomach it.
P.S.: Did I mention Chigurh has a really bad haircut?
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