No Country for Old Men (Joel Coen and Ethan Coen, 2007)
Based squarely on the expansive and menacing 2005 novel by the great American fictional writer Cormac McCarthy, No Country For Old Men was instantly snapped up by The Coen Brothers and converted into a screenplay which they themselves directed. Went on to scoop the Best Picture Oscar at the 2008 Academy Awards.
The Coen Brothers have returned with real authority. No Country for Old Men is a powerfully violent showcase about the consequences of the choices we make in life. Set in 1980 and close to the Mexican border a hunter, played with suitable naivety by an overshadowed Josh Brolin, whilst surveying the wonderfully captured Texas plains, finds $2 million and decides to go on the run with the loot. He is pursued, though, by an earnest town sheriff (Texan Tommy Lee Jones) and a ruthless killer who is basically the Human Terminator….a man who decided a long time ago that the taking of a life was merely a step in the right direction! Javier Bardem’s deadpan brilliance in this role rightly brought him Oscar success for the best supporting role. Only a knowledge of either Blood Simple (1986), Miller’s Crossing (1990) or Fargo (1995) (three excellent thrillers by the Coen Brothers) will prepare you for the devastation and unsettling humour in this one. A clinical social commentary with no happy endings.