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No Country for Old Men (2007). The Coen Brothers. No Country for Old Men (2007) Cast. The Coen Brothers. The Coen Brothers. The Coen Brothers.

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No Country for Old Men (2007)

The Coen Brothers


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No Country for Old Men (2007)

Cast

The Coen Brothers




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"No Country for Old Men" is as good a film as the Coen brothers, Joel and Ethan, have ever made, and they made "Fargo." It involves elements of the thriller and the chase but is essentially a character study, an examination of how its people meet and deal with a man so bad, cruel and unfeeling that there is simply no comprehending him. Chigurh is so evil, he is almost funny sometimes. "He has his principles," says the bounty hunter, who has knowledge of him.

Consider another scene in which the dialogue is as good as any you will hear this year. Chigurh enters a rundown gas station in the middle of wilderness and begins to play a word game with the old man (Gene Jones) behind the cash register, who becomes very nervous. It is clear they are talking about whether Chigurh will kill him. Chigurh has by no means made up his mind. Without explaining why, he asks the man to call the flip of a coin. Listen to what they say, how they say it, how they imply the stakes. Listen to their timing. You want to applaud the writing, which comes from the Coen brothers, out of McCarthy.—Roger Ebert

The Coen Brothers


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This movie is a masterful evocation of time, place, character, moral choices, immoral certainties, human nature and fate. It is also, in the photography by Roger Deakins, the editing by the Coens and the music by Carter Burwell, startlingly beautiful, stark and lonely. As McCarthy does with the Judge, the hairless exterminator in his "Blood Meridian" (Ridley Scott's next film), and as in his "Suttree," especially in the scene where the riverbank caves in, the movie demonstrates how pitiful ordinary human feelings are in the face of implacable injustice. The movie also loves some of its characters, and pities them, and has an ear for dialog not as it is spoken but as it is dreamed.

Many of the scenes in "No Country for Old Men" are so flawlessly constructed that you want them to simply continue, and yet they create an emotional suction drawing you to the next scene. Another movie that made me feel that way was "Fargo." To make one such film is a miracle. Here is another.—Roger Ebert

The Coen Brothers


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The Coens have often used cruel violence to make their points -- that's nothing new -- but putting that violence to work in the service of allegedly deep themes isn't the same as actually getting your hands dirty. "No Country for Old Men" feels less like a breathing, thinking movie than an exercise. That may be partly because it's an adaptation of a book by a contemporary author who's usually spoken of in hushed, respectful, hat-in-hand tones, as if he were a schoolmarm who'd finally brought some sense and order to a lawless town. I know people who adore McCarthy's prose, but I've always found it to be like particleboard artfully molded to look like warped and worn-down planks, less weatherbeaten than worked over. "No Country for Old Men" is what seems to pass these days for a successful adaptation: It's authentic in the same shop-class-project way.—Stephanie Zacharek in Salon

The Coen Brothers


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No Country points -- that's nothing new -- but putting that violence to work in the service of allegedly deep themes isn't the same as actually getting your hands dirty. "No Country for Old Men" feels less like a breathing, thinking movie than an exercise. That may be partly because it's an adaptation of a book by a contemporary author who's usually spoken of in hushed, respectful, hat-in-hand tones, as if he were a schoolmarm who'd finally brought some sense and order to a lawless town. I know people who adore McCarthy's prose, but I've always found it to be like particleboard artfully molded to look like warped and worn-down planks, less weatherbeaten than worked over. "No Country for Old Men" is what seems to pass these days for a successful adaptation: It's authentic in the same shop-class-project wayis a pitch-perfect thriller that delivers the pleasurable fear and suspense expected of the genre even as it sends its conventions to the shredder. It is masterfully designed and shot, with brilliant sound editing and perhaps the subtlest score in film history, by Carter Burwell; a study could be written just of its use of wind noises. The nightmare quality of the story and the bone-dry humour of the dialogue seem oddly complementary: somehow the Coens linger at the gallows cracking jokes without losing sympathy for the dead. "These boys appear to be managerial," a deputy sheriff notes of some well-dressed corpses at the scene of the massacre.—Ben Walters (Sight and Sound)

The Coen Brothers


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There are no edifying models of manhood here. Sheriff Bell is well intentioned but troubled and halting; Moss is courageously but disastrously foolhardy. (Both Moss and Chigurh make repeated attempts at the sort of improvisatory survivalism that was a staple of 1980s television shows like MacGyver and The A-Team, though Chigurh is notably more accomplished.) In Bell's and Moss' marriages, though - with Bell's strongly reminiscent of the loving, supportive relationship between Marge and Norm in Fargo (1996) - the Coens once again suggest that human connection trumps Hollywood-style man-alone heroism. Just compare the relaxed, warm atmosphere of the Moss trailer or the Bell homestead with the dump motels to whose garish signage, flimsy walls and soulless decorations the film pays such keen and damning attention. Here as elsewhere, hotels are the setting for a series of big and little deaths, most of them pointless and dumb. Sheriff Bell recognises the absurdity at work in this world. "I laugh myself sometimes," he says. "Ain't a whole lot else you can do."—Ben Walters (Sight and Sound)

The Coen Brothers


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