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No Country For Old Men

What's the Most You've Ever Lost in a Coin Toss?  

Year: 2007 
Running Time:
Aspect Ratio: 2.39:1 (Scope) 
Certificate: BBFC 15 Cert – Not suitable for under 15s 
Subtitles: This film is not expected to be subtitled, though this cannot be guaranteed. 
Directed by Ethan and Joel Coen 
Starring: Tommy Lee Jones, Javier Bardem, Josh Brolin, Woody Harrelson  
An image from No Country For Old Men

After stumbling over a clearing full of bullet-ridden bodies, a truck-full of heroin, and a satchel containing $2 million, Llewelyn Moss (Brolin) calls his fate and takes the money for himself. On his tail are Sheriff Ed Tom Bell (Jones) and the psychopathic bounty hunter Anton Chigurh (Bardem), a man who cares for nothing except finding and killing Moss via his own twisted sense of justice.

Based on the novel by Cormac McCarthy, No Country for Old Men marks the triumphant return of the Coen brothers to the silver screen. Resembling the brothers’ earlier works, such as Blood Simple and Fargo, the film paints a bleak, minimalist landscape of 1980s Texas, heavily infused throughout with the Coen’s trademark- sharp dialogue and dark humour.

At the centre of the film are some truly outstanding performances. Tommy Lee Jones delivers an aging, vulnerable protagonist, a small town Sheriff attempting to understand the violence and destruction he sees around himself. You sense his internal turmoil as he arrives at each scene of destruction, wondering how his central beliefs of law, order and decency stay valid in the modern world, which he sees spiralling beyond anything he can feel a connection to.

As Jones’ polar opposite, Javier Bardem plays the man sent to retrieve the money. In probably the film’s standout performance, Bardem embodies all the disbelief felt by Jones’ character. He steals all his scenes with the shock of ultra violence and complete detachment from any recognisable moral standpoint, completely intertwined with the modern world gone out of control.

Sandwiched between these two central characters, are equally solid performances from Josh Brolin and Woody Harrelson. Brolin stars in what could be described as the physical centre of the story, the man who goes on the run with the drug money and incurs the wrath of the cartel who sends Bardem out to find him. He plays his character with a cool intelligence, showing a level headiness that keeps him one step ahead of the cartel thugs. Harrelson plays a bounty hunter hired to find the money when it’s becomes apparent that Bardem’s character has gone completely out of control.

Full of amazing attention to detail and terrifying tension and suspense, No Country for Old Men is a true modern day cinematic masterpiece.

Edward Harry

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Screenings of this film:

2007/2008 Summer Term (35mm)
2007/2008 Summer Term (35mm)
2021/2022 Spring Term (35mm)