FIVE STAR FILMS #14: No Country For Old Men (2007)

There aren’t many films that get consistently better with every viewing but the Coen Brothers adaption of Cormac McCarthy’s No Country For Old Men is one of those films. It was the best film of its year, amongst stiff competition and five reasons aren’t going to be enough to do it justice but I’ll give it a try.

1. Josh Brolin – Lleweyen Moss

Brolin’s most iconic role prior to Lleweyen Moss was Brand in The Goonies. However from the moment he’s on screen his suave looks are complimented with a focus and gate that infers some kind of military training. Despite the stakes of being pursued by the psychopath Chigurh – he’s stoic and fierce. This performance was his star making turn.

2. Tommy Lee Jones – Ed Tom Bell

Tommy Lee Jones is Ed Tom Bell. There’s a palpable humanity to the character that brings the morality and despair to the escalation of violence and America’s descent into an unjust time. He’s a critical warrior poet and his existential musings are moving enough to bring you to tears.

 

3. Javier Bardem – Anton Chigurh

Other than Heath Ledger’s Joker in The Dark Knight there’s not a more terrifying and wholly mesmerising villain in cinema. Every single syllable that quietly and purposely falls from Bardem’s lips terrify you to your very core. As Woody Harrelson’s character aptly describes in that charming Texan drawl “He’s a psychopath.” And it’s amazing on repeat viewings that Bardem’s performance still feels unpredictable.

4. Coen’s vs Cormac

The Coen Brothers rarely adapt any authors and at the time they’d only adapted Homer (The Illiad was the basis for O Brother Where Art Though). Cormac McCarthy’s amazing novel was blessed with a usually impossible faithful adaption that translated the power of the words and weaved them into cinema.

5. The Cinematography of Roger Deakins

Every frame of this film can and should be framed for exhibition. The dark, earthy colour palette and beautiful composition make the film what it is. But why spout further praise when the stills from the film say it all.

Blake Howard - follow Blake on Twitter here: @blakeisbatman