No Country For Old Men

Watched: 19 August

This was the first time I’ve watched No Country For Old Men since originally seeing it on the big screen  incredibly, that’s nearly ten years ago. I remembered really liking it at the time, and of course its reputation has been cemented in the following decade, but it’s even better than I had thought, and though I’m loathe to make such unqualifiable statements it may well be the finest Coen Brothers film to date. (I like most of them, especially the ones that you probably like as well, but I do think that they’re at their very best as filmmakers when they’re exploring issues of providence, destiny and the complex nature of morality, while also appearing to have given up on all hope for humanity, as is the case here, and to a certain extent in Blood Simple and Fargo.)

Chigurh is one of the great literary and cinematic creations of modern times, and in Javier Bardem’s performance he is a terrifying Frankenstein- or Terminator-esque bogeyman, or perhaps an alien creature who is unable to fit in on Earth, incapable of fully understanding normal human behaviour and thought; to that end, a couple of scenes here reminded me of Alex Cox’s Repo Man, of all things. Bardem is superb here, the standout in a movie that also includes several more earthly turns from Josh Brolin, Tommy Lee Jones and Kelly MacDonald. Roger Deakins delivers excellent cinematography throughout, too. (*****)

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