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No Country For Old Men

Tom's Recommended Film of the Week

No Country For Old Men

Right from the start, I'd like to caution that No Country For Old Men is a violent film. No doubt about that, so if you are bothered by violence in film, better pass on this one. The whole premise of No Country For Old Men centers in on the violence that permeates the edges of our lives in the form of criminals and law enforcement. It questions what might push one of these elements past the thin line that divides them, or what might draw others towards either of these lifestyles. This story compels the viewer to think about their own personal values and how fully we might cling to them in the face of temptation, adversity and hopelessness. Consider it an exploration of the human element within the businesses of drugs, money and public service.

In No Country For Old Men, we see intelligence, power, audacity, greed and stupidity each surfacing to cause incidents, which lead to unavoidable outcomes. While one character in the film purports that chance is an ever-present element, the story line begs to differ. Once the first decision is made, by the first character most viewers will identify with, a course is set which seems inevitable and once the viewer realizes this, the questions begin to crop up.

An outstanding novel by Cormac McCarthy, excellent direction and production by Joel and Ethan Coen and underplayed yet powerful acting from Tommy Lee Jones, Javier Bardem, Josh Brolin, Kelly Macdonald, Woody Harrelson, Gene Jones and Barry Corbin combine to show us the incredible possibilities of a world with character, but no courtesy. Listen closely to Ed Tom Bell, he is the voice of the novel and of the film, and provides the perspective that grounds the story.

My favorite films are always the ones that catch you off guard and make you think. No Country For Old Men does both and keeps you thinking for a long time after the film has ended.