A and A's Movie A Day

Watching movies until we run out.

Movie 463 – No Country For Old Men

No Country for Old Men – June 6th, 2011

This is going to be a short review. I am thoroughly uninterested in this movie. Uninterested to the point of questioning this whole project. The only thing I can see about this movie that explains why we own it is the Coen Brothers. Otherwise it really isn’t at all the sort of movie either of us set out to watch. If it hadn’t been directed by the Coens, would Andy have bought it? I have no idea. I certainly wouldn’t have. Even knowing who directed it I would never have gone out and bought it. Because it’s not at all my taste. It’s a tense crime thriller and it’s a western. It’s a movie about good and largely innocent people getting brutally murdered by a sociopath. That’s not fun for me. That’s not fun at all.

I spent two hours tonight watching a movie that held no interest for me. Sure, I like Tommy Lee Jones, but not enough to watch this movie solely for him. It’s got a cast full of people I’m mildly interested in and they give excellent performances. It’s got a well written script but it’s a well written script telling a story I’m not drawn to. It’s got good cinematography and good directing and it is, overall, a very nicely crafted movie. It is an excellent example of its genre. And I didn’t enjoy one single minute of it. It’s not that I actively disliked it. This isn’t like Punch Drunk Love where I felt like a hideous movie was cheating me out of enjoying the gorgeous cinematography. And it isn’t like Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, where I could see how it would be a beautiful movie to other people but so thoroughly disturbed me that I couldn’t take away from it what other people did. No. I get this movie. I just don’t care about it because it isn’t for me.

And I don’t say it isn’t for me because of demographics or anything like that. It’s that the things that people enjoy about this movie aren’t my personal taste. They aren’t antithetical to my tastes. They just exist somewhere not in the same part of the Venn diagram that I occupy. I’m finding it hard to even muster up the interest in recounting the plot here. Why bother? Anyone who cares about this movie or is looking for something like it probably wouldn’t bother reading my review. But here’s the basic rundown: Llewellyn Moss is a hunter and welder who, by accident, happens upon the site of a drug deal gone bad. Several trucks, several bodies, a pick-up bed full of heroin and a valise full of money all point to someone not getting what they wanted and everyone paying for it. And that’s a good way to sum up this whole movie. Llewellyn goes home but can’t help thinking about that money. So in the middle of the night he goes back out and gets it, and for his trouble he ends up hunted down by a hit man hired to get the money back.

Llewellyn gets chased by an attack dog, which is a pretty firm clue that someone’s going to come looking for him. He sends his wife away and starts running, figuring if he can find a safe spot he can hole up and wait for the man coming to get him and get the hit man first. But the hit man isn’t just a hired gun. He’s a sociopath. Anton Chigurh kills people with a bolt gun normally used to kill livestock. And he kills people all the time. He needs a car so he kills a driver who stops for him. He kills almost everyone he encounters. He is implacable and unstoppable and he has a job to do and he’s going to do it. If I was so inclined, I’m sure I could do a fascinating character study on Chigurh and his personal code of conduct, his Two-Face-esque coin flipping and his choice of weapon. But I don’t really care about him. He’s in this movie to be the bogeyman.

Moss runs and Chigurh chases and while they do that Moss’ wife goes to her mother’s, which ends up being far from safe. Because this is a movie where horrible things happen to people who’ve done nothing wrong and I knew from the beginning what was going to happen there. I knew what was going to happen from the very beginning. This isn’t a movie where the good guys win, I’m sorry to say. That’s not the point. I don’t know if I could accurately describe the real point, but it’s definitely not about the underdog winning because good should prevail. Which is pretty depressing, but there you go.

The events of the movie are largely trailed by a sheriff played by Tommy Lee Jones. He’s close to retirement and jaded from the horrible things he’s seen and read about. And right from the start, when he sees the evidence of the drug deal gone bad and a subsequent execution of two more men he seems to know that the whole ordeal will end poorly for many people. He never seems hopeful that things will turn out okay for anyone. He just tries his best to keep things from turning out as horribly as they could. And he doesn’t seem to succeed, really. The movie ends on him, talking about a dream he had about his father. And it’s a bleak ending. A bleak ending for a grim movie I never wanted to watch and regret spending time on. An excellently crafted grim movie, but that doesn’t mean I have to enjoy having spent my evening watching it.


June 6, 2011 - Posted by | daily reviews | , , , ,


  1. If you found this story depressing, just contemplate how depressing it was for Tommy Lee Jones’s character.

    Comment by Doc Wheat | June 7, 2011 | Reply

    • See, that’s the thing. I don’t want to contemplate it. I’m prone to depression. Bad depression. I don’t need movies to tell me how to be depressed. I’ve got it down. This is why I don’t do depressing movies in general. And with this movie in particular, I don’t have any other reason to contemplate it. It was profoundly uninteresting to me.

      Comment by ajmovies | June 7, 2011 | Reply

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