Blackadder’s Lair

The home of many a cunning plan

No Country For Old Men

This is a film that, as the cliche goes, works on several different levels. On one level the film is a simple chase thriller. Llewelyn Moss, a Vietnam vet and welder in a small town near the Texas border, stumbles upon a drug deal gone wrong in the desert. He takes the money, and is thereafter pursued by several parties, including Anton Chigurh, a psychopath who kills people (among other ways) using a cattle gun. There is a lot of cat-and-mouse type action in the film, as each of the parties attempts to anticipate and outmaneuver the other side, and a fair amount of straightforward action as well (I should mention that the film is quite violent). Add to this the wonderfully quirky dialog present in any Cohen brothers’ film, and you have a movie that’s well worth your time.

On a deeper level, though, the film is about civilizational decline, about the relationship between chance and fate, and a number of other philosophical issues. Tommy Lee Jones, who plays a small town Sheriff in the film, grew up in an era where many lawmen didn’t even where guns, and is totally unprepared for anything like the conscienceless (though in his own sick way principled) Chigurh. Chigurh, for his part, seems sometimes to see everything that happens as deterministic and fated, while at other times (such as when he decides whether to kill a man based on a flip of a coin) his life appears governed by chance and randomness. I got into an extended, several hour long discussion with friends over the meaning of No Country, and if that is your sort of thing, the movie provides an added bonus.

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January 31, 2008 - Posted by | Film

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