On April 7th, No Country for Old Men: Collector’s Edition released on Blu-ray and DVD from Miramax Films and Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment. No Country for Old Men is a fairly modern-day, violent Western directed by Joel and Ethan Coen, and stars Tommy Lee Jones, Javier Bardem, Josh Brolin and Barry Corbin.
No Country for Old Men is a set in the desolate wilds of West Texas in 1980. Tommy Lee Jones stars as Sheriff Ed Bell, from a family of lawmen. Although Ed Bell is apparently the hero of No Country for Old Men, he is only in about 1/3 of the scenes and is never involved in any action. The film’s action revolves around Llewelyn Moss (Josh Brolin), a welder hunting near the Rio Grande who stumbles upon a circles of shot-up vehicles, corpses and a dying Mexican who asks for water. He also finds some bricks of heroin in the back of one truck. Realizing that he has found a drug deal gone bad, and that someone must have made it out alive, Llewelyn sets out to find the last man. He discovers a body holding a gun under a tree with a satchel full of money – two million dollars worth. Llewelyn Moss takes the satchel, drives home, and hides the money.
However, Llewelyn feels guilty for leaving the dying man and can’t sleep, so he fills a jug with water and heads back to the scene of the massacre, knowing it is a bad idea. Sure enough, after Llewelyn parks his truck and walks to the Mexican’s truck, he is chased by some men and a dog into a river where he barely escapes after shooting the dog. When he gets home, he packs his wife up and sends her out of town, knowing the drug dealers will be after him and the money.
In the meantime, the villain of No Country for Old Men, Anton Chigurh (Javier Bardem), strangles a sheriff’s deputy with his own handcuffs. Chigurh steals the deputy’s patrol car, then pulls another car over and murders the driver with a cattle gun. Chigurh shows up at the scene of the massacre after Llewelyn Moss has escaped. He kills the two men he is with, takes their transponder, and gets information from Moss’s truck.
No Country for Old Men can be confusing for those who like to follow a plot. It is unclear what Chigurh was doing when he was captured, why he shows up after the massacre, and whom he is working for. The viewer must simply accept that Anton Chigurh IS involved, and will kill anyone who comes between him and the money… or anyone, or anything he feels like killing just for the fun of it. I don’t enjoy a lot of lose ends, so I found No Country for Old Men brilliant, engaging, overly gruesome and somewhat annoying.
The Coen brothers walked a fine line with No Country for Old Men. Most critics gave No Country for Old Men enthusiastic high ratings, but I am not as enthralled. Much of the violence in No Country for Old Men is gratuitous, especially when combined with the loose ends surrounding Chigurh. The Coens enjoy symbolism and archetypal characters like Chigurh, but in the same way brilliance can be boring, archetypal can be annoying. This movie will appeal more to men than women.
Directed by Joel and Ethan Coen, and starring Tommy Lee Jones, Javier Bardem, Josh Brolin and Barry Corbin, the 2007 Oscar® winner for Best Picture arrived on DVD on April 7. The No Country for Old Men: Collector’s Edition includes more than five hours of bonus features such as interviews with the filmmakers and technical team, and star Josh Brolin’s insider look at the moviemaking process of the Coen brothers.
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