Monday, April 28, 2008

No Country For Old Men

No Country For Old Men is a movie that’s really hard to describe. I’m not sure if it’s a western, a drama, a thriller, a horror movie, or a mystery. It’s really one of a kind, for sure, and won the Oscar for Best Picture earlier this year.

The movie follows three main characters. Llewelyn Moss, who is a Vietnam Vet who lives in a trailer with his wife, Ed Tom Bell, a Texas sheriff who is on the verge of retirement, and Anton Chigurh, who is, for lack of a better description, a creepy psycho killer. I won’t tell you what happens between the three, or even most of the movie, but I’ll at least give you the basics.

Llewelyn is out hunting one afternoon when he comes upon an apparent drug deal gone bad. Everyone at the scene is dead, save one man who is injured and begging for water. Llewelyn, I think, is genuinely a decent man, but he knows that if this is a drug deal where all the drug dealers are dead and the drugs are still present, there is probably some money to be found as well. He finds it…two million dollars in a briefcase. And, as there aren’t any witnesses that he can see, he decides that he’s going to take it.

Little does Llewelyn know what his quick decision is getting him into. See, Anton arrives at the crime scene with the expectation that the money would be waiting for him, and he’s really not too happy that it’s missing. As the money had been equipped with a transponder, he is able to track every move the Llewelyn makes in order to get the money back. Being the psycho killer that he very obviously is, (we know that from the very first scene) Chigurh goes on the hunt for Llewelyn, and nearly kills every person he meets along the way. There are a few lucky exceptions…but even they must have felt death looming as they were conversing with the creepy Chigurh. He is violent and has no remorse, and he scares the crap out of me. Seriously…that guy…I don’t want to meet him. Ever. I don’t even want to meet the actor who played him. I think I’d pee my pants. The scariest thing about him really is the fact that he shows nearly no emotion. He talks deadpan all the time. He never looks angry, but he never really smiles, either. He is totally calm in the craziest of situations…and that is freaking NUTS.

Tying the story together is Sheriff Bell…who is essentially looking for both men, or trying to get to Llewelyn before Anton does. He is quiet and wise, and is perfectly played by Tommy Lee Jones. He is also calm in most situations, but unlike Chigurh, he doesn’t make me want to cringe every time he’s on the screen. He’s overwhelmed by how much the world has changed since he became a Sheriff, by the violence of the crimes he’s witnessing, and by the weariness he feels after twenty years of service. He honestly wants nothing more than to stop what is going on around him…but deep in his heart, he knows that it’s too big for him.

The movie didn’t end the way I thought it would…but then, in the end, I don’t know how else it could have ended. In reality, story doesn’t really even end…we just stop getting to watch it. Like the events that surround Sheriff Bell, maybe the story of Moss, Chigurh, and Bell are too big for us…and we’ll never know how, or when, the end really comes.