Okay, before this spoiler-free review begins, I need to give a huge thank you to the Cameo Art House Theater in Fayetteville, NC for providing the best theater experience that I have EVER had. This theater, which caters mainly to indie flicks, has been in my city for years, but I never set foot inside until today. After today, I’ll be back for more, for one simple reason: THEY DO NOT ADMIT CHILDREN UNDER TEN YEARS OLD! That’s right, no annoying kids running up and down the aisles. No crying babies here! I swear, you should have seen the look on my face when I read that sign behind the box office. It was like the clouds parted and God cast rays of heaven on me, Lion King-style. They also have signs basically threatening death if a cell phone goes off during a screening. I swear to you, this is the quietest experience in a theater I’ve ever had. No cell phones went off, and no one so much as pulled out their phone to check the time, so there were no glowing phone screens to distract me. What a well-behaved audience! If you guys over at the Cameo are reading this, THANKS! You’ve made a fan out of me!
Now, on to this movie. I’d heard a ton of great things about this flick. Several prominent critics’ lists have this as the best flick of 2007. After laying eyes on this thing for myself, I know why. This is one of the best films that I have seen this year. It is amazing. Is it my personal number one? I’ll see when I sit down to do my list in a few weeks, but it is a serious, serious contender for the throne. If you have a theater showing this, go see it now. If you don’t have a theater near you showing this, drive, catch a plane, do what you need to do, but this is a film that deserves to be seen.
The plot revolves around a drug deal gone terribly bad. An ordinary guy named Llewelyn Moss(Josh Brolin in the role of his career) stumbles upon the bloody scene in a desolate Texas field, and finds a case of money with two million smackers inside. Like any human being with sense, he decides to keep the cash, not realizing that some very dangerous people are hot on his trail. I need to stop right here and single out just how awesome Josh Brolin is in this movie. He’s had a great year, with this, American Gangster(which he was the best thing about) and Grindhouse, and I hope that guy gets more work now. As the film progresses and the situation becomes increasingly dangerous, his performance gets better and better. My favorite sequence involves Brolin trying to escape from a hotel room midway through the film, and he is KILLER in this sequence. Another great moment comes from the picture of Brolin in this post. If you’ve seen the movie, you know that moment, and you know how cool it is. For the rest of you, I’ll leave it to you to discover and love. Man, he is great in this movie, but even his great work is overshadowed by the most terrifying performance I have seen in ages.
Do you remember the first time that you saw The Terminator? Remember how Arnold conveyed so much menace without having to speak at length? Javier Bardem out-Terminators Arnold in this film as Anton Chigurh. The guy is absolutely terrifying! He stalks around in a dark outfit, much like Arnold does, and the guy is seemingly indestructible. He’s on a mission to kill Llewelyn and get the money back, and will stop at nothing to succeed. There are several moments in this film that made me think of The Terminator, and I wouldn’t be surprised if Bardem watched that film prior to giving this spectacular performance. Believe the hype, people. Dude is the bees’ knees. He is just so creepy! At one point, he appears behind a character seemingly out of nowhere, and the entire theater let out a horrified gasp. I can’t fully go into why without giving spoilers, but after you see what he manages to do here, you will pray to God that you never run into this man in a dark alley. Whenever he came onscreen, I felt myself cringing, yet I couldn’t look away. Look out for his scene in the gas station as proof of his outright creepiness. He completely steals this film from everyone, which is a huge statement considering the level of talent involved in this project. You have to see this movie, so that when Bardem’s name is called at the Oscars, you’ll pump your fist in agreement. I found myself dreading whenever he would appear, because I knew that someone was about to be gruesomely dispatched. I guarantee you, you will never look at an oxygen tank the same way again. Man, the NOISE that thing makes when he uses it…I am going to have nightmares for days, I know it!
Although this film is the most intense suspense/thriller film of the year, there is a good amount of comedy thanks to Tommy Lee Jones as Sheriff Ed Tom Bell. Again, I found myself watching an actor having the time of his life in one of the best roles of his career. He’s not funny in a slapsticky way, but the way that he talks and the things that spill out of his mouth are hysterical at times. But more than being a funny guy, Jones portrays Bell as a guy who’s nearing the end of his own rope. You can see the toll that this case takes on him throughout the film, and I hope that people will be able to see past his wisecracks and see Jones’ subtle portrayal of a man who is growing increasingly weary over his job. He does a stellar job here, and after watching this, I find it criminal that he’s wasted so much time in mediocre films like the MIB series.
The tension in this film goes through the roof at times. I was literally holding my breath and filled with dread throughout this film. It was so tense at times that I thought I was about to have a heart attack. Man, I wish I could go into details, but I believe that this is a film that you will enjoy more if you know less about it. There are tons of HOLY CRAP moments in this film, but none more stunning than the ending. Without spoilers, let me say that this is an ending that will have some people very upset. When the credits began to roll in my screening, absolutely no one moved for about thirty seconds before we all comprehended that the film was truly over. When I initially saw it, I was annoyed, but on the ride home, I understood why it ends the way that it does. Once I get this thing on DVD, I believe that I’ll understand it even more.
Man, it is a great time to be a movie buff. I thought I was blessed to have Sweeney Todd being released next week(same week as my 22nd birthday, by the way), but this was a great early birthday gift. No Country For Old Men is a movie that reminded me of just how much I love going to the movies. I completely lost myself in an intense film with a thrilling story and AWESOME performances(can’t sell Bardem enough), and I can’t wait to see this thing again. Perfection. Absolute, sheer perfection.