After deciding that Cormac McCarthy’s The Road, with its searing prose and harrowing vision, was the best book I have ever read, I started to go through the back catalogue of McCarthy’s work, beginning with No Country for Old Men. The title comes from the poem “Sailing to Byzantium” by William Butler Yeats. The plot follows the interweaving paths of the three central characters (Moss, Chigurh, and Bell) set in motion by events related to a drug deal gone bad near the Mexican-American border in southwest Texas. While not as powerful as The Road, No Country for Old Men is an epic read.
Now I am beginning to think that, if I enjoyed the book, how great will the movie be? According to every review, the theatrical version is absolutely stunning. Brought to us by the Coen Brothers (Fargo, Miller’s Crossing), the film is already receiving rave reviews, even pulling a 9.1 (out of 10) on the oh-so-tough scale at The Internet Movie Database. Variety’s Todd McCarthy writes: “A scorching blast of tense genre filmmaking shot through with rich veins of melancholy, down-home philosophy and dark, dark humor, “No Country for Old Men” reps a superior match of source material and filmmaking talent. Cormac McCarthy’s bracing and brilliant novel is gold for the Coen brothers, who have handled it respectfully but not slavishly, using its built-in cinematic values while cutting for brevity and infusing it with their own touch. Result is one of their very best films, a bloody classic of its type destined for acclaim and potentially robust B.O. returns upon release later in the year.”
Javier Bardem delivers a tour-de-force as Anton Chigurh, a violent sociopath hired to recover the money. Chigurh uses a captive bolt pistol (called a cattlegun in the text) to kill many of his victims and destroy several cylinder locks to open doors.
Just check out the trailer and you can just tell how intense this movie will be.
And I just love the line that Woody Harrelson’s character delivers. Asked if he thinks Chigurh is dangerous, he replies, in a drawl: “Compared to what…the bubonic plague?” Although with what I am trying to do, I have to appreciate the movie’s tagline: There are no clean getaways.