Friday, June 13, 2008

No Country For Old Men

Alright, folks. Not exactly the best person to write posts on movies but I'm compelled to do so. For the always-surfing-the-net-and-reading-movie-posts people, don't be disappointed or disgusted with this. Just. Bear with it.

*WARNING : Spoilers Ahoy*

The Story
1980, West Texas. In a voiceover, the local sheriff Ed Tom Bell (Tommy Lee Jones) tells of the changing times as the region becomes increasingly violent. Llewelyn Moss (Josh Brolin), while hunting pronghorn, stumbles upon the aftermath of a drug deal gone awry. Corpses, guns, vehicles are seen everywhere. One surviving Mexican is seen asking Moss for "Agua" (water). Moss ignores him and walks around, inspecting the site. After a fair bit of observation, he finds the ultimo hombre under the shade with the coveted 2 million in a satchel. Finders, keepers, and Moss goes home with the satchel to his waiting wife. Later in the night, he suffers a pang of conscience and returns with water for the dying Mexican. Incidentally, returning gangsters discover him and this sets off a cat-and-mouse game for the 2 million.

Chigurh, a professional hitman, has been hired to retrieve the satchel of money. Chigurh comes in at the beginning of the movie, apprehended by a deputy sheriff for possession of a captive bolt pistol. He escapes custody by strangling the deputy while handcuffed. Now two parties are hunting for Moss, Chigurh and the Mexican gangsters. Moss sends his wife back to her mom's in Odensa, while he rents a motel and hides the satchel of money in a vent. Unknowingly to Moss, there is a hidden radio transponder inside the money which enables Chigurh to track Moss down via the corresponding receiver. At the same time, the Mexicans track Moss down and wait inside his room to ambush him. Moss, however, realises the danger when he returns and rents an adjacent room and retrieved the money through the vent. Chigurh kills all 3 Mexicans in the room before realising that Moss has escaped with the satchel.

Chigurh continues his hunt using the receiver before locating Moss in another hotel. By now, Moss realises that a device is being used to track him. A firefight ensued and spills onto the streets. Moss escapes once again, heavily wounded, and Chigurh not any better, with a wounded leg from a shotgun blast. Moss awakes in a Mexican hospital, only to be greeted by another operative hired by the drug buyer, Carson Wells (Woody Harrelson). He offers to save Moss' life in return for the money. Moss rejects, Wells returns to his room, and is killed by Chigurh just as Moss calls the room. In the phone conversation, Chigurh offers a deal in which Moss' wife will be spared if Moss forfeits the money, but Moss would still be killed. Moss rejects.

Moss calls his wife Carla Jean (Kelly Macdonald) and tells her that he will give her the money and send her away, and says that once he finds Chigurh and kills him, he will join her. In a conversation between Carla Jean and Sheriff Bell, Carla asks Bell for help and protection for Moss. Bell gives his word that Carla's man will not be harmed. Unfortunately, Moss was found and killed by the Mexicans in a shootout as Sheriff Bell arrives a little too late. Carla Jean arrives later and discovers the death of her husband.

Some time later Bell visits his Uncle Ellis (Barry Corbin), an ex-lawman. Bell is planning to retire due to his weariness of the changing times, but Ellis points out that the region has always been violent. Ellis then tells him a story about Uncle Mac who was gunned down in his own porch. At the end of the conversation, Ellis says, "What you got ain't nothing new. This country is hard on people. You can't stop what's coming. Ain't all waiting on you. That's vanity."

In the meantime, Chigurh locates Carla Jean in the home of her deceased mother. They had a conversation and Carla was told that Chigurh gave Moss his word that she would die if Moss did not hand over the money. Chigurh then says that Moss used the opportunity to save her to try to save himself. Chigurh reconsiders and offers Carla Jean the same "coin flip" opportunity previously given to a shopkeeper. Carla Jean however refuses and says that she knew what was in stored for her. She says that the coin has no say, but it's just Chigurh. The scene ends with Chigurh leaving the house, carefully checking the soles of his boots, an indication, maybe, that Carla was killed. As Chigurh drives away, he was involved in a serious car accident. He paid some money to two kids on bicycles for one of their shirts before turning it into a sling for his broken arm with a jutting bone. He leaves the scene before the police arrive.

The film ends with Bell at home, now retired, reflecting on his life choices. Bell relates to his wife (Tess Harper) two dreams he had, both involving his deceased father who was also a lawman. Bell reveals that in the first dream, he lost some money his father gave him. In the second dream, they were both riding horses through a snowy mountain pass. He sees his father carrying fire in a horn, quietly passed by Bell with his head down. He was "goin' on ahead, and fixin' to make a fire" in the surrounding dark and cold. When Bell got there, his father will be waiting. Bell ends the story with, "Then I woke up."

Certain information, facts, and casting names are courtesy of Wikipedia.

Interesting stuff
There are few interesting things in the movie which captured my attention. They are :

1) Captive bolt pistol - Also known as cattlegun, used by Chigurh in blowing locks and killing his victims.

2) The conversations - The story was filled with interesting and intelligent conversations with an accent which was potrayed very well by the actors.

3) The story - It was a great movie, with a sort of open-ended conclusion. Not one where everything is predictable. One of the few movies where the antagonist (Chigurh) lives while the protagonist (Moss) dies. Injuries, deaths, and bombings were all realistically portrayed.

That's about it folks, a movie that got me thinking. =)


The Hedonese said...

A friend Soo Inn was moved to write a review too

wadefish said...

great insight from your friend. my "review" pales in comparison to hers. thanks for the link. got me thinking again =)