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  Publicity Stills of
"No Country For Old Men"
(Courtesy from UIP)

Genre: Drama/Thriller
Director: Ethan Coen, Joel Coen
Cast: Tommy Lee Jones, Javier Bardem, Josh Brolin, Woody Harrelson, Kelly Macdonald
RunTime: 2 hrs 2 mins
Released By: UIP
Rating: NC-16
Official Website: http://www.nocountryforoldmen-themovie.com/

Opening Day: 14 February 2008 (Exclusively at GV Vivo, Plaza and Grand)



The story begins when Llewelyn Moss (Brolin) finds a pickup truck surrounded by a sentry of dead men. A load of heroin and two million dollars in cash are still in the back. When Moss takes the money, he sets off a chain reaction of catastrophic violence that not even the law - in the person of aging, disillusioned Sheriff Bell (Jones) - can contain. As Moss tries to evade his pursuers - in particular a mysterious mastermind who flips coins for human lives (Bardem) - the film simultaneously strips down the American crime drama and broadens its concerns to encompass themes as ancient as the Bible and as bloodily contemporary as this morning's headlines.

Movie Review:

Good films need not be enjoyable movies. Take Joel and Ethan Coen’s latest work for example. It is definitely not as accessible and agreeable as, say, a summer blockbuster, a date movie or a chick flick. But there is a reason why films like this neo-noir thriller are getting acclaim at major film awards, while your enjoyable popcorn movies aren’t. Of course, there is also the issue of genre. Academics refer to “neo-noir” films as motion pictures which depict contemporary themes of conflict, amoral values and utilize unique camera angles coupled with striking light and shadows

If the above description of “neo-noir” isn’t your cup of tea, then you probably do not share the sentiments of the 90-odd per cent of movie reviewers out there who feel that this film is a masterpiece.

Based on Cormac McCarthy’s 2005 novel, the Coen brothers’ film follows a hunter as he discovers a bagful of cash totaling more than two million dollars and a stash of heroin together with some dead bodies in 1980s Texas. He runs with the cash and pursuing his trail is a psychotic killer and an old sheriff who has seen times a’ changing over the years. The film then becomes a dark tale of moral values gone wrong and violent culture gone awry.

The film strikes you in many ways. The sparing use of music underscore throughout the film gives you an uncomfortable sense of despair – the silence is almost deafening in some of the most gripping moments. The sparse and arresting cinematography is a testament to how effective film language and visual communication can tell a gripping story without having too much dialogue. The faithful adaptation to McCarthy’s bleak novel showcases well-crafted protagonists which will go down film history as some of the most compelling characters ever created.

And talking about characters, reliable actors like Josh Brolin (the hunter on the run) and Tommy Lee Jones (the world-weary sheriff) are a joy to watch. But the show belongs to Javier Bardem’s creepy murderer with no conscience whatsoever. His awkward bob of hair and his frighteningly sinister portrayal of the killer have won him almost every supporting actor trophy at awards out there. We are saying he is very likely to be a shoo-in for the Oscar at the upcoming 80th Academy Awards too. You can also place expect this film to bag other awards in the seven other categories it has been nominated in, like Best Picture, Best Director and Best Cinematography.

Also nominated for Best Adapted Screenplay, there is some really dark humor and uncomfortably funny lines in the screenplay written by the directors themselves. You chuckle and laugh because this may be a defense mechanism for the intensity which is too much for you to take. Sequence after sequence of sheer tension will exhaust you mentally. They keep you at the edge of your seat, as you see Brolin hiding from Bardem behind a closed door. You see shadows moving across the door. You see the lights go out. You hold your breath. It’s gripping and not exactly a pleasurable experience, but you can bet you haven’t felt so much suspense in the cinema for a while.

Movie Rating:

(A taut and dark thriller that makes for a fine piece of cinema)

Review by John Li


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. The Dead Girl (2006)

. Sin City (2005)

. The Sea Inside (2004)


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