No Country for Old Men

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Directors: Ethan and Joel Coen; Release date: 18 January

The Coen brothers' latest film begins as a classic man on the run flick, as Llewelyn Moss (Josh Brolin) finds a case containing $2 million in the desert alongside a dozen dead Mexicans and a shipment of heroin. Taking the money, Moss embarks on a journey to the border, evading both Mexican and US gangsters.

Anton Chigurh (Javier Bardem) is the villain, pursuing Moss through Texas, while Sheriff Ed Tom Bell (Tommy Lee Jones) attempts to protect him from the seemingly unstoppable killer.

But Moss isn't simply the prey. He doesn't just run from Chigurh, but uses his wits and cunning to keep out of trouble. Brolin plays the average "all-American" hero, a rough and ready hunter enticed by the opportunity for a bit of easy wealth for himself and his wife, Carla (Kelly MacDonald). In the process you see the hunted becoming the hunter.

Meanwhile, Bardem is the classic "all American" psychopath, totally remorseless for the apparently pointless killings he undertakes in his relentless pursuit of Moss.

Tommy Lee Jones fills the role of the moral narrator - he is the "old man", though to start with he clearly portrays the "all-American" protector/lawman. The Mexicans are for the most part confined to the periphery of the story, as an ever present and mainly faceless threat, though fulfilling an important role in the film.

The impressive thing about No Country for Old Men is its refreshing complexity. None of the characters are black and white typecasts, despite first appearances. Even Bardem's character defies expectation at the end, and nothing really turns out how you think it might. The film is symbolically rich, and despite the fact that it seems to drag on a bit at the end, it is an enjoyable thriller with an intriguing plot.