Plot: While out on a hunting excursion, Llewelyn Moss (Josh Brolin) sees an unusual sight in the distance. He makes his way closer and sees several vehicles, as well as some dead bodies and evidence of quite a shoot out. After a careful closer inspection, he realizes this was a drug deal gone sideways and in addition to a truckload of drugs, he finds a satchel with millions in cash. Moss also finds the last survivor and tries to get some information, but the man just asks for water and says little else. So Moss takes the satchel and returns home, but a trip back to the site proves to be ill advised and he encounters serious opposition. After all, millions of dollars were involved and with the cash gone, someone is bound to organize a search. As Moss tries to survive and plan how to keep the money and his life, a man named Anton (Javier Bardem) is dispatched to retrieve the stolen cash and he intends to do just that, regardless of what he has to do in order to make that happen.
Entertainment Value: I’ve seen a lot of strange, unforgettable characters in movies over the years, but few can compete with the monstrous Anton Chugurh. He is a literal force of nature in this movie, a real life horror movie monster that marches with steadfast resolve toward his mission. I love his interactions with all the different people, as he just seems like he is from another planet and not just because he is a psychopath, but he just has such an odd presence. As memorable as Anton is, he is just one piece in this deep puzzle and No Country for Old Men is not the kind of puzzle that offers easy, simple solutions. The narrative seems straight forward enough, but with someone like Anton on the loose, things are never as simple as they appear. I know some might not like some of the more open ended elements involved here, but not all movies are meant to be neat and clean. I appreciated as the movie as a tense experience and a glance inside the lives of several interesting characters. Bardem is beyond excellent as Anton, as the look, the mannerisms, and the cold conversations, it all combines to create one of the eeriest characters I’ve ever seen. Josh Brolin is also quite good here, while Tommy Lee Jones works wonders with his limited screen time. This is a powerful, memorable movie on all fronts, highly recommended.
No nakedness. If you were hoping to see a vision of what Anton’s sex life is like, no dice in this case. As you’d expect, Anton is the walking embodiment of violence and he is never shy about killing anyone he encounters. He uses a air powered bolt gun at times and a bad ass, silenced shotgun in other instances, but both result in some high impact bloodshed. There is also a car accident, assorted other gun based violence, and some more hands on assaults. The blood isn’t extreme, but when people get shot, it splashes around a little and some of the wounds are gruesome. But while the violence is graphic, it is also grounded and the volume of blood seems about right, given the wounds and methods used. The dialogue here is well written, from Jones’ thoughtful monologues to Brolin’s paranoid panic to of course, Anton’s ice cold conversations, which could make your skin crawl. Anton is just such an odd persona and his dialogue is unsettling, as he is direct and shows little of the normal human social graces. I think any of the scenes where he talks to people are just fantastic, as there is just a deep rooted dysfunction inside this character. Aside from Anton, the movie is mostly within a familiar framework and as such, isn’t that insane. But Anton alone earns a couple points, as he just that off the rails.
Overall Insanity: 2/10