No Country for Old Men (2007) (Short Review)

No Country for Old Men is one of those rare films which aspire to greatness and achieve the mark. The story of age, the passing of time, and finitude is told profoundly. The story is deep yet simple: a man discovers several million dollars in a drug deal gone wrong and decides to keep the money despite a group of Mexicans and murderous psychopath trying to kill him. He flees, sends his wife away, and refuses the efforts of the scrambling police all to try and have a slim chance at keeping the cash. The ending is unexpected; pragmatic and realistic it is more a meditation on the heavy burden of a long life than anything directly related to material wealth; indeed, the film’s materialism is there only so far as to stand-in as part of the catalyst for social and moral decay. So in this sense both the motifs (watches, dead animals, even the lingual abnormalities) combine with the director’s mise-en-scene to create a masterwork on what it means to grow older and the irrationalities which spring from the inability to formulate a coherent worldview which matches this new existential territory. Indeed it is one of the best movies I have watched in recent times: the writing is superb, the acting wonderful, and tension palpable. Any fan of serious dramas and good films in general should not pass up this experience.

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