“No Country for Old Men” is a 2007 American crime thriller film set in the U.S.–Mexico border area. It is about a bloody war over drug-related money. Based on Cormac McCarthy’s novel of the same name (2005). Written and directed by Joel and Ethan Coen. 122 minutes.
The story revolves around the three central characters: Vietnam War veteran and welder Llewelyn Moss (Josh Brolin), who runs off with drug-related money, hitman Anton Chigurh (Javier Bardem), who chases Moss to get the money back, and Texas sheriff Ed Tom Bell (Tommy Lee Jones), who investigates the case.
In 1980, Anton Chigurh is arrested in West Texas. He strangles a deputy sheriff and escapes from the sheriff’s office. He stops a car on the road, and blows the driver’s brains out by use of an air-powered captive bolt pistol. Then, he steals the car and escapes.
Hunting pronghorns in the desert in Texas, Llewelyn Moss stumbles upon a site where a gunfight took place after a drug deal went awry, and finds several dead men and two million dollars in a briefcase there.
He brings the money to his home, but he finds himself chased by a gang of Mexican drug dealers.
Meanwhile, the U.S. drug-trafficking organization hires Chigurh to get the money back. The briefcase that Moss carried away has been outfitted with a transmitter (tracking device). Chigurh gets a receiver from two men of the organization, and he shoots the two men to death.
Moss makes his wife Carla Jean (Kelly Macdonald) go to her mother’s home in Odessa by bus, and he keeps himself hidden at a motel with the money.
Chigurh and Mexican chasers find where Moss is by receiving the signal, but Moss escapes from the motel while Chigurh is shooting Mexican chasers to death.
Moss moves to a hotel in the border town of Eagle Pass, but Chigurh also comes to the hotel, following Moss. Moss and Chigurh shoot each other, and both of them are seriously injured.
Sheriff Ed Tom Bell investigates a series of cases, and he seeks the whereabouts of Chigurh and Moss, but he feels helpless against violent crimes that he cannot understand, and starts thinking about retiring from his job.
Moss crosses the border and escapes to Mexico, but Chigurh and Mexican chasers keep pursuing Moss.
The title of the film “No Country for Old Men” is taken from the opening line of the poem “Sailing to Byzantium” (1928) by Irish poet William Butler Yeats.
“No Country for Old Men” is similar in character arrangement and storyline to the Coen brothers’ past film “Fargo” (1996).
In the film, hitman Anton Chigurh decides whether or not to kill the other by tossing a coin and making him/her call heads or tails. He is something like an embodiment of fate or unreasonable actuality. In contrast, sheriff Bell feels hopeless about the world that had lost conscience and reason.
From this perspective, the film shares similarity with Ingmar Bergman’s “The Seventh Seal” (1957), which dealt with the theme of the absence of God. However, an episode in the ending part of the film shows that Chigurh is not a transcendent existence like the personification of Death in “The Seventh Seal”, and he is also an existence who cannot escape his fate. It incorporates self-referential humor into the film.
The film won many awards, such as four awards at the 80th Academy Awards (including Best Picture), three British Academy Film Awards (BAFTAs), and two Golden Globes.