The Coen brothers' No Country for Old Men is about three men: one good, one bad, and one falling somewhere in between. It’s about reminiscing of a time when a town could be watched over by a sheriff who didn't need to carry a gun, and living in the present where a man is emboldened to take a life on the toss of a coin.
Blue collar welder Llewelyn Moss (Josh Brolin) is out hunting one day when he spies through his binoculars the results of a drug deal gone wrong. In a suitcase of money he sees the perfect opportunity to escape the trailer-park life he shares with his wife, Carla Jean (Kelly Macdonald). It's a win-win situation: there’s no way to trace the money to him. But his sleep is troubled by a dying man’s wish, and he makes a “dumber 'n hell” early-morning decision that invites a load of trouble into his life in the form of Anton Chigurh (Javier Bardem), a psychopath who leaves corpses all over town as he tracks down Moss and the money.
Ed Tom Bell (Tommy Lee Jones) is a weathered, defeated sheriff who is concerned by the escalating violence he witnesses in the line of duty. He chalks up the decline of civilization to the absence of manners: “It starts when you begin to overlook bad manners. Anytime you quit hearing “sir” and “ma’am,” the end is pretty much in sight.” He convinces himself that he’s not afraid to confront evil like Chigurh, but at the same time he doesn’t want to push his luck. At one point during the manhunt he acts on a hunch, and breathes a sigh of relief when he’s proven wrong. He never seems too bothered by the fact that he’s always one step behind the man he’s chasing; he confesses to his uncle that he feels "overmatched."
I've never before seen a menacing haircut on a person, but the swarthy Chigurh sure sports one. Nothing good happens in any scene he’s in, and he proves what a resourceful maniac he is by carrying around an air gun that serves the dual purpose of killing with one shot to the head and blowing locks off doors he wants to get through. He is described by a bounty hunter (Woody Harrelson) as a man of principles who is as dangerous as the bubonic plague, and at the end of the movie we see that he is also a man of his word.
No Country for Old Men won Oscars for Best Picture, Best Director, Best Supporting Actor (Javier Bardem), and Best Writing-Adapted Screenplay.
The screenplay was adapted from Cormac McCarthy's book, No Country for Old Men. In 2000 his novel All the Pretty Horses was turned into a movie starring Matt Damon and directed by Billy Bob Thornton. His latest novel The Road is in pre-production, and may star Viggo Mortensen or Guy Pearce as the father. Director Ridley Scott's version of Blood Meridian is tentatively planned for a 2009 release.