And that's Josh Brolin in the background lowering his shades to check us out ... because we're just that cool. This past Saturday, I attended the New York Film Festival press screening of No Country for Old Men, which is a film that will most likely be featured among several others in the Best Motion Picture category at the Academy Awards in February. It's truly an amazing piece of filmmaking -- easily one of my favorite films of the year so far -- and one that's sure to be recognized as the Coen Bros. best film in years. I'm not going to write a full review (you can check out James' from Cannes, and we'll post another one as the release date approaches), but I will give my initial reactions.
Essentially, No Country for Old Men is a morality tale about an older man (Tommy Lee Jones) and a younger one (Josh Brolin) who get all mixed up in a drug deal gone wrong. Brolin plays a quiet hunter who stumbles upon a group of dead bodies and a bag full of money out in the middle of nowhere, while Jones plays the should've-retired-last-week Sheriff who's itching to help save the hunter before a psychotic killer (Javier Bardem) catches up to him ... and the money. The film offers up plenty of edge-of-your-seat chills, with equal parts blood and guts, but it also slows up and surprises you -- just when you think it's heading in one direction, you're off on another, bumpier path. For those that have read Cormac McCarthy's novel, you already know where this thing is heading from the get-go, so I recommend settling in for some beautiful cinematography (from Roger Deakins) and a plethora of top-notch performances (particularly from Brolin and Bardem).
If you haven't read the novel and you're going into this one fresh, you might find it hard to connect with some of the choices made (if only because the film doesn't go where you think it's heading after act one). There's no clear hero here; all of these men have faults, they make bad choices and their actions will ultimately catch up to them. But do they have it in them to walk away before the water boils over? That's the question. And only the Coen Bros. can make you laugh out loud during even the most dramatic (and chilling) sequences. No Country for Old Men arrives in theaters on November 21. Below, I've included a photo gallery with pics from the No Country screening, as well as from The Darjeeling Limited screening and the Before the Devil Knows You're Dead screening. Additionally, you can check out some exclusive stills from the movie here. Enjoy.