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

           Directors Ethan and Joel Coen won four Academy Awards for their disturbing study of the depths of human darkness. At the beginning of the film sheriff Ed Tom Bell (played by Tommy Lee Jones) reflects that he has been the county sheriff since he was twenty-five, and had followed in the footsteps of both his father and grandfather who were law men. But times had changed, and "the rise of crime you see now, it's hard to take its measure." The rest of the film demonstrates that point. The simple plot is almost a mere ploy for the Coens's study of human nature — Llewelyn Moss stumbles upon a pickup full of heroin, slaughtered bodies, and a stash of $2 million. Trying to keep the money was a bad mistake, as the remorseless psychopath and ultra creepy killer Anton Chigurh (Javier Bardem) wants it back. But does he kill by choice or by chance? People always object to him, "you don't have to do this." He likes to flip a quarter and force his victims to choose. Fate and human freedom loom large for the Coens. The west Texas scenery and the absence of any music add to the suspense. Nor does the film end in any neat and tidy way, only Tommy Lee Jones reflecting on the disturbing dreams he started having after he retired feeling like justice did not prevail.

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