I was really, really late to the party on this one. Never knew about it, hadn't even heard about it, until @trlrtrash13
suggested it to me early last year. I went out on Amazon and immediately bought it.
It's easily one of my top ten favorite all-time movies now.
I've watched it probably ten times, and each viewing nets me something subtle I'd missed before. But each viewing also nets me at least one more unanswered question - of which there are many.
For those unfamiliar, it's based on the acclaimed novel by Pulitzer Prize winner Cormac McCarthy - I'd never heard of him or the novel either.
It's set in early 80s southwest Texas near Marfa, when cattle rustlers have given way to drug runners and small towns have become free-fire zones.
The story begins when local welder Llewellyn Moss (played with easy aplomb by Josh Brolin) finds a pickup truck in open country surrounded by a sentry of dead men. A load of heroin is still in the back, and about a mile away Moss finds the money after following a blood trail. When Moss takes the money, he sets off a chain reaction of catastrophic violence that not even the law in the person of aging, disillusioned Sheriff Bell (Tommy Lee Jones in a splendid role for him) can contain.
As Moss tries to evade his pursuers - in particular a maniacal, mysterious mastermind named Anton Chigurh who flips coins for human lives (wonderfully played by Javier Bardem) the film simultaneously strips down the American crime drama and broadens its scope to encompass themes as ancient as the Bible and as bloodily contemporary as the morning headlines.
One of my still nagging questions is, how many people did Chigurh kill in the film? I have it at about a dozen or so, mainly because I can't tell if he killed Moss's wife, or if he killed the moo-moo wearing motel manager either.
He has a tic, a habit of either removing his footwear or checking it after the deed - and when he leaves Moss's mother in law's house, we do see him checking his boots. But in the scenes with Moss's wife there he had no weapon visible, nor did he have one when he left the house. She was the only person offered to call the coin toss, who refused. So, it's open in my mind if he spared her or not. I guess we're supposed to think he killed her with bare hands, and she bled.
Another mystery to me is how Chigurh kept re-acquiring his pneumatic cattle knocker (
) with air tank, since he is seen leaving it at several murder scenes, but then later using it to pop locks.
Anyhow here's the trailer, I give this movie ten stars and highly recommend it if you haven't seen it: