Head to Head – No Country for Old Men

Welcome to the second installment of Head to Head, a brand new feature in which our Quickflix critics enter into a relentlessly bloody battle to the death based on the merits of a particular film. This week, our critics arm themselves with cattle guns and have a good ol’ fashioned wrassle over The Coen BrothersNo Country For Old Men.

Simon Miraudo will argue FOR the film and DVDman will argue AGAINST it. Let us know in the comments who you agree with. Let the bloodshed begin!

The Coen Brothers intricately paced adaptation of Cormac McCarthy’s novel is as close to perfect as cinema gets. Revisiting classic Coen elements such as “man stumbling across large sum of cash” and “unstoppable soulless villains that represents fate”, NCFOM is so tightly wound you can barely believe how quickly it speeds to its shocking conclusion.

Josh Brolin is perfect as a simple man in complicated circumstances. Tommy Lee Jones is a classic cowboy hero in a time (and film) that isn’t kind to his type. And Javier Bardem’s hitman Anton Chigurh is one of cinema’s greatest nasties – conscienceless, relentless and absolutely terrifying. For those unhappy with the film’s ending, well, that’s your problem. The film’s final twenty minutes delivers some startling monologues on the current state of life, the inevitability of death, and a country that is no longer just cruel to old men, but all men. The only way to make it better? Watch it again as soon as it finishes.


No Country For Old men is, rather typically, a drawn out self indulgent trip through Weirdsville for the Coen Brothers as they embark on “Fargo in the Desert” with another ensemble of unlikeable, greedy and murderous characters. This is so full of Coen Bros clichés you could watch any one of their other movies and see most of the same plot points, twists and jokes delivered by different actors, in a movie that is quirky and cool before quirky and cool became a movie genre unto itself. Tommy Lee Jones and Josh Brolin are solid but thoroughly forgettable, and Javier Bardem’s Anton Chigurh is possibly the most one dimensional character on film, thoroughly under-developed with delivery of trademark lines reminiscent of Arnie in Terminator. How Bardem won any award apart from “Stupidest Haircut” is beyond me.

The film attempts to build tension to release in a climactic ending, but fails, simply leaving the audience unfulfilled, slightly confused and thoroughly irritated. Even the signature sporadic graphic violence doesn’t save this film. Check out the Coen brothers back catalogue if you want to be entertained – watch this if you want to say you’ve seen it, because that will be the end of that conversation.

Now it’s over to you! Who do you agree with? Do you think like Simon, and believe that No Country is one of the greatest films of all time? Or do you side with DVDman, and think that the film is a disappointing entry into the Coen canon? Let us know! Choose your side! There can only be one winner!

Previous Head to Head’s


One Response to “Head to Head – No Country for Old Men”

  1. DVDman has masterfully put into words my exact thoughts (although I previously articulated those thoughts as “aaaaaaargh…not again…when will it end?” I now acknowledge DVDman as having articulated himself better than I did).

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