Posted on 05 October 2007 by Rich Drees

The writing and directing team of Joel and Ethan Coen are at their best when dealing with the subject of crime. From their early films like the caper comedy Raising Arizona to the Prohibition gangland drama Miller’s Crossing to the modern day setting of the darkly comic Fargo, the Coens have examined, sometimes comedically, sometimes dramatically, the motivations to and consequences of breaking the law.

Their latest film, No Country For Old Men, adapted from Cormac McCarthy‘s novel, seems at once like a culmination of their thematic explorations and also a break with their earlier work. When Llewelyn Moss (Josh Brolin) is out hunting near the Rio Grande River, he comes across the site of a drug deal gone bad. Both sides have shot each other to death, leaving a suitcase with two million dollars. Llewelyn takes the case, believing that no one will miss it. But the case is indeed missed and those who want it back dispatch hitman Anton Chigurh (Javier Bardem) to retrieve it and eliminate Llewelyn. Tangentially drawn into the wake of Chigurh’s pursuit is Sheriff Ed Tom Bell (Tommy Lee Jones).

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