Few movies can match the stark brutality and menace of "No Country for Old Men." This Coen Brothers film garnered critical praise for its bleak but enthralling storyline. How much do you know about the much-celebrated neo-Western?
"No Country for Old Men" is a modernist take on a Western thriller. It is a dark, moody movie that explores the bleak side of human nature.
Tommy Lee Jones is a sheriff named Ed Tom Bell, a WWII veteran who is about to retire from his career in law enforcement. He's about to encounter a strange series of events.
Bell is a sheriff in West Texas, known for its wide open spaces and remoteness … and lawlessness.
The movie is based on Cormac McCarthy's 2005 novel. McCarthy is the same author who wrote the apocalyptic book, "The Road," which became an equally apocalyptic movie starring Viggo Mortensen.
Josh Brolin is Llewelyn Moss, a Vietnam vet who is out in the open country hunting pronghorn antelope. He's a down-on-his-luck kind of guy who might yet have amazing opportunities in front of him.
Moss stumbles upon dead bodies, a wounded man … and $2 million in cash. He decides that no one will miss the money if he decides to keep it for himself.
It's a drug deal gone wrong in the desert. All of the men are dead except one, who is mortally wounded, meaning that Moss may have found his ticket to lifelong wealth.
Moss feels bad for the wounded man who begged him for water. He decides to return to the scene to help the poor man quench his thirst.
Most of the shooting took place in remote areas of New Mexico, but some scenes were filmed in Texas. The dusty Western towns become settings for a very unsettling story.
Brothers Ethan and Joel Coen directed the movie. They are known for off-kilter films such as "The Big Lebowski" and "Fargo."
He returns to the scene and encounters criminals who shoot him and chase him through the desert. He barely escapes with his life.
Chigurh is a hit man. He's been ordered to recover the $2 million that Moss stumbled upon in the desert.
Carla is Moss's wife. He doesn't really tell her the amount of money he found in the desert, but the cash is about to bring some seriously bad luck to both of them.
Given the all-star cast and top-shelf directors, the $25 million budget was a bargain. That's especially true given the movie's solid box-office performance.
It was no "Star Wars," but considering the violent content, the movie did very well -- it grossed around $170 million. Equally satisfying for the directors, it grabbed critics in a very good way.
Jones had played the part of the old sheriff before, and was concerned that he was becoming too typecast into that kind of character. But the excellent script and star directors drew him in.
The opening scene of the movie shows Chigurh violently strangling a sheriff's deputy. He's a cold-hearted killer who has no regard for human life.
Chigurh insists that the man flip a coin and call it. The clerk guesses heads, which is correct … and he unknowingly saves himself from a brutal death.
The case of money has an electronic tracking device that leads the hit man straight to Moss's cheap motel room. The chase is on.
Wells is a bounty hunter (and acquaintance of Chigurh) who's also out to recover the $2 million. When he catches up to Moss, he tries to convince Moss to give him money in exchange for protection from Chigurh.
It was one of Bardem's dreams to work with the well-regarded Coen brothers. So he set aside his misgivings about the violence and took up the role of Chigurh.
There are 22 deaths in this movie. The hit man, Chigurh, is responsible for many the worst killings.
Chigurh is fond of his captive bolt pistol. It’s the kind of pistol used to kill livestock like cows and hogs before they are slaughtered.
Bell is retiring in large part because he's tired of the wanton violence he witnesses in West Texas. Little does he know, he's about to see even more bloodshed.
Chigurh finally catches up to his prey and kills him. He takes the money and leaves.
The scene is a bit vague, but after he has a menacing conversation with Carla, Chigurh leaves the house and glances at the bottoms of his boots … presumably to check the soles for Carla's blood.
"No Country for Old Men" received eight Oscar nominations. It won half that number.
The movie didn't win Best Achievement in Cinematography. But it did win Best Picture and Best Director, two of the most coveted categories.
After Chigurh kills Carla, karma abruptly catches up to him. He's badly hurt in a random car accident, and he must bribe two kids to keep quiet about the incident as he limps away in pain.
The ending is a typical Coen brothers headscratcher. After all of the mayhem, the final scene is of the sheriff recounting a dream to his wife.