The Coen Brothers’ latest film sees the return of the classic bad guy, but if you are expecting a conventional movie though you have come to the wrong place.
This sibling pair of directors may have some pedigree behind them (Fargo, O Brother, Where Art Thou?), but convincing the general public to invest their time in a very understated modern Western was never going to be easy. Even the appearance of the familiar Tommy Lee Jones is mostly conspicuous by his absence in the majority of the drawn out 122 minutes, which won’t adhere to the usual multiplex crowd.
But underneath the stark setting of wild Texas in 1980, below the melancholy that haunts the air, lies a truly truly great story. Without giving too much away, it is fair to say Javier Bardem’s portrayal of the psychotic assassin Anton Chigurh, is one of the most disturbing performances on screen for a long time. The story is complex and one of the charms of the film, but essentially centres around the killer’s pursuit of Lewellyn Moss (Josh Brolin), after the latter finds a large sum of money in the desert, left behind after a drug deal goes fatally wrong.
Despite being somewhat overly obtuse and arty in places, the film manages to stray far enough away from being a pretentious Oscar-grabbing film, but only just. It certainly isn’t a Hollywood blockbuster, nor is it ever meant to be. Whether its slow pace and underplayed defining moments will cause many to feel cheated, remains to be seen, but as a cinematographic body of work, there will be little to rival the Coen’s Brothers’ masterpiece this year.