This film from Joel and Ethan Coen, the brothers behind cult classics like Fargo and The Big Lebowski, is probably their best yet. Based on the book by Cormac McCarthy, No Country for Old Men is a modern-day western that's every bit as terse and dark as that genre's greatest hits, and yet still manages to exude the wit and humour that the Coens are famous for.
The story is a simple one. Llewellyn Moss is out hunting in the desert when he comes across a macabre scene: abandoned cars, dead bodies, and a briefcase full of money – the hallmarks of a drug deal gone horribly wrong. Taking the cash and going on the run, Moss is relentlessly pursued by a seemingly unstoppable assassin (Javier Bardem, in an Academy Award-winning role), with the county's laconic sheriff (Tommy Lee Jones) following a few steps further behind.
No Country for Old Men is a suspenseful and truly exhilarating film, let down only by a rather flat finale. While it may be true to the spirit of the source material, it doesn't really work on film. That's a shame: if No Country for Old Men had gone out with a bang rather than a whimper, it could have been my film of the year. That said, it still won Best Picture at the Oscars. Watch the trailer here.