The hot Texan landscape melts into the interiors of a police station. The camera freezes on the policeman now on a phone. The bowl-cut walks himself to the policeman from behind his back, grabs his neck under his handcuffs and pulls him down. The shoes struggle for breath and scratch the floor leaving marks, the marks grow thicker and deeper and then they stop. The bowl-cut has finished his job. Camera follows him outside the police station, taking the police car and driving off with the cylinder.
10 minutes after the opening scene, a killer begins walking his time in Texas.
“Would he be caught? Who else would he kill?” I shift my weight on the chair. “The heavy southern accent is killing me,” I frown. “So what is it leading to?” “It has to be good." I assure myself.
Back to the desolate landscapes…this time the camera picks up a hunter. He doesn’t get his game but he sure gets some money. As he sifts through the bloody scene of corpses and guns - a drug deal gone horribly wrong in the desert, he comes across two million dollars – the money for the deal. The true southerner walks back home with the booty.
But two million dollars that too looted can hardly give anyone peace! So begins the cat and mouse chase where the bowl-cut, as it turns out is actually a hit man, chases the hunter to retrieve the booty across motels in Texas and Mexico. The hunter puts up a brave fight. The 1980s Chevrolet chases and cowboy hats falling – the bowl-cut brings death wherever he goes in search of the booty. Very rarely does he give any innocent bystander a chance to choose their life or death!
“Too much of blood and gore.” I complain. “But the bowl-cut has the nerve of steel.” “So it is indeed a crime story.” “Is there an inner meaning?” I keep my thoughts busy.
He is limping and bleeding.He runs himself a bath. Pulls out a knife. Cuts off the trouser he is wearing, injects himself an antibiotic and the knife goes into his thigh. The bath tub goes red. His face doesn’t quiver…neither does his hand. In one quick motion he takes out a bullet. He lets some more blood flow. Washes the wound down with alcohol and gets up from the bath.
The bowl-cut just took care of the hunter’s bullet during one of the chases.
More characters keep adding to the film reels. They all sport the 80s look and clothes. One more bounty hunter. The hunter’s wife and mother-in-law. More motel owners. A local sheriff. His assistant. Sheriff’s wife. They come, some stay, many die.
And I desperately try to solve all the murders, trace the DNA in my mind and know that the bowl-cut would be caught if only Horatio and his team (CSI: MIAMI) were here. Most of my television watching in crime-infested America revolves around crime scenes and nailing the ***.
But it is 1980s. The Sheriff fails, the hunter gets killed, the bowl-cut gets his booty and walks away. The voice-over rants of a dream. A dream that suggests that there is ‘No Country for Old Men’ anymore.
Probably this year’s OSCAR was less of an ode to a good film (like it almost always is) but one to the criminal activities of present day America. “One burglary in every 15 minutes,” the stats say.
Javier Bardem, the Spanish actor in his late 30’s as the bowl-cut killer Anton Chigurh is the saving grace of the film.