(BY ALI NADERZAD) When American contemporary cinema is good, it’s really good. The English have Stephen Frears (The Queen is probably the most important film of the last decade) and we have the Coen brothers. But what is “American” you ask? American cinema right now is a Cormack McCarthy novel set in a dry Texan town. And it’s money. Lots of it. It’s a guy who finds this money and then runs away from the man this money belongs to (Javier Bardem). The plot of No Country for Old Men is thin, it’s the kind that fits on a dinner napkin. Lewellyn Moss (Josh Brolin) is a Texas welder living with his girlfriend in a very small town. During a hunting outing he walks in on a drug deal gone bad and walks away with a satchel full of money. End of story. What No country lacks in plotline it makes up for with pure and glistening dialogue and photography (Roger Deakins DP’d) that leave one gasping for air. It helps that Tommy Lee Jones is the good guy, Javier Bardem the bad one and newly-minted underdog Brolin is the hapless cowboy with all the heat on him. The three never meet directly, of course. Chigurh is after Moss and Moss is trailed by Sheriff Ed Tom Bell (played by Tommy Lee Jones). And noone else really exists in this bizarre triangle except for the occasional bystander or girlfriend, secretary or wife. No Country, Tex., is a man’s stomping ground, a place where blood mixed with sweat is the social lubricant. Chigurh doesn’t drink alcohol, he operates on body count. The higher the better, apparently. It’s like he’s locked in a race with himself. But there’s more to him than prowling around the carbon-copy Texas towns and drinking milk from Moss’s fridge. Or less, depending on how you see it. Chigurh may not even exist, after all. He might be just a figment of the imagination, sliding down into town through back roads and annihilating everything in his path. But figment or not, Texas police is investigating the case closely and has hired Carson Wells (Woody Harrelson), a type of profiler cop who is charged with derailing Chigurh’s free-for-all manhunt. When his boss asks Wells ‘how dangerous is Chigurh?’ he deadpans, ‘compared to what? The bubonic plague?’ There’s a kind of perverted wit in No Country, a self-deprecating sweetness, even, which is strange considering the deadly fumes which emanate from this movie. So, if you see a guy with a weird haircut who’s lugging around a compressed-air gun, cross the street gently—and if he asks you to call a coin toss, run. No Country For Old Men is a SCREENCOMMENT favorite and earns FOUR STARS.