These are my 20 personal favorite films of the 2000s and they are not being ranked according to any criteria, other than I love them. So here they are, in alphabetical order:
No Country for Old Men (2007) The lack of a traditional score (just 16 minutes of muted sounds throughout) is one of the great directorial decisions that the Cohen brothers ultimately went with in this amazingly well adapted film from the novel by Cormac Mccarthy. The tension that builds throughout does not require an outside source to heighten our senses – we only need the knowledge that Chigurh is out there, somewhere, everywhere. Desolate areas of Texas serve as the background as we are brought into the world of drug deals gone bad, moral and ethical decisions contemplated, and evil as sure as evil can be lurking.
Sheriff Ed Tom Bell (Tommy Lee Jones) is the focal point of the story, holding everything together as he struggles to understand the nature of the world around him, and though his screen time is limited, we understand that this story is about him, and others like him, not just about who gets the money. Josh Brolin is very good as Llewelyn Moss, a pretty simple guy who, once he makes a decision, finds himself caught up in something larger than himself, and no bargaining will get him out of this jam.
Ultimately it is Javier Bardem as Anton Chigurh who raises the level of this film to one of the top thrillers ever made. Whether he is flipping a coin to decide your fate, blowing your brains out with an animal killing air gun, or simply staying quiet, off-screen and silent, we know he is present, and that he always has been and always will be.