101 Greatest Screenplays of the 21st Century (*so far)

Set on the plains of West Texas, the Coens’ screenplay, winner of the 2008 Writers Guild Award for Adapted Screenplay, is a master class in the power of the unsaid on the page. In place of words are cryptic, existential musings and brief encounters that conclude with sudden bursts of violence. What is happening is a chase, as a rancher with stolen drug money stays a step ahead of a hit man with a bowl haircut and a cattle gun and a world-weary sheriff futilely trying to comprehend man’s inhumanity to man. It’s a plot that unfolds as if pre-ordained by a higher—or is it lower?—power.