WHAT I LIKED: On the one hand, 'No Country for Old Men,' does a truly superb job of planting the seeds of tension and theme within its dry and barren soil, as the film establishes everything it needs to in many properly ingenious and engaging ways. Indeed without the use of music and with very little dialogue at all, the Coen brothers expertly set the stage and place you on the edge of your seat with brilliantly focused direction aided by fantastic performances and cinematography. This results in the establishing of some interesting themes (which I'm told are translated well from the source material) and the beginnings of a tense and engaging character narrative of the kind that you'd expect from these directors that amounts to an awful lot of potential indeed.
WHAT I DIDN'T LIKE: The problem is that the film doesn't live up to that potential, as the expertly built tension is never released, and the third act instead attempts to round out the ideas with few narrative arcs to back them up. This may of course be a problem that the book created, but regardless, the ending here is massively disappointing, not because it's not the big shoot-out or happy rounding-off that you might expect, but because it's a weak attempt at concluding the themes that forgets entirely about everything else.
VERDICT: If 'No Country for Old Men,' had released its tension as incredibly as it built it, it could have been one of the best of the year, but sadly the third act here is weak on all levels. As a result, the film doesn't live up to its potential, and certainly doesn't live up to its universal praise.