Deakins' photography is stunning, the Coen's keep you off guard throughout - constantly confounding expectations - and the performances are superb. The methodical actions of the protagonists as they plan and carry out an activity as simple as throwing a case over a fence, are incredibly compelling.
The metaphor at the end is a little heavy handed, and the point is laid on with a trowel in the final moments of dialogue, but by all accounts they stayed close to the book, and so I can only commend them for the commitment to source material.
Not quite the denouement of Fargo, more in the vein of Millers Crossing (not a bad thing!).