What’s the Most You Ever Lost on a Coin Toss?

So I’ve been hard at work meticulously crafting my year end lists that no one but myself cares about, BUT I’ve decided to take a break to update my shitty blog with some thoughts on the film No Country for Old Men.

Anton Chiguhr: Scary as fuck.

No Country for Old Men is the Coen brothers’ adaptation of the classic Cormac McCarthy novel about a man who finds $2 million from a drug deal gone bad, only to be hunted relentlessly by a ruthless psychopath. While the premise of No Country for Old Men is simple enough, the film is rich with deeper meaning for those with enough patience to look a little closer.

The performances in this film are fantastic all around. Josh Brolin plays the tough Llewelyn, who finds the drug money in the desert while out hunting. It is from this point forward that he is stalked endlessly by Anton, played by Javier Bardem. I cannot stress how goddamn menacing Bardem is in this role. One of the strongest antagonists I have seen in a film in quite some time. His determination to find, kill and take the money from Llewelyn is downright scary. Anton is pursued by Tommy Lee Jones’ Sheriff Ed. The aging Sheriff always seems to be a step behind Anton though. This results in a pretty high body count.

Warning: The upcoming paragraph might spoil some things for you. I’ve tried hard not to, but in discussing the underlying aspects of the film, I may ruin things for those that have yet to see the film. Read on at your own discretion.

Although No Country for Old Men has a lot of themes at work, none appear more evident than the one of fatalism. Once Llewelyn makes the decision to take the money, things are basically beyond his control, and nothing that he does can change the course of events that will take place. No Country demonstrates the futility of trying to fight the inevitable at almost every turn. A feeling of helplessness courses through the veins of this film, and it’s almost overwhelming it times, despite the relatively detached nature of its narrative.

No Country can also be interpreted as a study of how inconsequential the fight against “evil” really is. Although Sheriff Ed has spent his whole life doing what’s “right,” bringing people to justice, he remains unfulfilled as the cycle is a neverending one. He continues to grow older, closer to the inevitable fate of death, and yet the cycle will continue long after he is gone.

At one point in the film, Sheriff Ed wonders how his father would’ve fared in these modern times. The fact is, Sheriff Ed himself has finally reached a point where he can’t continue to keep up his fruitless fight any longer. He accepts his fate. He accepts that this world is “no country for old men.”


~ by theoberlander on December 17, 2007.

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