Results 1 to 7 of 7
  1. #1
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Location
    Boston area, OK, Newton, right by Heartbreak Hill

    No Country for Old Men - Discussion thread with spoilers

    I thought I'd start a new thread so those of us who have seen the movie can talk about it without spoiling it for everybody else. First I'll comment that this week's New Yorker has a Shouts and Murmur's piece that is basically a spoiler for the whole film. I read 2/3rds of it before I realized it though. Then I thought wait, this is a spoiler for the film I'm going to see tonight so I was a bit miffed. I only get to see movies rated above PG every couple of months or so. Boo Nora Ephron.

    Anyway, back to discussing the movie. I was not disappointed by the ending. I thought 'Wow, they didn't go all Hollywood on us. I guess only the Coen brothers get to avoid that.' I haven't read the McCarthy novel but from what I've read about it he uses the notion of randomness vs. causality as a central theme. How much do we really determine our own lives? How much does luck/randomness influence it? But also the question of what would it take for us to basically throw what we have away (as Moss's character does)? Tommy Lee Jones's character does that too now that I think about it.

    I thought the shot sequence at the end completely telegraphed the car accident - stoplight, rear-view mirror POV, stoplight, crash. As soon as I saw that green light I knew there would be an accident. I was mildly surprised that Bardem's character survived it. I suppose I might have liked the ending a bit better if he was either dead or incapacitated by the crash, 'killed by randomness'.

    I think Jones's character, Ed Tom, had reached the end of his abilities to continue his life as he had lived it so far. Something from the book that's not in the movie (and I only know this from a plot synopsis) is that he was haunted by actions he took in WWII, actions that won him a medal. So, we have a guy who can't keep being what he has been but doesn't have a plan for the rest of his life either. Perhaps not interesting but very real.

    At first I thought we might be getting a bit of redemption for Anton (Bardem's character). Despite everything we've seen him do we have Carson Wells's (Woody Harrelson) statement that he is a man of principles. We see a glimpse of that in the short scene with Carla Jean. He's come to kill her because he said he would. Everything else has gone his way, he got the money, Moss is dead, the powers that be that wanted to take him out are dead. But in his mind, Carla Jean is unfinished business. I wish we'd seen just a bit more of the discussion because she is right in that scene. Randomness may determine our lives but it does not mean that we don't have choices. Anton could choose to 'do the right thing' in this situation and not what he promised because all the parameters have changed. He doesn't (I think that's the significance of him wiping his shoes) and he goes beyond redemption at that point. I'm not sure if Ed Tom is beyond redemption but I think he thinks he is. Moss goes beyond redemption when he does not give himself up to save Carla Jean. We get no redemption. I just recently watched Woody Allen's Match Point and I'm struck by some similarities in the themes. Hmmm. Of course Match Point is Crimes and Misdemeanors II with the Woody bits cut out.

    What do I mean by going all Hollywood on us? Well, we don't get the 'big showdown' scene between Moss and Anton (Chigure?) or even one between Ed Tom and Anton. That would have been going all Hollywood on us. Is that what those of us who were unsatisfied by the ending were missing?

    I closed my eyes for a significant portion of this movie because the violence did get to me but I'm not sorry I saw it.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Location
    Ashburn, VA
    I also definitely saw the car accident coming from a mile away. Of course, I figured Anton would die so I was a bit surprised there.

    In terms of Moss being beyond redemption because he didn't save Carla Jean - do you think what he did was reasonable though? Did he know enough about Anton up to that point to reason that even if he died in attempting to go after him, Anton would still go be later and kill Carla Jean? Weighing that and the fact that he didn't know how things would turn out at the motel, it seems like an almost impossible choice to say "OK, Anton, you're right - I'm going to come and let you kill me and then everyone will be happy." I mean, how many people would do that?

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Location
    Boston area, OK, Newton, right by Heartbreak Hill
    Quote Originally Posted by snowdenscold View Post
    In terms of Moss being beyond redemption because he didn't save Carla Jean - do you think what he did was reasonable though? Did he know enough about Anton up to that point to reason that even if he died in attempting to go after him, Anton would still go be later and kill Carla Jean?
    Moss would have to trust what Carson Wells says but Wells does tell him what Anton is like so yes, he should know. Anton tells him so too in the phone conversation. Plus, I think the way things turned out, we're led to believe that Moss was in a motel room with the pool girl when he was killed, set-up or no. Moss is tragic though because we have no story if he doesn't go back to bring water to the dying Mexican. An act of mercy gets his family killed. But we have no story if he doesn't take the money either.

    What I kind of can't figure out, since Moss comes across as very intelligent, why he didn't switch the money to a different case right away. I would have. I do hate when important plot points require otherwise intelligent characters to do something very stupid. Just him having that case looked suspicious. Why not put it all in one of his own suitcases? Or a bag even. That black briefcase just screamed 'Look! I'm carrying around a bunch of money!' But again, if he does that he probably finds the transponder sooner . . . and we have no story.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Location
    Hot'Lanta... home of the Falcons!
    I sorta liked that we did not get to see Moss get killed. He was toast as soon as he relaxed and started chatting with the "have a beer?" girl-- who I thought was a plant to get him off guard. I sorta wish we could have seen Anton taking on a whole cadre of Mexican drug dudes if only because it would have been another kick butt scene from Bardem, but I could live with seeing them fleeing the scene like scared puppy dogs. That was fun.

    But, what about Ed Tom coming into the hotel room while Anton was hiding in the closet with the big bag of money? What happened there? How did Bardem not get the drop of Ed Tom and whack him like he had whacked virtually every other person he had ever come across?

    What were we supposed to get from the final scene with Ed Tom's dream about his father? That thing came totally out of left field. And how was Ed Tom unredeemable? I merely saw him as an old, local sheriff who was in a bit over his head with hyper-violent criminals and he didn't really do anything about it nor could he do anything about it.

    I liked the final scene with Anton and Carla Jean. I love that she refused to pick heads or tails (I would have enjoyed seeing Anton ask that question to a lot more people).

    I get that the movie was largely about randomness-- that's kinda cool-- and I didn't mind Anton living through the final car crash. The bone sticking out of his arm was so badass!! I found it an unsatisfying resolution to that character though. I am not sure what more I wanted, but I wanted something different.

    What really bothered me was the two final scenes with Ed Tom-- the dream scene and the discussion with Barry Corbin. They just felt so much like they came from left field and drew on nothing from the previous 100 minutes of the film. Heck, Ed Tom was not even a character I cared about all that much nor a character who meant that much to the story. Why did we focus on him so much at the end?

    --Jason "for a movie I loved, I had a lot of problems with it " Evans

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Location
    Ashburn, VA
    Quesiton about the coin toss:

    Are we meant to assume the gas station owner was allowed to live when he guessed the flip correctly? Maybe I missed something, but I thought he was let go, despite having seen Anton. Assuming that's true (big if), how would have guessing right affected Carla Jean? Since he had other factors to consider in dealing with her and all...

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Location
    Boston area, OK, Newton, right by Heartbreak Hill
    Quote Originally Posted by JasonEvans View Post
    I sorta liked that we did not get to see Moss get killed. He was toast as soon as he relaxed and started chatting with the "have a beer?" girl-- who I thought was a plant to get him off guard. I sorta wish we could have seen Anton taking on a whole cadre of Mexican drug dudes if only because it would have been another kick butt scene from Bardem, but I could live with seeing them fleeing the scene like scared puppy dogs. That was fun.

    But, what about Ed Tom coming into the hotel room while Anton was hiding in the closet with the big bag of money? What happened there? How did Bardem not get the drop of Ed Tom and whack him like he had whacked virtually every other person he had ever come across?
    My two cents. Agree not seeing the shoot out where Moss gets killed is fine with me. I think the girl was a plant too. Why doesn't Anton kill Ed Tom? Well, Ed Tom is the only one who has figured out he's there. If he kills him, the hunt goes on, doesn't it? At this point, he leaves and everything up to that point, including the deputy that he kills at the beginning can be blamed on the fleeing Mexicans. If he kills Ed Tom, the local sheriff, the manhunt begins anew. And depending on how popular he was, it could begin in earnest. Somehow I think that Anton knows who he's dealing with and, given that he's a man of principle, respects the intelligence displayed by Ed Tom. So, he runs away instead. He's runs away from Moss when he knows the odds are against him, so he does sometimes run away. We can also infer that he lets the accountant live that's in Stephen Root's office. 'That depends, do you see me?' I'm sure as hell saying no. I'd argue that Anton to a certain extent respects the intelligence displayed by Moss in his ability to elude him as long as he did, which is why he offered him the chance to save his wife.

    What were we supposed to get from the final scene with Ed Tom's dream about his father? That thing came totally out of left field. And how was Ed Tom unredeemable? I merely saw him as an old, local sheriff who was in a bit over his head with hyper-violent criminals and he didn't really do anything about it nor could he do anything about it.
    I need to watch that scene again or maybe, gasp, read the book. (Actually, I read a lot.) I don't think Ed Tom is irredeemable, I think he thinks he is. And I think the reasons for that were left out of the movie. From what I've read about the novel, the Ed Tom character is unable to forgive himself for something he did during WWII but I don't know what. I think he'd just reached a point where he didn't want to see anymore killing or it's aftermath.

    I too loved the final scene between Anton and Carla Jean.

    Hmm, unsatisfying ending to Anton's character, OK. Here's my take on that too, for what it's worth. Those two boys see him and he takes one of their shirts and gives them a bloody $100 bill. His last comment is 'You didn't see me, when the ambulance arrives, tell them I already left.' Right. That's going to work. So now I'm thinking something else and I don't mind that he lives after all because does he really? That wound will very likely kill him. Perhaps he can set it himself but he's going to be linked to the murder as soon as they find Carla Jean's body so he won't be able to seek medical attention at least not locally, he's got no car, his arm is broken, I forget, did he take the cattle gun with him? I don't think so. He may be oops, can't say what Jason said, but he's incapacitated and he won't be able to help himself like he did in the past, so, he either dies from his injuries or he's caught. I think he gets out of there so he can die on his own terms. I don't think he lives to fight another day.

    And now, I've got to stop thinking about this movie and do some work. Darn.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Location
    Boston, MA

    Interesting

    Wife and I saw it this weekend. Have to agree with many on this board. Overall we really liked it...but the ending was indeed odd. I think too odd. That being said, the writing and the acting (especially Bardem, Brolin and Jones) was superb. Brolin and Bardem should be locks for major award nominations. But the ending...man...

    There are several questions we have:

    1) In the scene at the end in the motel room, where was Bardem. It certainly looked like he was waiting right behind the door, looking at the reflection in the hole where the lock had been punched out and knowing someone was coming. Then Tommy Lee Jones was doing the same thing. But when the door was opened, he wasn't there. No way did he run. Tommy would have heard it.

    Personally, I don't think he was in the room at all. I think it was a juxtaposition of what must have happened earlier - maybe how Brolin was killed (because Tommy Lee Jones walked in, and then looked down at the pool of blood on the carpet with a look on his face like, "damn fool - you didn't think he would be behind the door, did you." If Bardem was in the room when Tommy Lee was there - he definitely would have killed him.

    2) Why would Woody Harrelson not have a gun? He was looking for Bardem's character and knew how dangerous he was. Great scene. But really hard to believe.

    3) I agree with others that Bardem should have been killed in the car wreck - would have made a much better ending. Sometimes the coin is tails (also, pet peeve - if you are T-boned like that with that kind of speed - it is lights out. You don't walk away from that. It severs your spinal cord, and you bleed to death internally. Sorry - mother in law is an EMT and very graphic.

    4) I did like the last two scenes from Tommy Lee Jones. His dream was about feeling lost, and hoping that his dad was waiting for him when all of this was opened. It was a sad testament to his state of mind at the time, and delivered perfectly.

    5) Oh, and the comments about the fact that Brolin sealed his fate by going back and giving water. Not true. They would have found him with the transponder anyway.

    6) That being said - why did Bardem kill the two mafia guys at the car site. Still can't figure that out.

Similar Threads

  1. Definition of Country Music
    By SoCalDukeFan in forum Off Topic
    Replies: 100
    Last Post: 05-30-2008, 02:38 PM
  2. Replies: 21
    Last Post: 05-23-2008, 01:16 PM
  3. Top Basketball Assistant Coaches In the Country
    By gotham devil in forum Elizabeth King Forum
    Replies: 2
    Last Post: 05-12-2008, 02:56 PM
  4. Country Ham . . .
    By mpj96 in forum Off Topic
    Replies: 10
    Last Post: 10-22-2007, 11:59 PM
  5. Country Day Retires Shane's Number
    By BD80 in forum Elizabeth King Forum
    Replies: 5
    Last Post: 09-15-2007, 08:17 PM

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •