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No Country for Old Men

June 27, 2011

1. Film analysisThe main theme of the film is that little can be done to change the dark side of human nature.  While  Sheriff Bell is seemingly chasing Chigurh throughout the film, he knows there is no way he will really be able to stop him.  In his career he has seen his share of evil, more so recently and realizes that no matter how hard he tries to keep his town honest, there is nothing that can be done to change evil.  He tells a story about a 19-year-old boy he met early in his career that killed his girlfriend simply because he could.  He had been planning to kill someone for as long as he could remember and if let out he’d kill again.  He said while he did not know how to respond to a man with no soul, it was only the beginning of what was coming later in his career. 

2. Book analysisOne of the main themes of the book is the conflict between freedom and fate.  Throughout the film Chigurh decides the fate of death for many people he comes across.  He believes it is their fate to die once they meet him.  In some instances he allows them to choose head or tails to decide their fate.  If they win the coin toss then it is their fate to live.  If they lose, they are suddenly killed. We see this conflict as the main theme between Moss and Chigurh.  Moss’s story could have had a different ending if he had not taken the money.  Yet, he freely took the suitcase and therefore decided his own fate of death.  Had he left things as he found them, his life story would have had another ending.  Sheriff Bell is also faced with this conflict in his career.  Early in his career, he believed all law enforcement officers were good and freely chose to abide by the law.  However, as he reaches retirement, he realizes corruption can occur even with police officers.  He has witnessed officers getting rich by dealing with narcotics.  For him, this is the biggest abomination there is.

3. Internet Research

This you tube video shows clips from the trailers as well as interviews with Tommy Lee Jones, Josh Brolin, and Javier Bardem.  Through this video one learns why music wasn’t the main focus of the film.  Tommy Lee says how the language is powerful enough that music is not necessary.  Additionally, I learned the weapon Bardem carried around was a cattle gun so that was an interesting bit of information.!/NoCountryForOldMenMovie?sk=reviews

This is the link to the Facebook account for No Country for Old Men.  It has a pretty large fan base with over 600,000 likes.  The site has dialogue between fellow fans where there are basic comments but also quotes about the movie.  Fans have also established a star rating system where they can review the film.  There is also a variety of film still shots available from the movies for the fans to relive their favorite scenes.

This site is very simple but includes fun trivia.  There are about 20 questions included on this site that the true fan will be able to answer.  It asks questions about the book and the film.  The says it’s a quiz but really the answers are already posted when you look at the site.

4. Critical Analysis Question

What is the title No Country for Old Men supposed to signify? Is the “country” the land of the American Southwest, the United States as a whole, or both? And why do the “old men” no longer belong there?

The title “No Country for Old Men” refers to the law enforcement officers as a whole and the changing of the American west.  In the story, the sheriff is getting ready to leave law enforcement and enter retirement.  He is suddenly exposed to a crime spree that is unlike anything he’s ever known.  He is faced with so much death that is not only impossible to understand but also impossible to stop.  In the beginning of the film when Chigurh is caught by a younger officer, it becomes very clear that handcuffs aren’t enough to hold him down.  Later, when we see Chigurh’s interaction’s with random victims then later with the bounty hunter, we see he is a force to be reckoned with.  The sheriff is aware of the difficulty in stopping these crime sprees and in the early narration he says,  “The crime you see now, it’s hard to even take its measure.”  Additionally, Bell says In forty-one years this country (where he is sheriff) has not had one unsolved homicide.  Now in on week we have nine.  With this statement he is comparing the way life was when he was younger.  Now as he faces retirement, he’s not sure these nine crimes will ever be solved.  Because Bell is retiring, he represents the old men in the title.  Like his father before him, he has paved the way for a new generation of officers.  With the changing times and  new crime sprees, it clear there is no longer room for an old relic like Bell.


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One Comment
  1. Everything is good except: I’d like to see more of what distinguishes the book from the film. How are they different? 9.5/10.

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