No-Country-For-Old-Men-Jesus-at-the-Oscars by huangyuarong


									No Country For Old Men
       Directed by:

    Ethan and Joel Coen

         Created for:

    Jesus at the Oscars

     February 19, 2008
Featured Cast & Crew:
No Country for Old Men

Tommy Lee Jones          Javier Bardem             Josh Brolin              Woody Harrelson
Ed Tom Bell              Anton Chigurh             Llewelyn Moss            Carson Wells

Ethan Coen               Joel Coen
Producer                 Producer
Director                 Director

Full Cast:
No Country for Old Men

Javier Bardem                   Rodger Boyce                       Josh Brolin
Anton Chigurh                   El Paso Sheriff                    Llewelyn Moss

Barry Corbin                    Garret Dillahunt                   Beth Grant
Ellis                           Wendell                            Carla Jean's Mother

Tess Harper                     Woody Harrelson                    Tommy Lee Jones
Loretta Bell                    Carson Wells                       Ed Tom Bell

Kelly MacDonald                 Ana Reeder                         Stephen Root
Carla Jean Moss                 Poolside Woman                     Man Who Hires Wells

The Crew:
No Country for Old Men

Ethan Coen                      Joel Coen                          David Diliberto
Producer                        Producer                           Associate Producer
Director                        Director
                                                                   Scott Rudin
Robert Graf                     Mark Roybal                        Producer
Executive Producer              Executive Producer
No Country For Old Men – Fast Facts

Directors, Producers, and Screenwriters – Joel and Ethan Coen

Author of original novel – Cormac McCarthy

Cinematography – Roger Deakins

Original Music – Carter Burwell

Length – 122 minutes

Release Date – November 21, 2007

Setting – West Texas (filmed in Las Vegas and New Mexico, as well as Texas)

Point of view – Third person limited

Genre – Drama / Western / Crime / Mystery

Issues/Conflicts – Fate / Evil / Retribution / Greed / Justice

Awards –8 Academy Nominations: Best Picture, Best Director, Best Adapted
Screenplay, Best Supporting Actor, Best Editing, Best Cinematography;
(To date, 73 Best Picture Awards, over 100 Top Ten Lists, 20 Best Director
Awards, 24 Best Supporting Actor Awards)

Official website:

Another informative website:

No Country For Old Men – Directors
Joel and Ethan Coen were born in Minneapolis, Minnesota -- Joel in 1954 and Ethan in 1957.
Both attended Simon’s Rock in Great Barrington, MA; Ethan graduated from Princeton
University and Joel from New York University. They have participated in the writing of 18 films,
produced 16, and edited 11. Their most famous films include Blood Simple (1984), Raising
Arizona, Miller’s Crossing (1990), Barton Fink (1991), Fargo (1996), The Big Lebowski (1998), and
O Brother, Where Art Thou (2000). A number of films are currently in production (Gambit 2009,
Suburbicon 2009, Hail Caesar 2009, and Burn After Reading 2008). The Coen brothers have
been nominated for 60 awards, won 59, and won an Oscar for Best Screenplay for Fargo. Both are
married; Joel is married to Frances McDormand.
Synopsis – (courtesy of Wikipedia)
The film opens with shots of desolate, wide-open country in West Texas in June 1980. In a voiceover the
local sheriff Ed Tom Bell (Tommy Lee Jones) tells of the changing times as the region becomes increasingly
violent. The antagonist Anton Chigurh (Javier Bardem) and his unique weapon, a captive bolt pistol, are
then introduced as Chigurh strangles a sheriff's deputy, escapes custody, and steals a car by using the bolt
pistol to kill the driver. Meanwhile, Llewelyn Moss (Josh Brolin), hunting pronghorn near the Rio Grande,
comes across a collection of corpses and one dying Mexican: the aftermath of a drug deal gone awry. He also
finds two million dollars in a satchel a short distance from the newfound massacre. Initially taking the
money and leaving the Mexican to die, Moss has an attack of conscience later that night and returns with
water for the dying man. This good deed sets off a cat-and-mouse game in which the hunter and hunted
frequently switch roles, as a gang of Mexicans, Moss, Chigurh, and Bell chase each other and the money
across the Texas and Mexico landscapes.

Chigurh, a professional hitman, has been hired to retrieve the satchel of money (which contains a hidden
radio transponder to which Chigurh has the corresponding receiver). Chigurh does not hesitate to kill those
in his way, including those closely associated with the drug deal, the drivers of cars he steals for
transportation, and people he encounters by chance. Moss, unaware of the transponder's existence, sends his
wife Carla Jean (Kelly Macdonald) out of town and moves from motel to motel as he attempts to elude both
the Mexicans and Chigurh. In the meantime, Bell avoids the federal authorities’ investigation of the original
drug-related massacre and focuses his attention on trying to locate and protect Moss. Chigurh, with his
tracking device, inexorably closes in on Moss while acting as an agent of fate and chance to the people he
meets along the way.

While following the money Chigurh guns down most of the remaining Mexicans and a rival hitman, Carson
Wells (Woody Harrelson). Moss, realizing Chigurh will find Carla Jean and kill her, arranges a rendezvous
with her in El Paso to give her the money and send her out of harm’s way. The characters all converge in a
seedy hotel in El Paso, but not simultaneously: Sheriff Bell and Carla Jean do not arrive until after Moss has
been killed by the Mexicans in a shootout.

Sheriff Bell, aware that blown locks are Chigurh's method of invasion, returns that night to the motel crime
scene and finds that the lock to (the now-deceased) Moss's hotel room door has been blown out. Chigurh
observes Bell through a reflection as Bell stands outside the door deciding whether to enter. Chigurh is
shown hiding behind the door of the hotel room, and when Bell enters the room, Chigurh is presumably
behind the door. It is unclear whether the sheriff observed Chigurh through a reflection in the blown lock or
whether Bell senses his presence. Bell sees that the vent cover has been removed by someone using a dime as
a screwdriver, indicating that the money has probably been removed. Despite the presence of Chigurh, Bell
sits quietly on the hotel room bed, then leaves the room unharmed.

Some time later Bell visits his Uncle Ellis (Barry Corbin), an ex-lawman. Bell is planning to retire due to his
weariness of the changing times, but Ellis points out that the region has always been violent, and accuses
Bell of "vanity" — in thinking that he could personally make a difference. Chigurh, in the meantime, has
located the widowed Carla Jean and waits for her at her newly-deceased mother's home. Despite telling her
that he "gave Llewelyn his word" that she would die should Moss not hand over the money, Chigurh
reconsiders -- and offers Carla Jean the same "coin flip" opportunity that Chigurh had previously given to an
innocent bystander in his path. Unlike the previous party, Carla Jean refuses to call heads or tails. Chigurh
leaves the house, carefully checking the soles of his boots. As Chigurh drives away he is injured in a car
accident and his left arm is badly broken; he manages, however, to leave the scene before the police arrive.

The film closes on Bell at home, reflecting on his life choices. Bell relates to his wife (Tess Harper) two
dreams he had, both involving his deceased father, also a lawman. Bell reveals briefly that in the first dream,
he lost "some money" that his father had given him. Bell states that in the second dream, he and his father
were riding horses through a snowy mountain pass. Bell states that his father, who was carrying fire in a
horn, quietly passed by Bell with his head down. Bell then relates that his father was "going on ahead, and
fixin' to make a fire" in the surrounding dark and cold, and that when Bell got there, his father would be
waiting. Bell closes the dream narrative, and the film, with the final words: "And then I woke up."
No Country For Old Men Discussion
The following questions approach the film from a number of different angles, i.e., how the
film functions as a work of art, how it reflects the time period, how it addresses fundamental
questions of humanity, and how it engages the reader. A good discussion tends to start with
our “heads” and end with our “hearts.” So, you may want to save subjective opinions of
taste until after you have discussed the more objective elements of the work’s merits. It is
tempting to begin with, “What did everyone think?” But if a number of people really didn’t
like the film, their opinions may derail a discussion of the film’s merits. On the other hand, I
recommend starting with a few accessible questions and asking every member to respond to
ensure that all voices are present and heard from the beginning. Just a few suggestions!

1)Here are the first lines of the film, told as a voice-over while the camera pans
over the West Texas landscape:

         I was sheriff of this county when I was twenty-five. Hard to believe.
        Grandfather was a lawman. Father too. Me and him was sheriff at the same
        time, him in Plano and me here. I think he was pretty proud of that. I
        know I was…

        Some of the old-time sheriffs never even wore a gun. A lot of folks find
        that hard to believe…I always liked to hear about the oldtimers. Never
        missed a chance to do so. You can't help but compare yourself against the
        oldtimers. Can't help but wonder how they would've operated these times.

        There was this boy I sent to the gas chamber at Huntsville here a while
        back. My arrest and my testimony. He killed a fourteen-year-old girl.
        Papers said it was a crime of passion but he told me there wasn't any
        passion to it… Told me that he'd been planning to kill somebody for about as
        long as he could remember. Said that if they turned him out he'd do it again…
        Said he knew he was going to hell. Be there in about fifteen minutes.

        I don't know what to make of that. I surely don't… The crime you see now, it's
        hard to even take its measure. It's not that I'm afraid of it… I always knew
        you had to be willing to die to even do this job –- not to be glorious. But I
        don't want to push my chips forward and go out and meet something I don't
        understand… You can say it's my job to fight it but I don't know what it is
        anymore… ...More than that, I don't want to know. A man would have to put
        his soul at hazard…. ...He would have to say, okay, I'll be part of this world.

Do you feel the movie maintains the theme/focus of these first few lines, spoken
by Tommy Lee Jones (Bell)?
Why do you think the movie begins and ends with Tommy Lee Jones’s character?

Jones states that lawmen – sheriffs, deputies, police officers – must be “willing to
die to even do this job – not to be glorious.” How must that affect the individuals,
living consciously with the knowledge and immediacy of their mortality?
Jones believes a lawman must “put his soul at hazard…[and] be a part of this
world.” Do you agree with this? Did Jones do that in the movie?

At the end, we can assume his dream about his father making a place for him,
carrying the fire, foreshadows his inevitable death by the hands of Chigurh. How
did you react to the ending?

Why does Tommy Lee’s character (Bell) believe this is “No Country For Old

What were your first impressions of these lines and of the movie?

2)What was the effect of the polarity between the completely evil Chigurh and the
completely good Bell? Do you believe such polarity exists in the world?

3)We were supposed to empathize the most with the flawed, but well-intentioned
Llewellyn. Did you? Was his death a surprise?

4)We are not provided with Chigurh’s “backstory,” so we are unable to engage in
any sort of “nature vs. nurture” debate regarding his evil character. What is the
effect of this? What motivation did you ascribe to his behavior?

In the original novel, Chigurh gives the money to a stranger in an office and states
that he would like to be hired again in the future. Would this detail have affected
your impressions of the film?

5)The film juxtaposes a number of repeated details – at the beginning when
Chigurh tells the man in the car he steals to “hold still,” and then soon after
Llewellyn is hunting and tells the deer to “hold still.” When Chigurh and Bell are
both tracking Llewellyn, they sit on the spot on the sofa and see their reflections
in the television and then drink Llewellyn’s milk.

What is the point of this repetition? Could there be thematic significance?
6)The violence is pervasive. One critic called the violence “personal” – what did
he mean by this?

How is this type of violence distinguished from the standard “shoot ‘em up”
blockbuster movies (like the Die Hard series and the Bourne Identity trilogy)? Is
there a difference? Is one more disturbing than the other?

7)Our first impressions of Llewellyn are of a hunter who wounds a deer, fails to
put an wounded dog out of its misery, and is able to witness horrors of violence
without flinching. He then risks his life to bring a victim water.

Is his return with the water realistic or “in character” for him? We later learn he
is a veteran of Vietnam. How does this inform our view of him?

8)Notice the use of symbols in the movie – symbols of fear with the pit bulls, the
symbol of the coin flip – these underlie the feeling of fatalism in the movie. As
one character says, “Things happen; I can’t take them back.” Notice how
Chigurh’s coin flip implies that he is not responsible for the outcome; as does the
office worker’s hiring of Carson Wells (Woody Harrelson) (notice how this is
similar to the attorney hiring the hit men in Michael Clayton).

How did you react to this fatalistic theme in the movie?

Why does Llewellyn’s wife refuse to call the coin? What is the effect of this? Is
she denying fate?

9)Notice the irony of Llewellyn tracking the deer at the start, then being tracked
or hunted himself. Is this a “morality tale”? If so, what is the moral? (Consider
when Bell says “Even between man and steer, the issue is not certain?” Or when
he states the drug runners deaths were “natural – natural to the line of work.”)
10) Another theme of this film seems to be “money is the root of all evil.” Ty
Burr, from The Boston Globe emphasizes the time period of the movie as
particularly significant – the 1980’s:

      By locating the action in the year of Ronald Reagan's ascension to the
      presidency…"No Country" stands at the pivot of the Old West and the New
      Avarice, a point in time when the last vestiges of frontier morality have been
      washed away by a pitiless modern crime wave fueled by drug profits…
      Adapted from Cormac McCarthy's 2005 novel, the film is a cat-and-mouse
      drama that unfolds on an epic stage, and that without ever straining suggests
      the sea change that has turned America into a dark twin of its early
      promise…The film is exciting yet strangely quiet, attuned to the play of cloud-
      shadow and moonlight on vast landscapes and to the tiny struggles of men
      within them. The ghost of our history looms behind everything here except
      the assassin, who's something horribly new and who demands we call our
      fate on the flip of a coin.

How do you react to the importance of the time period with regard to this theme?

Notice how even the young men on the bridge quickly overcome their shock and
revulsion of Llewellyn’s appearance once he offers them money for their shirt.
Contrast this with the young boy at the end, offering his shirt to Javier for free
(yet, when Javier insists on paying him – notice the dispute that immediately
ensues between the two boys).

11)What do the numerous nominations and awards reflect about the current taste
in Hollywood and in our society?

12)Why are people fascinated with evil?

13)What was the point of Carson Bell (Woody Harrelson’s character)?

14)When, if ever, can violence be effective in a movie? At what point does it
invalidate the entire movie?
15)Here is a quote from one of the directors:

Ethan Coen – “It's easy to offend people. People get uncomfortable, for instance,
when the main character in a movie is not sympathetic in a Hollywood formula way.
Our movies are loaded with things that aren't to everyone's taste. On the other
hand, there's a scene [in O Brother, Where Art Thou (2000)] where a frog gets
squished that everyone seems to like. It's all right to do the frog squishing .”

How do you respond to his perspective?

Wrap up Questions!

   1.   Would you recommend the film to others? (Why/not)
   2.   Would you read the novel?
   3.   Do you believe this should be considered a for Best Picture?
   4.   Do you believe the violence is irresponsible?
No Country For Old Men – Reviews with
follow-up questions

Positive Reviews:
Ty Burr of The Boston Globe wrote:

“The [Coen] brothers don't make movies "about" something, though, and they
never have. They tell stories and they let you do the math. So it is here. Yet the
climactic scenes of their "No Country" have a greater heft - a fuller sense of Old
Testament summation - than McCarthy's, whose final chapters gave way to drift.

Both book and movie offer glimpses of a huge, mysterious pattern that we and the
characters can't quite see - that only God could see, if He hadn't given up and
gone home. (There's barely any soundtrack music in the entire movie; the angels
have packed up, too.) In the end, the film's central image is Ed Tom's expression
of bottomless sorrow. It's the grief of a man for a land his fathers tamed and in
which he now walks as a stranger.”

Link to entire review:

If “God could see,” what patterns would He take the mystery out of?
Mick LaSalle from the San Francisco Chronicle

At first, "No Country for Old Men" seems like another crime story, smarter than
most, filmed and acted with extra care and attention, but a crime story all the
same. And then a shift comes - not an abrupt shift of plot or mood, but something
that has been gradually built, shot by shot, scene by scene - and it begins to dawn
that this is something remarkable.

Other movies remain on the outside, even good ones. No Country for Old Men
burrows underneath and makes a home in the pit of your stomach. What it is and
what it says elude easy definition. The movie is a meditation on American
violence and the nature of evil, but it's bigger than that. Based on the novel by
Cormac McCarthy and written and directed by Joel and Ethan Coen, "No
Country" feels positively Greek in its magnitude, a lament about fate, age, time
and life.

To see it is like encountering some elemental, wordless truth that everybody
knows inside but tries not to face. The movie puts a big hand on your head and
forces you to look. Lies, including many so common to movies that we no longer
see them, are debunked. "No Country" is not about comforting viewers but
disturbing them, and it's not about entertaining in the moment, but about
showing something that will linger for days, not with a glow but like the
remaining traces of an Illness.

Link to entire review:

Did this movie "burrow underneath and make a home in the pit of
your stomach”? What is the “wordless truth that everybody knows
inside but tries not to face”? Did the movie “linger for days”?
A.O. Scott – New York Times

But while that chilly sensation is a sign of terror, it may equally be a symptom of
delight. The specter of Anton Chigurh (Javier Bardem), a deadpan sociopath with
a funny haircut, will feed many a nightmare, but the most lasting impression left
by this film is likely to be the deep satisfaction that comes from witnessing the
nearly perfect execution of a difficult task. No Country for Old Men is purgatory
for the squeamish and the easily spooked. For formalists — those moviegoers sent
into raptures by tight editing, nimble camera work and faultless sound design —
it’s pure heaven.

Still, if No Country for Old Men were a simple face-off between the sheriff’s
goodness and Chigurh’s undiluted evil, it would be a far stiffer, less entertaining
picture. Llewelyn is the wild card — a good old boy who lives on the borderline
between good luck and bad, between outlaw and solid citizen — and Mr. Brolin is
the human center of the movie, the guy you root for and identify with even as the
odds against him grow steeper by the minute.

And the minutes fly by, leaving behind some unsettling notions about the bloody,
absurd intransigence of fate and the noble futility of human efforts to master it.
Mostly, though, No Country for Old Men leaves behind the jangled, stunned
sensation of having witnessed a ruthless application of craft.

Link to full review:

Did you root for and identify with Llewelyn?
Negative Reviews:
Stephen Hunter from the Washington Post:

… I understand "No Country for Old Men" for its penetrating disquisition on
narrative conventions and its heroic will in subverting them. I admire "No
Country for Old Men" for the way it tightens its grip as it progresses, taking us
deeper and deeper into a hellish world.

I just don't like it very much.

Derived from the hyper-violent Cormac McCarthy novel of the same name, it's a
high-end "literary" thriller that traffics as much in ideas as in thrills, sometimes
to its own detriment. It follows as a Vietnam vet (the time is the '80s) antelope
hunting comes across a Texas drug deal gone bad. Bodies, guns, blood, flies and
folly are everywhere on the arid plains. He finds a huge chunk of money and
makes off with it; alas, having promised a dying man a drink of water, he heads
back, scotching his successful getaway. He is observed by other drug smugglers,
and the chase begins.

You can't say it cuts to the chase. There was never anything to cut from to the
chase. It's all chase, which means that it offers almost zero in character
development. Each figure is given, a la standard thriller operating procedure, a
single moral or psychological attribute and then acts in accordance to that
principle and nothing else, without doubts, contradictions or ambivalence.
Llewelyn Moss (Josh Brolin), the laconic vet who finds the stash, is pure
Stubbornness. His main pursuer, Anton Chigurh (Javier Bardem in Robert
Wagner's haircut from "Prince Valiant"), is Death, without a pale horse.
Subsidiary chaser Carson Wells (Woody Harrelson) is Pride, or possibly Folly.
Tommy Lee Jones appears in the role of Melancholy Wisdom; he's a lawman also
trying to find Llewelyn but not very hard. He'd much rather address the camera
and soliloquize on the sorry state of affairs of mankind, though if he says
anything memorable, I missed it.

By narrative convention, the movie is building toward a confrontation between
Moss and Chigurh. We know it, we expect it, the rules of the thriller mandate its
necessity. No Country for Old Men then vigorously subverts the convention. It's
meant to be "ironic," with that big capital I. Instead it's unsatisfying, with a
capital U. Nobody goes to the movies for the irony. They go for the satisfaction.
Dana Stevens – Slate

Walking out of No Country for Old Men (Paramount Vantage), Joel and
Ethan Coen's new adaptation of a Cormac McCarthy novel, I finally understood
something about why the Coens' work has always left me cold. The brothers make
movies that can be good, even very good, without seeming essential. They can
pull off bravura camerawork (Raising Arizona), dark wit (Fargo), or chair-
gripping suspense (Miller's Crossing and, now, No Country for Old Men.) What
they can't seem to do, at least for me, is make movies that matter. The Coens'
movies are effective—diabolically so—without being affecting.

Maybe part of the problem is that black comedy is a tough genre in which to
create a masterpiece. With rare exceptions—like Alfred Hitchcock at his best —
few filmmakers can move from cynical chuckling to solemn contemplation of the
human condition. The Coens seem to have set themselves that very task in No
Country for Old Men, and the result, while it may be their most ambitious and
successful film in years, remains just a Coen brothers movie, a curio to collect
rather than an experience to remember.

That's not to say that there aren't certain images from No Country for Old Men
that will haunt you, especially those involving Anton Chigurh (Javier Bardem), a
bob-haired golem of a bad guy who lumbers through southwestern Texas
amassing what may be the highest per-villain body count in any movie this year.
Chigurh wants back his $2 million, a briefcase full of drug money that winds up
in the hands of a feckless hunter named Llewelyn Moss (Josh Brolin). But
Chigurh is also a born killer of an unfamiliar breed, neither a suave sadist nor a
feral beast. He simply seems to regard killing as the natural way to end a
conversation. He's lumpen, expressionless, and as unstoppable as an Old
Testament curse.

Link to full review:

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