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The Complex Morality of “No Country for Old Men”

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❶Anton only wins in the most superficial sense.

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Only random chance makes sense in such a world. He talks about the senseless and brutal killings he reads in the paper with a sort of sad indignation. How can people be so evil? Why do they get free rein over the earth and triumph over good people? All this led me to believe on my first viewing that No Country for Old Men is a nihilistic picture, a post-modern Western that examines the disillusionment towards good triumphing over evil and the hero riding off into the sunset.

Seeing it again, though, while nihilism is certainly still there, overall, I was surprised to find a considerable measure of hope in it. Maybe death is a steep penalty for theft, but perhaps not.

Llewelyn does something evil and Anton is a sort of grim reaper coming to punish him for his transgressions. When Anton tries to cut a deal with Llewelyn, Llewelyn refuses, believing that he can save himself, his wife, and keep the money. He says he will leave her fate to the coin and asks her to call it. She refuses, saying it is Anton who makes the choice to kill, not some random flip of the coin, and thus demanding that he take responsibility for his brutal actions.

Even as random as the violence may seem, Carla Jean refuses to accept the world as simply an indifferent flip of a quarter. Random chance has made him the victim this time around. His belief in a world of chaotic evil is disrupted by two boys who come to his aid as he lies on the street.

Anton offers to buy the shirt from one of the boys, but the boy offers his shirt for free and only reluctantly takes the money. Anton is thus undone by the simple goodness of ordinary, everyday people. The world is not nearly as senseless or evil as he would like to believe it to be. Allowing for enough screen time, a little over four and half minutes, for this conversation to unfold, permits the dialogue to really ingrain the desired impression on the audience and pull them into the scene.

The directors chosen camera technique, a simple two composition that progresses the scene a steady pace, forces the audience to feel a part of the awkward exchange; obviously, a quality of film that could not be as profoundly achieved through the narrative in the novel.

One of the most well thought out and creative addition, is the hanging electrical wires on the back wall, just behind the proprietor head. Unarguably, each one looks like nooses. No doubt, this inventive visual enhancement was intentional and it most definitely heightens the aura of death in the scene. This seemingly simple aspect does wonders at adding suspense to the scene and demonstrating the strain and uncomfortableness for the gas station attendant and perhaps even the irritation of Chigurh.

The excruciating, drawn out rustle of the cashew wrapper also brings to the attention of the audience that this scene, like many others in film, has no music; consequently, the only sounds are the tense dialogue and the exaggerated chewing of Chigurh. So although the scene in the films, lacks some of the details of the novel, it arguably does a better job of expressing this specific scene.

As stated previously, this scene in both the novel and the film is responsible for introducing the coin and its implication to the plot of the story. Since the coin reappears later in the closing scenes of the narrative, it is critical that its significance is accurately portrayed through the early encounters in the novel.


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Though few critics find McCarthy’s No Country for Old Men to be the author’s best novel, most recognize his masterful writing skills. Though some critics do .

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Anton Chigurh is a character in the novel 'No country for old Men' was written by Cormac McCarthy. Chigurh is a psychopathic murderer who was hired to recover money from a drug deal that failed to succeed.

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No Country For Old Men The Degradation of Today’s Society in No Country for Old Men Society today has become certainly different from the old, laid-back peaceful traditional daysTraditional qualities like honesty, respect, and discipline are slowly phasing out as time progresses. The award winning film, No Country for Old Men, adapted from Cormac McCarthy’s novel, is a riveting tale of a brutal chain of events related to money, murder, and drugs, which rolls through West Texas in the ’s.

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Introduction. Fresh and one of its kind, "No Country for Old Men" is a movie that will linger in the minds of the film viewers long after they depart the theater. No Country for Old Men Essay No Country for Old Men In the novel No Country for Old Men, written by Cormac McCarthy, a perversion of the American dream is presented as the relinquishment of power. Power is defined as the influence one has over people and in McCarthy’s novel he demonstrates three ways to posses this: money, authority, .