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No Country for Old Men is a crime film as well as a meditation on chance and destiny, a meditation on growing old and on dying young. This movie is borrowed from the novel by Cormac McCarthy. In this movie, wrongs are done and there is very little that anyone can do to bring things back to order. The movie opens with an older man’s voiceover that is more compassionate than ruthless. While roaming through the aftermath of a Texas drug deal that had collapsed, a Vietnam veteran called Llewellyn Moss (Josh Brolin) discovers two million dollars and a substantial amount of heroin hidden in the back of the vehicle. Moss’s plan to flee with the money sets off an explosive sequence of reaction in a stripped-down crime movie from Joel and Ethan Coen. Moss becomes the prey for an enigmatic killer, Anton Chighurh, who determines the fate of his victims with the flip of a coin. The disenchant Sheriff Bell (Tommy Lee Jones) in this series of drama struggles to contain the rapidly escalating violence. Fate is inevitable just like change. No Country for Old Men has one important theme as fate. This paper looks at several instances/scenes that justifies fate in this movie.
The primary antagonist in the movie, Anton Chighurh serves as an agent of death and fate. Carla Jean is seen pleading for his life in the hands of Chigurgh who threatens that his life was over when he came into it. Anton Chigurh is a psychopathic man who apparently has been hired shadowy interest to hunt and retrieve a satchel of two million US dollars in cash. It is clear that this money went missing after a drug deal collapsed. Chigurh is a tactical serial killer who has a grotesque hairstyle, and a want to killing people using an air-pressure bolt gun. His fanaticism goes beyond the cold commitment of a hired assassin. As a devoted murderer and a cognoscente of fear and victimhood, Chigurh finally seems to forget about the money he is hunting in his obsession with slaughter. Chigurh’s smile that pops out of his mouth as he speaks indicates a diabolical sort of gaiety. His funny haircut to reveals a character lacking a sense of humor, a lot Beatle from hell. This comes to reality when he mercilessly blows a hole in your head using his conventional firearm, the pneumatic device.
Chigurh believes himself to be the harbinger of death. He allows the chance encounter of a coin toss to determine the fate of Carla Jean and the gas station attendant. Thus he allows fate to determine for the lives of the two. Chigurh’s words that he tries to utter appear to be swallowed when they are halfway out of his mouth. This character portrays Chigurh as a less human and more, a blunt instrument. Chigurh enters a rundown gas station in the middle of the wilderness and the dialogue that ensues reveals that Chigurh and the old man (Gene Jones) are talking about the fate of this old man. Chigurh does not seem to change his mind and without explaining why he asks the nervous old man call the flip of a coin. Carla has faced the tragedy of her husband, Moss and later her mother also succumbs to cancer. Moss’ end tells us that our past sins catch up with us, even if he repents, the movie will execute his punishment. After these instances, Carla returns home where she finds Chigurh waiting to kill her. He offers Carla chances to save herself by calling flip of a coin but Carla is not interested in Chigurh’s games, she denounces the offer. Instead of giving him the satisfaction of thinking that he has some random act of chaos, Carla confronts Chigurh with the claim, “The coin don’t have no say. It’s just you.” This comment angers and startles Chigurh turning him from an agent of chaos into a delusional egomaniac. Eventually, Chigurh does not give Carla a chance to survive, as his coin is the determinant of the people’s fate.
Men come to Sherriff Bell who after failing to find Chigurh decides to retire. Chigurh’s psychotic rampage of killing could also have included Bell’s death. But fate makes their ways not to cross and thus Bell escapes. Bell is hesitant to narrate his dreams to his wife because he feels that his wife might find the dreams not engaging. Bell says that he is now twenty years older than his father was in the dream. Something is off and time appears to have been inverted. Instead of Bell’s father being old, it is Bell who is the ‘old man’. The first Bell’s dream is about his father giving him some money. The main struggle in the movie has been about Moss being trailed by Chigurh to retrieve a case with two million dollars. All the characters pursuing money end up in dead or severely injured and morally empty but Bell survives and stays long enough to retire. This dream leaves us with an understanding that greed eventually leads people to fall and those who do not value money very much live a safer and fulfilled life. The money in the dream also symbolizes good fortune. However, Bell’s losing the money shows his inability to see his world clearly. The second dream is about riding on horseback through the mountains. There’s a reference to going back in time when Bell says his father was “carrying fire in a horn.” Sheriff Bell’s dreams there are some things that cannot be solved by our inner selves. The subconscious sometimes can tell you what you want but it remains a wish that is impossible to fulfill.
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