Debate: “No Country for Old Men” Ending

By at November 25, 2007 | 1:25 pm | Print

Javier Bardem in No Country for Old Men

UPDATE (2/25/08): … and now the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences has spoken in favor of this superb film… Let the debates and analysis continue! 

UPDATE (2/1/08): This post has been up for about three months now and the response has been overwhelming. Because of the amazing Lobby community, we’ve been recognized (by “we,” I mean all of us) by David Carr of the New York Times, the official site for No Country for Old Men, and Miramax.

Thanks for your exceptional discourse, thoughtful insight and entertaining hyperanalysis. In our first seven months online, you have helped make Meet In the Lobby a cut different (and above) other movie discussion sites. Please let me know what you’d like to see next. (email:

Now that the Coen Brothers’ No Country for Old Men is squeezing into multiplexes, there’ve been reports of moviegoers groaning in disappointment as the final scene cuts to black. So as Lobby readers continue discussing The Mist ending, sounds like No Country is worth talking about too. (No spoilers, of course.)

Like The Mist, No Country for Old Men is adapted from a book, but there’s a big difference. The Coens have remained remarkably true to Cormac McCarthy’s novel, right down to the actual dialogue. And since No Country has a more non-traditional ending for film, some people are turned off. I wholeheartedly disagree with them.

Tommy Lee Jones in No Country for Old MenNo Country for Old Men is a wild tale of stalker vs. prey, with a lone psychopath (the shocking Javier Bardem) at its center. But instead of providing an expected resolution, the film transforms into one man (played by Tommy Lee Jones) understanding himself and his world. To me, it’s a poetic choice, with a look at a man’s inner fears and uncertainties. Other moviegoers would rather sacrifice the poetry for a little more closure.

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Trackbacks For This Post

  1. […] The Mist and The Coen Brothers’ exceptional adaptation of Cormac McCarthy’s No Country for Old Men (winner of the National Board of Review’s Best Picture). NY Times blogger The Carpetbagger […]

  2. […] Oscar-friendly films — No Country for Old Men, Juno, There Will Be Blood — wind their way through theaters this holiday season, here […]

  3. […] has been virtually ignored by the awards community (oh, who gives a crap?) #3 is the Coens’ No Country for Old Men, close behind Zodiac in the voting, and one of the most discussed films in […]

  4. […] film sites, movie endings have been a recent hot topic. Great movies with disappointing endings. Vague, closure-lacking endings. Endings changed in the transition from book to […]

  5. […] ambiguous with the cut, and the absence of a weapon, where as the book just says what happens).  The ending has sparked some debate, among film buffs and others, but the point is still made: this is a fantastic and well-made film […]

  6. […] No Country For Old Men The Coen Brothers drama already enjoyed a careful, gradual release from Miramax before maxing out on 1300 screens — undoubtedly aiding its extremely strong word-of-mouth. Now, it will expand from 818 to over 1100 theaters. […]

  7. […] A great post about the ending can be found here. […]

  8. […] Country for Old Men has been an incredible source of conversation here since its first weekend of expanded release. Now, the moviegoers singing its praises (like me) […]

  9. […] that Joel and Ethan Coen’s No Country for Old Men has reached American Classic status, how about a comedy for an encore? This convoluted wacked-out, […]

  10. […] No Country for Old Men […]

  11. […] the book and the film. Specifically, it outlines scenes not included in the film from the book.  This is not the usual kind of URL I would post, but it has an interesting debate over the ending […]

  12. […] of amazing figures. It is unbelievable but how to keep a man thinking of you is the number two signs he likes you high school how to keep a man thinking of you solution affecting Americans but there are a few dangers. There […]

  13. […] films come to mind while watching Blue Ruin: Carl Franklin’s One False Move and The Coens’ No Country for Old Men. That’s some damned impressive company, and it’s appropriate: Like those two American classics, […]


  1. Eric Melin, 10 years ago Reply

    “No Country for Old Men” reminds us that our existence on this planet is equal parts fulfilling and completely senseless. The ending proves this when one character is suddenly gone, and not in the way anyone would have expected. What we are left with, then is the musings of Jones’ character to try to make sense out of it. It’s perfect. Read my full review at

    • TEXAS, 7 years ago Reply

      Does anyone relate the darkness, evilness, and abrupt and seemingly meaningless ending of this movie to “There Will Be Blood”? What is up with Texas movies?

  2. Christine C, 10 years ago Reply

    I understand art, love it when films or programs do not wrap everything up in a big red bow, but I did not like this movie. It had its moments, but in my opinion it just did not achieve. Not everyone can be Hitchcock, the concept and stylistic choices became predictable and boring, and I simply did not care about the characters. Didn’t feel I was offered much reason to care.

    • Jake, 7 years ago Reply

      Wow….are you ever an idiot!!! You must lover pablum disney movies!!! I bet you only read OHprah books of the month!!! U R A WE_TARD

  3. keith kerrigan, 10 years ago Reply

    i just want to know who gets the money in the end does antaun?

    • Thom, 6 years ago Reply

      Here is the big mystery!!! After the tracking device was removed, how was anyone able to track the money??? How did Wells make it to the hospital in Mexico and find Llewelyn??? There are just too many WTFs in this movie. Anton, should of killed everyone he met to leave no strings attached as well as the Sheriff, Ed Tom Bell, when he got too close.. Killing Carla Jean meant nothing to the plot, the convenient phone bill that arrives at the trailer, just too many how many coincidences can there be??

      Not the best movie I’ve ever seen, but not the worst either. A true nail bitter from way back when was, “The Town that Dreaded Sundown”. Give it a watch to see a true psycho in action.

      • Franklin, 5 years ago Reply

        Has anybody thought that maybe the sheriff and and the killer are the same person. The movie shows 2 different relections of the same person. Why does the sheriff bring up killing cows with an air gun but can’t remember it later. Why does he drink the milk that the killer was drinking just minutes before. Why does Carla jean recognize the killer right away. The killer wasn’t hiding in the closet which is why they showed the bathroom window locked. IT’S THE SAME PERSON. DUH!!!!!

  4. Norm Schrager, 10 years ago Reply

    - Christine C –
    Wow, I have to disagree with you on the predicatbility. This is probably the best movie I’ve seen this year, with plenty of plot progression and scene development that’s anything but predictable and boring, in my opinion.

    – Keith –
    Does it matter who gets or finds the money? To my mind, the money’s just a plot device — one of the most classic and emotional plot devices there is.

    Thanks for joining in the conversation. Hope to see you both again.

    -Norm S.

  5. Charch, 10 years ago Reply

    Yes, he gets the money. We know he does because he gives the kid a $100 bill after the accident.

  6. Ray, 10 years ago Reply

    Best American movie in at least three years. Period.

    Tommy Lee Jones’ monologue at the end before the abrupt CUT TO BLACK (not FADE … LOL) serves to show two things –

    First of all, the Jones character is struggling with his own mortality in the face of the world around him – a world he does not understand. The imagery of his late father going ahead of him pictures his impending death and the leaving behind of this troubled world.

    Secondly, he mentions his father carrying a torch and making a fire in the middle of the cold and the blackness. It show that the Jones character feels that the world is hopeless with its course of violence, and that it will get worse. There is sadness in that final statement – Jones dreamt that someone (his father) would make a fire in all of that blackness – and then he woke up. Such hope is only reserved for dreamers, not realists.

    What a terrific way to end a meditative and complex film!!!! I feel sorry for those who do not appreciate the boldness of the story and that ending.

  7. Norm S., 10 years ago Reply

    - Eric –
    Well put. If you’ve read this far, you’ve probably guessed that Lobby reader Ray (see above) agrees.

    – Charch –
    Thanks for passing that answer on to Keith K. I didn’t necessarily think that signified him obtaining the money, but perhaps it does. I still say it doesn’t matter.

    – Ray –
    Great stuff. I can tell how much you loved the film, and I felt the same. And thanks for correcting my “fade” vs. “cut”. I’ve changed our opening paragraph.

    Thanks guys for joining in.

    -Norm S.

  8. Eric Melin, 10 years ago Reply

    I thought it was interesting how the movie dovetailed a lot of themes from “Fargo” as well, although Marge was way more hopeful than Bell.
    When the TLJ’s monologue came up at the end, I thought, wouldn’t this be a great way to end it, and then it went to black. Perfect. Can’t wait to see it again.

  9. Norm Schrager, 10 years ago Reply

    - Eric –

    Same here. I already get the sense this movie will feel tighter and more powerful with repeated viewings.

    -Norm S.

  10. Tristan, 10 years ago Reply

    Here’s a question for all you No Country mavens, who probably have it figured out (and if so, you’re way smarter than me). While I found much to admire in the film, and was not bothered by the sheriff’s monologue and dream recounting at the end… can someone please explain to me the cut to Javier Bardem, apparently hiding in a closet. Was he, a) in the closet of the motel room TLJ was in?; b) in the motel room next door?; c) was it a drastic cutaway to Bardem awaiting Kelly McDonald’s return home?; or somewhere else I am too dense to figure out? Many thanks!

  11. Norm Schrager, 10 years ago Reply

    - Tristan –

    I have to be honest — as much as I love the movie, I don’t recall the context of the shot you’re asking about. And I probably won’t see it again until after the New Year…

    Can anyone lend Tristan a hand? Thanks!

    -Norm S.

  12. Eric W., 10 years ago Reply

    I have read much debate on the scene where Anton appears to be hiding in the closet of a room Ed enters. First of all, I don’t think he was in the room while the sheriff was. It would be completely against the character’s established motives NOT to kill Ed. Is he in the room next door? The filmmakers made it seem pretty dang clear, through the editing, that Anton is in the room–he has blown out the lock, and the vent cover is off, opened with a coin as it was in a previous motel scene. I think the Coen brothers added an inexplicable element to this film, the way they have in many others–the Lone Biker of the Apocalypse in Raising Arizona, the UFO in The Man Who Wasn’t There, pretty much the entire movie of Barton Fink. However, there might be SOME explanation. In the previous scene, Ed called Anton “a ghost”. This, coupled with the Coen brothers statement on Charle Rose that they wanted to make Anton both a person and a symbol, leads me to believe the filmmakers left the door open for Anton to vanish, while leaving a more likely possibility open.

  13. Joe, 10 years ago Reply

    A few things:

    Anton in the Closet: If he wasn’t in the room while Jones’ character was, that was an incredibly odd construction, pretty inconsistent with the rest of the film’s linear progression. If he was, the previous commenter was right — he should’ve whacked the old man. He seemed to enjoy that sort of thing.

    The Money: Anton has it. It’s why they showed the empty air duct — only he would know Brolin’s character would hide it there — and it’s why he gave the kid a hundred. And, yes, it matters who has it, plot device or not. But that doesn’t mean it has to be made obvious who has it. In that, I liked the ambiguity.

    The End: I understand people who enjoyed it, but I was disappointed. To me, Tommy Le’s character wasn’t well developed enough — I wasn’t invested enough — to have him carry the ending so fully. I was deeply invested in the cat-and-mouse game, and once it ended, the movie ended, at least for me. But that’s the cool thing about movies: Everyone lugs their own baggage into the theater, and invests in the characters they want (need?) to.

    And in this case, perfect ending or not, the Coen Bros. had my heart racing — hours later, when I was trying to sleep. I’d say they hammered it.

  14. Grant Stein, 10 years ago Reply

    I haven’t read the book – but I think the only problem with the movie is that I don’t really care about the Sherrif as much as I probably would have if Iwas reading the book (I hope) Plus after all that adventure I wasn’t really paying attention to what he was going on about at the end! And that’s that!

  15. Norm S., 10 years ago Reply

    - Eric W., Joe –

    Thanks for the analysis, especially the question regarding Anton in the closet. I do appreciate the idea that Anton is a symbol rather than a wholly real guy. He’s the elusive element in a world that’s passed the sheriff by. My own take, of course.

    Joe, I also appreciate the Coens’ ambiguity — I didn’t find myself sifting through some details at the level you did, but I still think the movie is phenomenal. Without the ambiguity and rough edges, I’m not sure I would think so.

    – Grant –
    I think a lot of people are caught off-guard at the end! A friend told me her buddy was getting something from her purse during the sheriff’s monologue. She looked up and, alas, the movie was over.

    -Norm S.

  16. Ronnie, 10 years ago Reply

    I too thought that the movie was outstanding. The ending was perfect. But, I didn’t expect it to end right there, so I wasn’t paying close enuf attention. Who was the older man in the scene ?

    How many movies can be carried by dialogue, scenery, and action ? I would bet that many did not realise that there was no musical soundtrack until the end.

    My belief is that the whole movie was about Tommy Lee’s character. He was at that stage in his life. He was a very smart man, who relied on his experience to fiqure things out. EX: he didn’t need to go out to the desert a 2nd time, ” any more dead bodies ? “.

    I feel that at the end when he talks to his wife about his dream, and then goes to see the old man, that his life changed at the hotel room. He saw that the lock was blown out. He knew Anton was in there and KNEW that he was gonna die there….. That was the main question that I was left with, why didn’t Anton kill him ?

  17. Matt Foreman, 10 years ago Reply

    There are many posts to which I’d like to respond, iI know I can’t get to them all, so I’ll try to be to the point:

    I think “No Country…” is the best American movie of the year, and one of the best of the last many years. If it fails to win Oscars, it’d be a shame for the brothers Coen.
    The old man at the end of the movie is “Uncle Ellis.” In the book, it’s unclear whether he is actually Bell’s biological uncle or just a father figure. Regardless, he’s an elder figure in Bell’s life with some sort of familial connection that he looks up to.
    Regarding the hotel room scene: this scene was constructed entirely by the Coen brothers (it was different in the book), so it’s far from clear. I’ve seen the movie three times and I’ve also read the script, and it’s very ambiguous as to what is actually going on.
    Because of the shot/reverse shot camera sequence, the viewer is led to believe that Chigurh is behind the door while Bell is outside the room (and yes, the same room). When Bell pushes the door open, it doesn’t bounce or rebound off the ball, as one might expect it to. Additionally, the shot is framed in such a perfect way so that the viewer can’t tell if there is anyone (Chigurh) behind the door, or if it merely flies open to hit an empty wall. So in theory, Chigurh might actually still be behind the door. They make a point of showing the locked window latch, and Bell sits on the bed in the motel room, defeated, knowing that he’s again missed Chigurh…or is it that he suspects all along that he might still be nearby, and that Bell is just not ready to “push his chips forward?” An interesting question, especially given his retirement and the scene with Uncle Ellis, where Bell responds, “I’m scared” when asked why he is quitting.
    I’m beginning to ramble, and I could go on for ages about the film and it’s absolutely perfect ending. Suffice it to say that it’s a metaphor, that’s haunting and beautiful at the same time.
    I invite any of you to respond or to read my review of the film at Thank you for your time.

  18. hardy campbell, 10 years ago Reply

    The whole movie revolves around three dead men who walk and talk and make other men dead too. Bell is an old school lawman whose idealism died long ago. He’s going through the motions, and Tommy Lee’s laconic style is a perfect fit for the resigned nature of the dead-to-this-world west Texas sheriff. Moss is an unemployed welder because he is a broken man. Part of him died long ago, with his buddies in ‘Nam and with his beloved mother. He tells his cute dumb wife that he’ll tell his dead mama personally of his affection. He goes back to thta massacre scene not out of humanity but for the adrenalin rush of pursuing and being huinted by death. The symbolism of Moss crossing the creek pursued by the dog was not lost on me the second time I saw this brilliant film. Symbolically, he had crossed the Reiver Styx, pursued by the insatiable Cerebrus hound. From that moment on, the death Moss sought hunted him remorselessly. Anton Chighur, the assassin, long ago allowed his humanity to die in order to become the consummate pro. He knows his only salvation is anonymity, and dead men make poor witnesses. And, just to be even more anti-crime drama stylists, the Coens did not arrange for any of the protagonists to meet each other nor is anyone of them killed by the other, even though the opportunity for Anton killing Bell was there for everyone to see (?) Of course, that is McCarthy’s literary doing, but how many Hollywood directors would have had the cojones to do this on film?
    Many have expressed disappointment about the film’s ending. But what would they have had happen instead? Bell killing Anton in a ten minute long shoot out? That would have ruined the film for me. Instead, they have us peer in to the melancholic soul of the Old Man of the movie’s title, the has-been lawman who sipped coffee, ruminated about how awful modern crime ahd become and found solace only in his dreams of a nostalgic daddy. He had nothing left, folks, only the memory of a world where lawman helped people.

  19. ivan, 10 years ago Reply

    the sheriff has two dreams, both about his father. the bad guy, aka the “ghost” walks off with a “f_–__ing bone sticking out of his arm”. at the end of the flick the sheriff and the bad guy are both left standing. the sheriff gives great respect to the bad guy when discussing him with el paso police guy. bad guy apparently hiding behind hotel room door does not shoot sheriff. what’s the point? my guess….(have not read book, and only seen flick once, about an hour ago) is that author could not bear to close out either character, and/or wants to leave the future of sheriff and bad guy to the audience’s imagination. Because both characters live on, won’t we all be begging for a sequel?

  20. mark, 10 years ago Reply

    from the first frame of this movie, i had a good feeling i was in for a great experience you can’t get anywhere else but a coen brothers film. chighur is such a relentless force that i literally could not take my eyes off the screen. the ending, to me, was flawless. why do we need a tidy hollywood ending? where the bad guy gets his, the good guy gets the money,and the sheriff retires a hero? real life doesn’t work like that. real life doesn’t have a soundtrack. the reality is we all seek answers to questions that we don’t always get. the thing that made this film so enjoyable and really hit home was that is was set in the early eighties. when we see all the senseless violence and the evil that men do today. we realize that this is nothing new. as ellis is telling the story of the relative that was killed on his porch by desperados for no good reason. these seemingly random acts of violence have been around forever. when bell narrates that “the crime you see today, it’s hard to take it’s measure” that is just a tired lawman that has thrown in the towel on trying to explain it.

  21. Norm S., 10 years ago Reply

    - Ronnie –

    I was stunned and delighted by the lack of a musical soundtrack. It really brought a sense of stark doom to the film. More filmmakers should take a cue from this one and realize that silence — or ambient sound — really is golden sometimes.

    – Matt Foreman -

    We seriously appreciate your pitching in regarding the book and the script. You mention ambiguity, as is brought up many times in discussing this film, and I think it’s one reason the movie’s so beautiful and tantalizing. Who needs to know everything? The rough edges are far more inventive and exciting.

    I like your “push the chips forward” analysis — I’ve also wondered if Chigurh is just sort of hovering, symbolically or otherwise, over the sheriff’s “last stand”.

    – Hardy –

    Man, you nailed it, in my opinion. I hadn’t heard the River Styx reference but that’s just perfect. Thanks.

    – ivan –

    I see your point, but a sequel would break my heart. This film should just hang out there for all literary and cinematic eternity.

    – mark –

    I very much appreciated Chigurh’s relentless. Scary as hell. I’d like to meet Javier Bardem now, just so I can be convinced that the character is fictional. He is, right?

    -Norm S.

  22. TC, 10 years ago Reply

    My son reminded me at the end that Sheriff Bell (Jones) spoke of his memories of the young killer he sent to the chair in the opening monologue.
    If you’re looking for and ending to this film, you need to start at the beginning. In here lies the cunning of the film.
    If you think about it, Sheriff Bell has come full circle. He starts by expressing his remorse over society’s condition, and is forced to recognize that this condititon has not changed since he was the young sheriff sending the killer off to the chair. At the end, he is much older, wiser and still correct about the glibness of killers, and why they kill.

  23. Gabe Herman, 10 years ago Reply

    Here’s my analysis of the film, in such a way that I can make sense of the ending:

    Anton Chigurh and Llewelyn Moss are nearly the same symbol (if not character). Anton says at one point (referencing the bug they put in the money), “You shouldn’t have done that. There is only one right tool for each job” (or something similar). If they hadn’t used it, Llewelyn would have had no way of knowing that Anton would be there so quickly and wouldn’t have been prepared. Both use the same tools. Anton uses a screwdriver to pop the VIN plate off Llewelyn’s car and Llewelyn uses a screwdriver to open the air grate. Both of them trade the money for shirts to hide/heal their wounds.
    These differences are small, but I think they lead to a powerful viewing of the film: that the world is Anton’s (the devil’s?) world. We’re just living in it. We may try to manipulate it and use it to our own ends, but ultimately Anton has all the power. I think this is why Llewlyn lets the Sheriff live–he recognizes the world as completely out of his power at this point. He will retreat to the next world (death, with his father). I think its also why Anton lets Llewelyn live so long–they are in their actions very similar and if Llewelyn would quit his connections to others (his wife mostly, his mother has already died), they would be almost the same. He almost does this for most of the film. Llewlelyn is only killed when he is about to meet his wife again. Thus Anton thinks Llewlelyn is almost as ‘powerful’ as he is, until Llewelyn is sucked back in by his wife and that woman by the pool offering him beer.

    I noticed the lack of soundtrack, and it was really powerful here. I saw another film with sparse soundtrack recently (Before the Devil Knows You’re Dead) and I didn’t enjoy it as much.

  24. Doug, 10 years ago Reply

    I don’t think Anton is behind the door in the motel. I think it’s tlj fear that he is, and that causes him to draw his gun for the first time in the film. In the opening monologue he mentions the old time sheriffs that didn’t even carry guns. this is the time he is nostalgic for. faced with the new killer ( the weapon of choice ( air gun?) is symbolic of the way things have changed, as told thru the story about the way steer are butchered. now the killing is cold and mechanical. This is the world he is in and anton is a metaphor for it.

  25. Bobbert Bobbertsmith, 10 years ago Reply

    Look, it’s pretty easy to understand the ending from a closure point of view. When tommy lee jones’ character speaks with with what I can only imagine to be his brother or close friend, about the man that shot him dying in jail, he mentions his surprise to find out that he wouldn’t have been upset should he have gotten out of jail. He says that at some point you have to stop trying to take back what’s yours, because you’ll just lose more and more, and at some point, you just need to make a tourniquet. That was the reason tommy lee jones’ character never pursues Anton further. He cuts his losses, and the bad guys win.


  26. Drew, 10 years ago Reply

    I just saw the movie tonight and thought i followed it pretty well, but the ending didn’t sit well. I understand what everybody is saying but i just don’t believe that Llewalyn or his wife are dead. They never show a shot of them in a pool of blood, you just assume that. I was thinking that the movie was based on the sheriffs dream. The whole movie was his dream. He just puts it in a metaphorical term to his wife.
    Its just idea that i am throwing out there, but i need to see it a couple more times and try to pick up on a few things that i missed.Give some feedback on what you think.

  27. Gabe Herman, 10 years ago Reply

    @doug: the air gun is actually just the thing they kill cattle with. that’s why you never see any bullets and why it only works at close range (head shots and door handles).

  28. doug, 10 years ago Reply

    Right, but when tlj talks to lew’s wife, he tells the story of how the guy up the road used to butcher cattle by hitting them in the head and then trussing them up and cutting there throats. Now ” the cow doesn’t even know what hit em” However, I withdraw my earlier opinion, based on something mentioned in an earlier post. In the opening monologue, tlj does tell the story of the kid he put to death row. How it wan’t a crime of passsion, but rather detached…just like anton. So, I suppose things really haven’t changed.

  29. Chris, 10 years ago Reply

    Ray – I like your analysis of the ending monologue.

    And, it’s true it’s not about the $$. By the end I didn’t care who had possession because I was so caught up in the characters.

    About Anton in the motel room near the end… I just saw the movie yesterday and I was sure I could see the wall by the front door when the sheriff opened it and Anton was NOT behind it. I couldn’t figure this out either but after thinking about it I have my own theory.

    There were two room sectioned off with crime scene tape and Anton may have been in the other one. It fits the randomness/luck of the draw device used in the movie with the two coin flips. Here the sheriff has a 50/50 chance of meeting Anton behind the door but selects the unoccupied room. Maybe he’s throwing in the towel when he sits on the bed and ponders the near miss because the next time we see him he is retired. Just a thought.

  30. Norm S., 10 years ago Reply

    - TC –
    I agree there’s a full circle in the sheriff’s presentation. And I love the closure that his opening and closing monologues provide. The opener is a voiceover that covers the landscape that will carry the story… and the closer is told while looking into his eyes, as if now we know him, now we know his fears, now we can’t look away and neither can he.

    – Gabe –
    Interesting theory about Chigurh’s opinion of Llewelyn. And I really like your breakdown of their use of tools — that’s a fascinating analysis.

    – Bobbert –
    You think the sheriff is cutting his losses in this particular case, or just throwing in the towel on his career (and life)? Or both?

    – Drew –
    I don’t really agree that the action could be a broad realization of the sheriff’s dream. It could make sense, sure, but I think it takes the story too far from metaphor into fantasy. Just my take.

    – Chris –
    Great call on where exactly Anton is standing. I like that thinking a lot, especially considering the way all the motel room ins and outs were established when Llewelyn was hiding the money.

    I feel like we could all talk about this film for days. I don’t think I’ve seen anything this good in a few years.

    -Norm S.

  31. Daniel, 10 years ago Reply

    Just saw it! wonderful. Never been to big into film analysis beyond a ciircle of friends, but this is just to cool to pass up!

    I had always thought he was behind the door , but chris’s analysis is interesting, considering llewelyn had a habit of switching rooms AND he was most likely in the room belonging to the beer woman when killed.

    Few people have discussed llwelyns wife’s refusal to pick heads or tails. I’m trying hard to find where this theme of cheating death comes from, but I cant put my finger on it (faust?)

    however, i think judged on the wiping of the boots, she is killed, the idea of probability is certainly tied in with the coin and with the accident.

    AH!! I saw this movie less than 30 mins ago and am so uncertain about so many of my ideas! I’m sure i’ll return. River Styx observation was great! Damn my lack of education in mythology!!!!

    as a side note:
    Its really tfrustrating to see this movie with people who found the new “die hard” more compelling

  32. avery sinclair, 10 years ago Reply

    Well I was thinking that Chigurgh was behind the door and that yes the Sheriffs life does change in that he died that night. I thought that maybe the man he speaks to in the end was his dead father that he may or may not have recognized. Just my thoughts. Amazing movie!

  33. patrick, 10 years ago Reply

    this is a very (david) lynchian film. good and evil are never separate. both are displayed at once. anton is the ghost of evil present within the good. he is in the shadows, behind the door, always there. and, if you have ever seen Night of the Hunter (1955) with Robert Mitchum, you will see similar elements. anton just shows up, no explanation on how he got there. he literally is haunting. and we are all helpless children being stalked by this mysteriously evil force. also, moss gets killed off screen without a ritual of death (a burial, closing his eyes, crossing his arms, putting something over his face, etc… nothing). death is not mourned when true evil is present. in this regard, anton is the spectre of the holocaust. the cold and logical conclusion of a world searching for cold and logical conclusions. and this explains the ending. the ending rejects this. the ending rejects the validity of this evil while still admitting it exists. good and evil, all at once. the dream speech implores that we embrace the logic of dreams, even the irrational emotions we feel, in order to reject evil. hope is not for the dreamers, dreamers are our only hope.

  34. Trey, 10 years ago Reply

    As far as the scene with Anton in the closet, or being a ghost or what not– I personally do not think Anton would’ve killed Ed had he been in the room hiding. He had no reason to kill Ed. All throughout the film Anton is killing but based on principles. Someone takes something from him–he kills them. Someone hurts him–he kills them. Someone gets in his way–he kills them. Someone has something he needs–He kills them. He makes a promise or gives his word to kill–he kills. Ed however had done nothing to Anton, so Anton based on his morals and values (if you can call them that) would not have shot the sheriff. Maybe Anton was in the room, hiding, waiting to see if he was going to have-to kill Ed.

  35. patrick, 10 years ago Reply

    and don’t forget the similarities between the coen brothers’ quirky dark humor and lynch’s (twin peaks, blue velvet)

  36. Gary, 10 years ago Reply

    Anton killed Tony Soprano

  37. Megan, 10 years ago Reply

    God! This is so not like a Lynch film!! Unlike Lynch, this film started out interesting and arresting (like most lynch films) and stayed that way through a cohesive story line (unlike lynch). The film is great! It blends symbolism seamlessly into the storyline and keeps the adrenline going from start to finish…!

  38. Megan, 10 years ago Reply

    my last comment sucked, i’m sorry.

  39. Norm S., 10 years ago Reply

    Hey everyone-

    First, I have to echo the sentiments of Premiere Magazine’s Glenn Kenny — I’m thrilled and flattered that film discussion of this depth has gathered here. (Glenn expressed the same on his site.) We couldn’t ask for a better cinema community.

    Back to the chatter…

    – Daniel -
    I do think it’s clear that Chigurh checking his shoes is a sign that he’s killed her (or anyone). We see him carefully lifting his feet earlier to avoid a flow of blood. As the movie progresses, we’re privy to less and less violence — just as the spatial connections between characters seem more vague. We see less, and perhaps think more. I’m rambling a bit, but yeah, the shoe check is to let us know he killed her.

    By the way, I liked the new Die Hard movie. But it sure as hell wasn’t this compelling, so you have my sympathies…

    – Patrick -
    Not sure about the Lynch comparison — I find Lynch’s sense of humor to be absurd and the Coens to be more classically dark, with touches of comic relief. Well said anyhow, from my point of view. Studying and acknowledging evil can be simple… or satisfyingly complex, as it is with this film.

    – Trey -
    How would you explain Anton’s apparent willingness to kill the hardware store owner? It appeared that poor scared guy was just one coin flip away…

    – Megan -
    I don’t think your comment sucked at all! Unless you insult someone, never apologize for a post here. Just keep ‘em coming as you wish. (And if you would like me to delete the “my last comment sucked” comment, let me know and we’ll kill it.)

    One last thing: On the previously mentioned blog from Glenn Kenny, Mr. Kenny offers a series of freeze frames from the much-discussed scene that poses the sheriff and Anton on “opposite” sides of the door. Enjoy and tell Glenn Kenny we sent you.

  40. Trey, 10 years ago Reply

    - Norm –

    My statement above is something that I am still debating with myself, it was something I was thinking and seeing that no one else had touched on the possibility I thought I might bring it up…

    As far as the clerk goes, Anton–going with the so-called morals and principles idea– may have thought the man’s existence pathetic and wasted. Anton also seemed insulted and bothered at the idea of the man marrying into his line of business rather than earning it. Maybe Anton gave the clerk the option, because while Anton sees a reason the man should die, Anton by his own principles could not just kill him as the man’s life or death had no impact on Anton’s needs.

  41. Ben Whitehead, 10 years ago Reply


    Can you please, by making it as clear as possible, what happens to Bell. After he said ‘And then I woke up’.. what does that signify? Did he dream that Anton was there, and thats why he retired, because he can’t take the pressure, or was it something more complicated?

    Appreciate your answer ASAP

  42. Wayne Humbyrd, 10 years ago Reply

    I LOVED the movie, hated the ending. I have read some of the reviews above and posted on other sites. I did not expect things to be wrapped in a “pretty red bow” nor did I have an “expected resolution.” I did however want resolution. Any resolution. There was no resolution with this film. Do not ask me to sit for 2 hours and then buy into a dream? This moving was intense, the acting was brilliant. The ending ………………………………………………

  43. Jake W, 10 years ago Reply

    first of all, the money was no longer in the vent duct. Moss through it over the fence by the river. and the thing about Antaun in the closet–if you pay attention to other scenes in the film, time passes between some of the scenes, and most people wouldnt realize it happened. Antaun was in the room waiting, but at a different time.

  44. Jake W, 10 years ago Reply


    Anton didn’t kill Moss. the mexicans did. they found out where he was meeting with his wife through the wife’s mother and ambushed him. Unless, i just thought about this to add to what i already said, he did kill moss and the scene with him behind the door was really him waiting for moss to come and the mexicans showed up also, which would explain why they were chased away from the motel still shooting while moss was dead on the floor. idk just a stretch. lemme know what you guys think

  45. Ben Whitehead, 10 years ago Reply

    1. Who really killed Moss? I read Jake W’s second comment, and I don’t know what to believe.

    2. As I asked before, can you please explain what happened after Bell ‘woke up’?

    3. Why did Wells not take the money when he saw it in the riverbank? (How did he know it was there, anyway?)

  46. Richard, 10 years ago Reply

    Re the comments about Moss’s wife refusing to call Chigurrh’s coin toss:
    This struck me too at the time and it seems that while she recognizes the implications of the toss (which would give her a 50% chance of surviving) her refusal to make the call is an implicit statement of faith. She chooses to live (or die) on her own terms in a world bound by her sense of right and wrong. In her moral calculus, refusing to submit to chance is worth dying. Her actions remind me of Einstein’s famous statement that “God does not play dice with the universe!”

    Finally, re Sherrif Bell’s dream at the end, although it has been a month since I saw the movie (and a year or two since I read the book), the imagery re the fire may well come from W.B. Yeats’ poem, Sailing to Byzantium, the opening line of which provides the title to McCarthy’s book as well as the movie. The poem is worth reading as an adjunct to the movie–here’s a link:

  47. Norm S., 10 years ago Reply

    - Trey -
    Hey, from point-of-view that explanation makes as much sense as any. It’s tough to tell when the dialogue is setting up a specific point (like Anton’s distaste for the man inheriting the hardware store) or when it’s filling out scene and character development. I guess that’s the beauty of a complex script.

    – Ben -
    Got your questions, buddy. And I can only say that my answers will be opinions, just my take on a film that’s had as much analysis as I can ever remember.

    I’ll say this: I think the movie is fairly simple on the surface. I don’t think the Coens have gone out of their way to confuse the story or us, the viewers. Yes, there are vague details and some unconventional visual language but, for the most part, it is what it is.

    1) I think Jake is correct about Moss’ murder. They tear out of the parking lot just as the sheriff arrives too late.

    2) I don’t think anything “happens” after Bell wakes up. He’s only conveying a dream that gave him some clarity, that showed him his destiny (I don’t mean to be too melodramatic.) I’m in the camp that believes the action wasn’t a dream — the only dream is the one Bell describes at the end.

    3) Never thought about the money at the riverbank… as for his finding it, I figured he knew his players pretty damned well, and knew what they might do. And then there’s fate and luck of course…

    – Wayne Humbyrd -
    With your comment we’re getting back — way back — to the initial reason behind this post: Some people simply don’t like the ending because it lacks traditional closure. And some people, like me, love the ending. As for “resolution,” I think it exists in the sheriff’s mind. He’s resolved to call it a day. And damn, that’s good enough for me.

    – Jake -
    With this big discussion, I appreciate the responses to others’ questions, so thanks!

    - Norm S.

  48. JM, 10 years ago Reply

    The move was bad but the ending was the worst. The only thing worse than the ending was Tommy Lee’s final story at the end. Boring, to say the least. What did it even mean? If anyone should have been shot in the movie , early on, it should of been him. Don’t waste your money.

  49. Mike D., 10 years ago Reply

    Ive read all the comments on this thread and the other threads that movie’s official website links to and i still have some questions.
    1) What exactly is the role of the Mexicans in the movie? Are they hired to get the money and also to get Chigurh?
    2) Obviously there is no closure at the end- So what happens to Chigurh? Are the Mexicans going to kill him too?
    3) How much time had elapsed between the death of Moss and the death of the old mother to cancer? That seems significant because it seems that there must have been a long period between the motel scene with Chigurh and the Sherrif and the scene where Chigurh kills the wife (death is implied).

    Also, a comment not mentioned in any thread is that in the shooting showdown in Del Rio between Moss and Chigurh, Chigurh gets shot and FLEES without his weapon. Hardly the fearless cold “death figure” that all the overanalyzers have painted. Moss then picks up the gun and drives off. So unless im mistaken, after seeing that Chigurh had gotten away and is wounded, Moss takes Chigurhs gun and drives off in the smashed truck. Chigurh shouldnt have his special gun in any scene after that. Ill have to watch again to see if that it true.

  50. scotty, 10 years ago Reply

    Just got home from the theater. Wanted to address the issue of where did the money go, since someone above was asking if Anton Chirgur got it after all.

    As mentioned, he gives a $100 bill to the kid on the bike for his shirt – a parallel to Moss giving $500 to the frat guy on the bridge for his jacket. So I think it’s safe to say that Anton did retrieve the money.

    And so perhaps we think it’s not really relevant at this point, the money being a Hitchcock “MacGuffin,” much like the the prized Maltese Falcon which we never see. But then it’s sort of interesting that Anton must walk off without the suitcase – even the “ghost,” as Bell calls him, can be injured, lose, and eventually die…

  51. khurram merza, 10 years ago Reply

    lol hard at daniels comment from dec.18
    its hard to watch this movie w/people who thought “die hard” was better!
    i know what you mean.

  52. billywest, 10 years ago Reply

    A note about the motel scene:
    When we’re presented with Chigurh’s point of view inside motel room, he’s looking to his left and slightly down. When we are presented with the close-up of the blown-out lock from inside the room, we are looking at it from the right side, that is, the blown-out lock cylinder is on our left. Looking at the left side of the cylinder, we see Bell’s reflection in it. But, from our point of view, Bell is standing on the other side (to the left) of the cylinder, if we assume that we are in the room that Bell is about to enter. Since we see Bell’s reflection on the left side of the cylinder, doesn’t that mean that Bell would have to be on the right side of the cylinder from our vantage point inside the room? This would put Bell on the left side of the blown-out cylinder from his vantage point outside the room. But, when we watch the movie, we see that he is always on the right side of the cylinder from his vantage point.
    The reflection of Bell in the left side of the cylinder makes more sense if we are looking at the blown-out cylinder from inside the adjacent room.

    Just a thought.

  53. Jake W, 10 years ago Reply

    To Mike D-

    about Moss taking Chigur’s gun…yeah he picks up the MP5 that Chigur had but he didn’t take the shotgun. Chigur left with that. he had two guns because he wasn’t able to shoot Moss from a distance with the shotgun.

  54. Norm S., 10 years ago Reply

    - JM –
    Sounds like you’re in the minority buddy. Even those people that aren’t happy with the ending still got something out of the movie. I think you’re a first on this post…

    – Mike D. –
    I’m not sure it matters what becomes of Chigurh. As some have mentioned on this post, he’s the proverbial — and maybe literal — ghost.

    As for the Mexicans, I assume they’re simply part of the drug deal gone wrong. Nothing more, nothing less.

    – Scotty –
    I agree — the money just propels the story. Where it ends up is fairly meaningless, in my eyes. I couldn’t care less actually.

    – billywest –
    Man, that scene has become one of the most analyzed I can remember. As you state, we’re definitely relying on our innate knowledge of “film language” to figure it all out. In the long run, though, I’m not sure it can be seen as a literal series of images. Just one viewer’s point of view.

    – Norm S.

  55. Rich, 10 years ago Reply

    I just saw film this evening. I too really liked the film but found the ending confusing. Here’s what I thought:

    Anton gets caught. That’s the whole reason for the car crash. He been deciding lives based on a coin toss and fate finally intercedes in a negative way for him. He leaves the crash scene with sirens approaching, a bone sticking out of his arm and two witnesses who saw him leave the murder scene- hundred bucks paid out notwithstanding. The following TL Jones monologue doesn’t elude to the case itself and can be applied whether the case was solved or not. My two cents only.

  56. mike, 10 years ago Reply

    There are some great comments here.
    The combination of the Coens and McCarthy is a perfect one, as they have both explored similar themes in their work, and for the Coens, this movie feels like an update of both Blood Simple and Fargo.

    I think the scene with Bell’s uncle is more critical than the final scene where he speaks about his dream. The unending brutality of man is a constant theme in McCarthy’s work, and the Coens’ too. The problem is that Bell can’t accept that his feeling of being overwhelmed by what he sees is his own “vanity”. That Chigurh kills the only innocent person in the movie as a matter of his own sick principles (remember how Woody Harrelson calls him one of the only principled people out there, or something to that effect), survives his potential comeuppance, and walks away only underlines that this is how the world is, and will always be.
    Even as he walks away, the kids are starting to argue over the $100 bill.
    Once he decides that the world is too much for him anymore, he has begun to die, and too soon, because he has no place at home (his wife makes that clear), and nothing else to look forward to.

    Chigurh is a force of nature, and the struggle in the movie is about how human morals fall away against the implacability of nature. This movie doesn’t take place in the desert for nothing.

    That said, I feel like the end of the movie had a structural issue in the way the final three scenes were set up. The Coens telegraphed the car crash, though they didn’t kill Chigurh off as I first expected (THAT would have put an interesting moral spin on everything), and I was so churned up by the end of that scene, that I lost some focus on the final scene until about halfway through the final monologue. I would have put the scene with the uncle before the final one, after the car crash.

  57. Kerry, 10 years ago Reply

    I know I’m really stepping outside of the box here, but is it possible that Bell and Anton had a partnership? Maybe that’s why Bell is so contemplative and mournful in his closing dialog-he has sold out. He isn’t despondent about the state of humanity, only about his inner moral compass. His line about how cattle are killed shows that he knows how the murders are being committed. That would explain why Bell survives the scene in the motel room where it appears that Anton is hiding behind the door. And it could explain how Bell is able to retire.

    Maybe it’s heresy, but I just thought I would throw this one out to see what everyone else says about it!

  58. CLAX, 10 years ago Reply





    HAS ANYONE ELSE Thought that ED TOM BELL left the Hotel Room in El Paso with the Briefcase full of money?

    Did anyone notice how nice the Breakfast Nook appeared at the end compared with the deshelved ranch home we saw in the first scene that introduced Ed Tom?

    Didn’t Ed Tom’s wife look stunningly more beautiful at the end than when we first saw her? More money spent on makeup and nice clothes and hairstyle and those icy blue eyes which weren’t portrayed when we first saw her?

    Amazing what $2,000,000 can do to make you gorgeous at 65!~~~


  59. Kerry, 10 years ago Reply

    YEA,WELL………….thought I’d get a rise out of someone~~~

  60. KGB, 10 years ago Reply

    It sure would be interesting to know if Ed Tom actually did find the money, but I don’t think he did. I think he was nervous about dying while a cop and it was VERY uncomfortable in his retirement because being a cop is ALL he knew. Heck, his entire family of generations were lawmen and he simply knew nothing else.

    One common thread I observed (among many) was the concept that you have no control over what happens in this life. “You can’t stop what is coming…that’s vanity” rings true. Also, when Anton says “people always say the same thing…’you don’t have to do this.'” He is so put off by this comment like people simply don’t get it. You can’t change what is going to happen, you can’t stop it. Anton couldn’t stop it. He is what he is and people telling him “that he doesn’t have to do this” just puzzles him since that is furtherest thing from the truth.

    I can just tell he wanted to say to these folks that we are helpless in this life to what happens to you. When it is your time, it is your time and you can’t do anything about it. It is completely up to chance. Just like the coin flip…completely up to chance.

    I see Anton as a symbol of the Grim Reaper. He is always wearing black; cold as death; has no remorse or feeling – that is, when it is your time, it is your time. AND, his silver silencer on the end of gun is reminiscent of the blade on the end of the sickle.

    Finally, I agree with the other comments. Lewellen and Anton were opposite sides of the same coin. They were cut from the same cloth and it was fascinating watching the movie the second time to see the similarities. I watched it again after reading this comment board and saw SOOOOOOO much in the movie that I did not see the first time. Great analysis from folks…

  61. Kym, 10 years ago Reply

    I felt that the movie was a little clumsy at the beginning and, particularly at the end.
    At the beginning, there was the need to force the audience to understand that the principal villain was a stupendously remorseless individual, but it was not succinctly connected to the ensuing… there was an unnecessary disconnect.
    Further the opening promoted the idea of the ramdomness of his actions, which was achieved more efficiently by the ‘bird-shot on the bridge’ scene. At the end, the car crash was telegraphed (unfortunately) by the over-dwelling on the traffic-lights and I see this development as a sop to those who crave ‘justice/closure’. ‘Sheriff sees crippled former associate’ and ‘sheriff delivers epilogue/tie-up’ really, in my opinion, should have been dispersed earlier in the presentation. Finally, the theme… change, the relentlessness of change, familiar but novel (against common sense)… …and the strangeness and incomprehensibility of the new, hyper-violent, unpredictable crime regime for the ‘old hands’… …therefore ‘no country for old men’! K

  62. SH, 10 years ago Reply

    Had a question, how did Anton know that Moss was in El Paso at the hotel. Anyone have an answer. Thanks.

  63. Lochnivar, 10 years ago Reply

    The CROW :

    Interesting comments – I have a couple that I haven’t seen mentioned that may spark debate.

    THE CROW:-

    The scene in which Anton shoots at the crow is filmed very carefully compared to others, watch it a few times and this scenes cinematography stands out to me…this lends more confidence (since it appears to be a important scene) in making the following comments….firstly the camera shows his view out of the car, through the windscreen at the approaching bridge. After watching this again focus on the bonnet of his car……see anything as his bonnetpiece in the middle? I believe this to be iconography for Chaos – The turned down horns of the head signifying this….. (I know he has probably just stolen this car from another victim but I think it’s important to only this particular scene and the interactions with the crow).
    I believe Chiggur is the embodiment of chaotic evil, not death – however – he interacts with death – death has been accompanying him his entire journey and at this point in the film it is personified as the crow….Anton being pure chaos shoots the crow…point blank…he cant miss….but he does…or does he? he cant kill death….but the final car crash involving Chiggur demonstrates that maybe he can cheat it….or perhaps its death’s little reminder showing him who his master is…it’s left open for debate. Maybe Chiggur is just a unknowing/knowing vessel for death, maybe he shot at the crow because he knew it?

    If there was more ‘death’ symbolism it would add weight to once theory or another, who knows.
    The whimsical nature of death is demonstrated not by Anton during his killings but more by the car crash in which he is involved. Unexpected and ironic given all the violence he’s been party to ,but another reminder to Anton who it is he serves (maybe because after killing Carla he has indeed changed slightly through her comments and refusal to call the toss)…..

    There is a greater power at work than him – he’s visibly shaken (albeit not a lot but for him, more than usual), and maybe he, chiggur is the one who’s been on the run his entire life (either that or deaths been accompanying him).
    The car crash shows that like Chiggur, life and death is whimsical,

    Chiggur is the guy who didnt get the electric chair – the one Bells refers to in his opening monologue about the boy killer he caught and how the kid said he would have killed anyone given the opportunity. Chiggur is ‘The boy who lived’ in a harrypotteresque demonic reversal…but the system didnt catch him and he’s the result…..

    Not to push this too far but it’s clear that throughout his screentime Anton appears ‘soulless’…maybe he is…maybe he made some sort of parle…

    Or maybe he’s just a killer who likes shooting at birds.

    Anyway if you got this far, thanks for reading my thoughts, one other scene raises questions and is easily overlooked…

    The first hotel Moss stays in as soon as he gets to the room he makes a phone call to a mexican car dealership called ‘Roberto’s automotive’, he has a piece of paper in his hand he has gotten from somewhere… I think maybe he’s trying to contact the mexicans and has had enough of this, he took the money, he wants to give it back – who knows, but it definately has importance and I cant think why – he gets the answering phone and hangs up, then the money chase beings.

    What do you think?

  64. Cheryl, 10 years ago Reply

    I just saw the movie and loved it. The symbolism and correlations throughout the film were amazing. I believe that the Mexicans found Moss in the hotel room because of his wife’s mother blabbing as shown earlier at the airport. They got there first and shot and killed Moss and the girl with the beer. They drove off shouting and shooting because they’re fools or because they wanted it to seem random. Anton gets to town a little later (as instructed by the old guy with the chickens in the truck) and finds out about the shooting and knows his money is there somewhere. Anton returns later as indicated by TLJones while talking to the other officer who refers to the killer “returning to the scene of the crime” from another situation/crime. **Alternate suggestion is that Anton arrived the same time as the Mexicans and he scared them off shooting, etc. but still had to return later to get the loot.** TLJones returns to the scene but goes into the empty room while Anton is actually in the adjoining room. TLJones steps over the blood stain where Moss died trying to either retrieve or hide the money in the air duct. Anton knows this from the earlier hotel room so he went into the adjoining room to retrieve the money from the other side, just as Moss did earlier. Again TLJones is one step behind the criminal and his actions are futile. Anton has the loot, but kills the wife out of principle and yes we know this because we were told earlier how he operates, and he gives the kid the money for the shirt. The criminal gets away, the sherrif didn’t change anything, we soon forget about the insignificant folks who were caught up in it (and died), and life goes on …….. We’re back right where we started, a never ending cycle…..just like the beginning monologue and ending monlogue of the movie suggests!!

  65. Lynn, 10 years ago Reply

    The most telling thing for me in the motel room sequence at the end is that it’s the first time we see Anton show any emotion—he’s scared! At the time I watched the movie, I believed he was in the same room as the TLJ character, pressed up against the wall (although it seemed implausible to me that TLJ could sit on the bed and not feel Anton in the room with him….).

  66. Kait, 10 years ago Reply

    I just saw this movie a few days ago, and I loved it. I thought that the mysterious ending…and the irony of who was alive and who was dead at the film’s conclusion really added to the story in general. I especially liked the sheriff’s speech at the end of the movie…about having seen his father in a dream. I don’t know about anybody else, but to me, that part reminded me a lot of the ending in To Kill A Mockingbird. Where Jem falls asleep but knows in the morning that his father will be there…waiting for him.
    Sorry…didn’t mean to ramble there. Like I said, I loved the movie. I hope it gets some great awards. Sadly, I hadn’t read the book before watching the film, but I plan to do so ASAP.

  67. mleafer/, 10 years ago Reply

    A “tremendous” key to the movie is the woman in the trailer park office. She cannot be moved by Amalek/chugarh, literally and figuratively.

    She is the only “counterweight” to Chugarh in the whole movie.

    The movie is very religious by the way.

  68. mleafer/, 10 years ago Reply

    Chugarh represents Amalek, an evil force that “infects” a nation every generation. This generation it is Islamic Terror, although I think in truth it is the nation of Islam.

    The movie shows the four attributes of Amalek and that solves a lot of the mystery:

    1. Amalek has the gift of prophecy – Chugarh predicts the money will be at his feet, and it is, he hides behind the door, and that is where the lower vent is.
    Chugarh, says basically he knows how this will end, and that “it doesn’t matter where Carla is because , he knows she will be there when he comes for her…

    2. Amalek can practice magic — He dissapears from the room , he can be a ghost at times

    3. Iniquity — Amalek kills his own “bosses”

    4. Evil deeds — obvious

    “The Zohar explains that Amalek has four faces: sorcery, divination, mischief (evil deeds) and iniquity (Zohar KiTetze). ”

  69. Norm S., 10 years ago Reply

    Wow. I’m starting to think we have the most interesting “No Country” comment string out there… feel free to keep it coming.

    – Rich -
    I figure maybe Anton does get caught… but he probably doesn’t. At that stage, the guy’s an enigma in my mind and his future is nowhere near as important as the sheriff’s.

    – Mike (12/27) -
    Your comments are some of the best we have here, and I really enjoyed them. Regardlng the car crash, I think the Coens’ intention may have been to shake us up to the point of losing focus when Bell makes his final statement. It definitely provides for a “huh”? feeling when the screen goes to black.

    – Kerry -
    Yeah, your comment is out of the box alright. Bell and Anton partners?! I think you’re realllllly searching for something that isn’t there. Although we all know there’s a fine line between good and evil, and all that blah blah blah.

    – Clax -
    C’mon, now. Does that look like a man who just found two million dollars?

    – KGB -
    I like that you say “two sides of the same coin”. That coin flip really does represent the randomness of life (or life and death?) and here, Anton’s taken it upon himself to be the Grim Reaper.

    – Kym -
    Great summary. In my eyes, the title of the movie is established right there in the sheriff’s opening monologue. Tough to tell if he’ll be the hero or not from that, but he’s got a pretty good handle on the idea that life ain’t fair.

    – Norm S. (Meet In the Lobby)

  70. mleafer/, 10 years ago Reply

    Here is how I see the kabbalistic aspects of NCFOM. Spoiler Alert

    The soul of evil is manifest in Amalek, an evil force. Each generation Amalek clothes himself in a different nation. Last generation it was prob Nazis, this generation, Islamic Terror -Chugarh.

    The main power of Amalek is to create doubt. The three things one must do concerning Amalek is to fight him like hell, never forget who he is/what he did, and remember how we beat him before.

    The entire movie is about Amalek’s interaction with different types of people. The trailor park secretary, rigid in her beliefs could not be moved. The gas station owner, he was the weakest, actually the biggest loser metaphysically, did exactly what Chugarh wanted, and the Mosses resisted, but both were tainted by the evil of the money that even carla jean was involved with.

    Bell’s discussion with his Uncle, how did he know he was there (religious belief) all dealt with bell’s attempt to understand his duty vis a vis Amalek. He couldn’t see Chugarh literally and figuratively, because he did not want to fight Amalek anymore. Amalek created doubt in Bell obviously. The last dream was Bell remembering, or being reminded, how previous generations defeated Amalek (the light of his father).

    And as they say, that was that.…o-Terrorism.htm

    Now this Kabbalah layer is on top of the Islamic terror layer previously discussed -ad naseum, which is on top of the literal layer, ie the story obvious on the screen.

    To anyone offended by the term Islamic Terror, or the idea that Islamic terror exists, there is a desolate gas station somewhere for sale.

  71. Russ, 10 years ago Reply

    Wow!! What a great blog about peoples opinions about just one movie. Just want to add, Did anybody else notice all the cars were from the 80’s?

  72. Nathalie, 10 years ago Reply

    Here’s the deal with the ending: it is an existential look at good and evil in this world. The sheirff is confounded by the harsh reality of violence and decides to retire. The deception of the ending is that, at one side of the coin, you think the story is truly over – the violence will continue and we will all give up and fall victum to evil. But there is another side to this: the film’s ending figuratively blacks out our viewing, meaning that beyond our experience, beyond the existential, the story continues. There are things in life that we are “in the dark” about but I do not believe we are to take away from this movie some hopeless look at mortality and the cycle of violence. Everything that is wrong and evil in this world, in time, will be overcome with good. Perhaps we will live to see it, our perhaps the Chigurhs of our worlds will face justice after we cut to black!

  73. Stefan Carey, 10 years ago Reply

    I think Anton was behind the. door: in the scene you can see the sherrif standing outside looking in and if you look closely, I think you can see Anton’s hazy reflection on the metal surface of the now hollow lock, When the camera changes position to the inside of the room, you can see a hazy sherriff reflection. Both men are scared at this point and maybe the filmakers intent is to show they each man (and perhaps everyman) has ghosts. After the sherrif inexplicably does not check behind the door, Anton may well have slipped out.

  74. Kerry, 10 years ago Reply

    To me the big message from this film is the extremely destructive actions of psychopaths in our society. Anton is the classic violent psychopath who shows absolutely no remorse in intimidating and killing helpless, frightened people. The good news is that psychopaths represent less than 5% of the population; the bad news is that they all too often get to powerful positions in governments and organisations where they are at their destructive best. Hitler, Stalin, Idi Amin, Sadam Hussain, the current leaders of North Korea and Iran, are likely psychopaths. If only there was some way to identify them early and remove them from society what a wonderful world it could be. Mind you, if they did not exist there would be billions more people on the earth. To me the Sheriff represents the other 95% of society who are caring rightous people who want justice to prevail. The ending to me is spot on because in real life the psychopath usually wins leaving effected people like the Sheriff with a sense of hopelessness and defeat.

  75. Glen Witt, 10 years ago Reply

    My hope was the ending left it open for the sheriff beleiving he would not get peace unless he avenged the death of his two towns people–especialy the wife. The film did not have the prevalent element in our society of narcissism which affects more people. Most of us will never come across a psycopath–like being struck by lightening, but are likely to have a self-centered person with little thought except about themselves, and we are only alive to tell them yes and to do their bidding. You have a relationship with someone like that and you end up thinking your going crazy–when its’ them and our lack of boundary setting and self advocacy that turns us so-called- victims into volunteers for misery. We allow the “swamp” to sink our “tractor”–beleiving we can “fix them”. It’s like the country gas station owner in the film–he’s worried about offending the killer and its’ his sheepishness that REALLY offends, and develops the series of questions he keeps getting asked that sinks him deeper in his defenselessness.

  76. billywest, 10 years ago Reply

    Quite a bit of discussion about the final scene and the meaning of Bell’s two dreams. Forgive me if something similar has been mentioned before, but my 2 cents:
    It’s funny, but Bell just briefly talks about the first dream with a look on his face that says the dream has no meaning for him. But, I think the meaning is huge. He says his dad gave him some money but he lost it. The meaning here is that his dad (?) entrusted him with something valuable (the lives of Mr. and Mrs. Moss, for example) and he failed to keep it safe. The fact that he glosses over this tells us something about his simple nature.
    The second dream is of Bell and his father riding during the old times. In the beginning he mentions comparisons between lawmen of the new west and the old west. He says that his father rides up ahead of him into the cold and dark to make fire out there somewhere. The father dream figure could be symbolic of all the old-time lawmen who lit the way for modern-day lawmen like Bell. Just as Bell says “And then I woke up,” a look of sorrow crosses his face. It’s clear he has suddenly realized something at that moment. I think he connected the meanings of the first and second dreams at that moment.

  77. billywest, 10 years ago Reply

    I just fixed a sentence from my last post here:
    “In the beginning (of the movie) he mentions comparisons between lawmen of the new west and the old west.”

  78. Phil, 10 years ago Reply

    Loved the movie and with everyone’s insight, I found it to be deeper than I origninally expected.

    I saw it 2 times and between my friend and I we got a lot of the content. But there is one part that makes no sense to me at all.

    The Milk scene. What was the pertainence of Anton leaving it out and TLJ saying “that is a shame” and drinking some of it.

    With all the banter here, i am sure someone has an idea. Unless I am overthinking it.

  79. Phil, 10 years ago Reply

    Also, what was the point of Anton saving the Accountant?

    I know it boils down to character of the kill, the shop owner, the lady in the trailer park.

    But why was he excused?

  80. GlenW., 10 years ago Reply

    billywest, your insights are truely amazing. Want to add that my first impression of the “fire” built by Bell’s father was a “Light”/guide waiting for him in the afterlife that he feared.
    Phil, I was curious why the milk was left and why Bell drank it also? Great question.

  81. Alyona, 10 years ago Reply

    Brilliant! Best Coen movie ever. Provocative and intelligent. I was blown away by how good this was. I love every bit of this film including the ending. To me the rhythm and flow of the film personified the denial people often live in about the ability to have control over things outside themselves. This is perfectly summed up in the line in the film, “You can’t stop what is coming. And if you think you can, well, that’s just vanity.”

  82. Russ, 10 years ago Reply

    If this movie doesn’t win several Oscars there’s something very,very wrong with the Academy, but you’all know they’ll probably just give em all to that other Tom Hanks waste of film, and it won’t surprise us in the least, will it?I guess it’s all about making them more money, and that’s just pure evil…

  83. Norm S., 10 years ago Reply

    When we started Meet In the Lobby, I promised all who joined in that we would respond to comments and keep the conversation rolling. I am honored to say it ain’t easy, as you guys are overwhelming us with amazing comments.

    And I sincerely hope you’re enjoying the rest of the site (if not, please hit the ‘contact’ link and let us know).

    – Lochnivar –
    Not sure about Moss’ first phone call, maybe some else can help. As for your comments about Anton’s relationship to death, I dig that. I feel like he uses death as a tool, both physically and mentally. Will it bite him in the ass sometime? Who knows? Maybe the answer exists in the flip of someone else’s coin…

    – Cheryl –
    Thanks for offering one of the better black-and-white summaries of the movie. Your mention of “the insignificant folks” is both both sad and true. I wonder how long it will take for the sheriff to be one of them.

    – Lynn –
    I give you credit — how could you tell Anton was scared? I guess I thought he was alert, but too overwhelmingly confident to be scared. As for the sheriff feeling Anton in the room, check around other reader comments for thoughts on the Coens playing with time and space in that scene.

    – Kait –
    That’s the first time I’ve heard a comparison to To Kill A Mockingbird. Interesting. While both are somber, the level of certainty you describe feels much more melancholy than that in Mockingbird. I’m sure you feel the same way, but I’m doing my own rambling now…

    – mleafer –
    I’m not the dumbest guy, but I’m not sure I understand your Kabbalah references. We’ll keep your links up, but I think you’re making an enormous stretch for your own agenda. My own two cents.

    – Norm S. (Meet In the Lobby)

  84. andrew, 10 years ago Reply

    who kills moss and the women by the pool at the motel?? who is driving the blue pick up?? was it chigurh or the mexicans??
    someone give me some answers please.

  85. Phil, 10 years ago Reply

    I am pretty sure the Mexicans killed Moss and Carla’s mom.

    What I think we didn’t see, is that the Mexicans helped Carla’s mom to the hotel where, I assume they held her hostage to wait for Moss.

    I think the person in the pool was Carla’s mom. Moss was in the parking lot (very briefly shown) and the guy in the door was a Bounty Hunter (?).

    I need to see this again, but I think that is how it played out.

    BUT if you look at this thread, there are tons of theories. So, whatever you think, you may be correct.

  86. mleafer, 10 years ago Reply

    Norm s, you think I am stating this for my own “agenda”. Then how do you explain this:

    This scene is a “big” key to the movie I think.

    Choose Extrait 6, it is the trailer park manager clip.

    Notice the gold door window Chugarh enters through. There are ten circles or spheres (most of the rows across) , linked in a triangular pattern. Chugarh forms a black triangle before he enters.

    The Kabbalah deals with a universe comprised of ten spheres, linked by triangles.

    Obviously the coens are saying Chugarh has entered through the Kabbalistic metaphysical realm.

    Now notice that the “tremendous lady” also forms a gold triangle.

    She resists 100% Chugarh, true to her duty, and her values and cannot be moved, she is spiritually heavy. As mentioned before, Chugarh kills his “management”, which is one of the four faces of Amalek: Iniquity. She is the only true opposite of Chugarh/Amalek.

    That scene is kinda cool, ya got to admit. If it was a painting, it could stand on its own , I think.

    No offense, but as the movie explains in the beginning, you cannot see it, because you are not a part of that world.

  87. chreise, 10 years ago Reply

    I kind of ahve to agree with Tristan. Whoever you are, you were kind of on the money. You had the same questions i did. Why in the world didn’t he massacre tommy Lee Jones? I enjoyed the movie right up until the end. how in world are they gonna just not show how Moss got killed and then the gril in the pool!!! then, Tommy Lee Jones really was no help in the situation. He didn’t even want to catch up to the guy at all!!! Just a little upset, I couldn’t wait to see this movie and was let sown just a little.

  88. billywest, 10 years ago Reply

    In all of the scenes in this movie in which someone was killed (on-screen murders), at least one of the three main characters was present- Bell, Chigurh, and/or Moss – and the story continued on from that character’s point of view. Is this wrong?

    If the death of Moss had been shown, it could have only been shown from his point of view since none of the other two main characters were present. For the scene to have the same continuity as all the other death scenes in the movie, one of the three main characters would have to be present during the scene and have the story carry on from his perspective. Chigurh wasn’t there, and a key point of the movie was Bell’s all-too-late arrival on-scene, so he couldn’t be there. That leaves Moss. But, he dies leaving only the points of view of the Mexicans and some bystanders, none of which are main characters. Thus, including the death scene of Moss would have been inconsistent with the rest of the death scenes in the movie, unless the scene continued from the point of view of one or more of the mexicans. But the movie never really involved the point of view of the Mexicans anyway. This was probably puposely done because we, nor Moss were supposed to foresee Moss’s death come at the hands of the Mexicans; a key point in the story.

    Moss: “Just looking for what’s comin’.”
    Woman by the pool: “Yeah, but no one ever sees that.”

    To keep consistency among the death scenes, the closest (in time and space) that we can get to the death of Moss is when Bell arrives on-scene, just a little too late.

    Just a thought.

  89. Tom Heinz, 10 years ago Reply

    I’m hearing and reading so much of people being disappointed in the ending. But it follows the them of the movie. Real life doesn’t get tied up neatly in a bundle. We’ve been programmed to like formulaic movies: there’s a guy doing bad things and we want a good guy to stop him. But Tommie Lee Jones’ sherrif was never after Javier Bardem’s bad guy. All the sherrif was trying to do was get Llewelyn safe.

    And speaking of Llewelyn Moss, he didn’t “stumble” on the money; he traced it down. He was the situation and correctly surmised that if the dope was still there, so was the money. Morally, we all could probably justify taking dirty drug money. But ethically, what Llewelyn should have done is headed straight for the authorties to report what he’d found.

    And one last comment about the pivotal scene in the movie, when Sherrif Bell goes back to the hotel where Llewelyn was killed: it was the only time he pulled his gun, and you can tell he was wrestlling with his fear. Shugurh didn’t kill Bell because Bell didn’t deserve to die in Shugurh’s terrifyingly principled world. As much as other would have us think Shugurh killed everything in his path, he always has a reason, even if it’s just to steal a car.

  90. Russ, 10 years ago Reply

    Is it possible that Chugarh is slightly psychic? I mean, he could predict Moss’s future to a tee on the phone,but after killing Carla, his Karma turns for the worst by not forseeing the car coming the other way.Maybe because she didn’t call the coin toss he broke his own rule(she was supposed to live?) and maybe the tables have turned on him and now death is after him instead.And that’s maybe why he looked so scared after the crash for the first time in the film and the last we see of him.
    Just a thought…

  91. qualudius, 10 years ago Reply

    Chugarh is not in the room (or next door) when TLJ is there. Think about it. Hadn’t he already seen Llewelyn at the morgue? He was just replaying how it played out. He’s had enough and is hanging things up. The bad guy got away this time…not you’re typical Hollywood ending. Big deal. Chugarh, however is a different story. He keeps his word by killing the wife, but what does he do with the money? He was just payed to retrieve it, right? He doesn’t strike me as the greedy type. And now, who’s he going to return it to since he killed “the big boss” for hiring the Woody Harrelson character? What exactly did the accountant tell him? And why the shootout seen at the motel? Who were the Mexicans driving away? Did they get most of the money just for telling Chugarh where LLewelyn was (remember mother-in-law commenting on how she’d never seen a Mexican in a siut before)?

    Just thought I’d stir the pot a little.

  92. thots, 10 years ago Reply

    Milk – all his life, the sherriffwas just a little too late. Milk was still sweating…just missed the killer. Lewellen was killed…just missed saving him. He never got his chance to be a hero.

    Another thot, both the killer and the sherrif looked into Lewellen’s TV before leaving. What did they envision?

  93. Suzanne, 10 years ago Reply

    big fan of the Coen Brothers and loved “no country”. Was wondering, Josh Brolin goes back after he had already taken the money from the dealers. He goes back to give the wounded dealer some water and ends up almost being killed. The hit man goes back to kill Brolin’s wife, even though he knows she doesn’t have the money, and kills her anyway, because he said he was going to kill her. He ends up in the car crash. Any coincedence?

  94. billywest, 10 years ago Reply


    A few moments before killing Carson Wells (sp?), Chigurh asks him, “If the rule you followed brought you to this, of what use was the rule?”

    A major point of this story was people seeing the codes they live by bring them to ruin or failure. Even in the end, Chigurh’s rule that brought him to Carla Jean’s home also brought him to the car accident soon after. Of what use was the rule?

    Many people have said that Moss bringing water to the dying (and most likely dead) Mexican was a little far-fetched. Was it? Or was Llewelyn just following a rule? A rule that had him believe he shouldn’t just be able to walk away with 2 million dollars scott-free. He saw the men who risked their lives, and ultimately gave them for the money (or the drugs – both had equal value in the eyes of those involved in the shootout), while he was able to walk away with the prize they fought and died for. I think this is what didn’t sit well with Moss. According to his personal code, there was no way he could walk away with that money without putting something out for it.

    Did he really believe that the Mexican would still be alive when he got there? In the book, he said that he didn’t think the Mexican was dead during one of the conversations he often had with himself, but it seemed as if he was trying to give himself a reason to go back out there. Either way, he went back out there with the water because he felt that was what he needed to do to walk away with the 2 million and not look back. He followed his rule.

    To those who said he went back with the water to make the story happen, I ask why? Why wouldn’t McCarthy just think of another reason if it were as simple as that? I think he felt he didn’t have to because of what I’ve posted above.

  95. mary w, 10 years ago Reply

    Well, thank God for the blog and comments! Missed, for sure, that Moss was dead. Drag! In all of the comments read I like the persons who embraced the sudden blacked-out end as part of life going on with and wo/out evil. That IS life. The Coen’s know what they are doing and so prove themselves and prove that they are thinking people who will wrestle with these difficult subjects. One has to see this film more than once, and on DVD I know I will get even more with English subtitles. Many thanks to all who submit. MW

  96. mleafer/, 10 years ago Reply

    Another kabbalah aspect of NCFOM. Chugarh baths in blood, and he mixes the Saline with his blood before he pours it on his wounds. Pharoh, who was an Amalekite, would bath in the blood of Jewish children to cure a skin condition he had. Mixing the saline with blood was to signify Chugarh’s abhorence of anything pure, and untainted, and that his blood had special powers.

    Why else would Chugarh mix the saline with blood ?

    Can anyone offer an explanation besides the fact to underscore that he was an Amalekite ?

  97. kev-dog, 10 years ago Reply

    thanks to all for your perspectives on the movie. I think the film was excellent!
    I may be too simplistic . but I think the entire metaphor of the film is how hopeless we feel as americans about the situations of violence and unpredictability around us. How we wish times were simple. How people commit acts of violence without a trace of emotion. TLJ looking for a bad guy…right in front of him at he hotel room and not finding him. The bad guy doing nothing…a ghost..just waiting for the next “right time” to create mayhem.
    The film ending in a sad dream of a spent man wishing he had the love and support of his late dad

  98. russell, 10 years ago Reply

    anton IS in the room with TLJ. Note how the door makes an odd noise when it is pushed all the way open. note the interplay with the shadows. this is not a wasted or cut up mistake of a scene. also note how the coens focus on the bathroom window being locked. this is to add to the suspense that there is no escape and that TLJ’s doom is imminent. (if you believe anton is just strictly a psychotic killer) however anton does not kill him because this is one of those rare instances where he is not the protaganist (in this situation). he has no idea if there is a second cop and has no idea if this furthers his principaled mission.TLJ is not his adversary/prey. TLJ does notice the grill off of the A/C vent. Unscrewed with a dime as Anton had done before. So that lets us know that Anton has the money and was not lying in wait for TLJ.
    Anton also does not keep the money (or at least not too much of it) if he did he could likewise be hunted, thus overturning his preferred hunter vs. prey relationship. Also if he kept the money he would have to spend it on earthly things which would connect him to humanity and compromise his ability to be the perfect and inhumane assassin.
    great movie. I’d pay to see it again.

  99. alejandro, 10 years ago Reply

    my take on the motel scene:
    It ties in with the dream at the end where TLJ is a spectator with the ghost of his father passing him by. Anton’s ghost also “passes him by”. That’s why he is a narrator, just a witness, a teller not part of the maelstrom. He is left behind, old to “retire”. No point in killing him as he is doomed to fail anyway. Anyone agrees?

  100. edith maynard, 10 years ago Reply

    It seemed to me that there was not only one psychopath, but two in this movie.

    Not a true moviebuff, the character playing the bounty hunter was very much the psychopath, as well – and then one could add his employer in the plush office to the list.

    My question is: why show movies like this to encourage the human race to accept the evil in our midst?

  101. mleafer, 10 years ago Reply

    Carson Wells was the guardian angel of Moss. Study his lines carefully.

  102. shydog, 10 years ago Reply

    i thought the movie was ok, but i was mostly focused on this old man (ironic?) eating his popcorn about as loudly as anyone i’ve ever heard. let me ask this: in a theater that has about 10 people in it, where the projection is in digital and the acoustics excellent, and where the soundscape for this movie is supposed to be very important, how do you deal with an old codger that chews his popcorn like a cow and wrestles with his popcorn bag like jacob with the angel? i guess he was his own soundtrack. nonetheless, the movie was ok, my least fav of the coen’s, kinda boring, and who cares about the ending when tommy lee jones is such a boring actor.

  103. billywest, 10 years ago Reply

    Ritalin helps.

  104. mleafer, 10 years ago Reply

    I think Xavier Bardham studied Muhammed Atta’s affect and encapsulated it perfectly:…r=1&oref=slogin

    What do you think ?

  105. mleafer, 10 years ago Reply

    Sorry , this link should work:

  106. mleafer, 10 years ago Reply

    Gold, the color of the “Kabbalistic window”, is significant because it not only represents “heaven”, but the “flaming sword of Kabbalah”. Also the second link really explains the Carson Wells character and all his weird dialogue. He is either Lewellen’s or Carla Jean’s Guardian angel.

    I found another “dimension” to NCFOM. The Kabbalistic truths are hidden in the movie because that is the way they are hidden in the real Universe. Get it ?

    Notice the Rabbi, they feature in the Wikipedia article. His name is Cohen = Coen, which were the Priests in Judaism, and he is related to the Coen bros. Although the main guy today is Ginzburg, and the main guy that wrote the Kabbalah was Yithak Ben Luria, the “Arezal”, and everyone’s hero. The Madona stuff is BS.

    Another thing I realized, by facing the demon, and forcing him to dissapear/retreat, Sheriff Bell was spiritually elevated so that he now could communicate with the angel/spiritual world. Thats why his Uncle Ellis was giving him a message from his dead uncle Mac, thats why the cats were there, they symbolize communication with the dead, and thats why Bell’s dead father was now communicating with him.

    To underscore this, when Lewellen says if I don’t return “I’ll tell my (dead) Mother myself”, it was to show Lewellen’s dreams (about the water and transponder) were not on the same level as Bell’s became.

  107. mleafer, 10 years ago Reply

    The number 12 stands for the connection between earth and heaven, according to Kabbalah. Thats why the guy in the high rise gave Wells 1200 dollars per day. It was to keep Wells, a guardian angel of Moss here on Earth.

    Also Wells says one floor is missing , because Wells descended one (spiritual) level to get to earth .

    My prediction is that the movie has a lot of hidden connections waiting to be discovered, and the surface has only been scratched.

    It is disconcerting that I seem to be the only one uncovering this, but then again, most people knowledgeable in this stuff do not go to movies.

  108. Norm S., 10 years ago Reply

    What a great string… I’ve been trying to keep up, so my apologies for any comments we haven’t responded to.

    – Tom Heinz -
    I agree with you about the film’s ending being true to the movie in total. And most people who love No Country admire the ending, including me.

    – thots -
    Maybe they look into the TV out of habit, hoping that something will materialize that never will? Or the Coens are just amping up the tension, showing us a reflection. I’m sure some of us expected to see some revealed image pop up in the background within that reflection.

    – billywest -
    The whole movie is about following your own personal code, I agree. Whether the code is self-imposed (Anton) or set by cultural rules and standards (the sheriff). And, as you mentioned, the characters live by those codes – even if they can’t prevent what they may bring, or change anything by way of their action.

    And I love your Ritalin comment.

    – edith maynard -
    I sincerely hope people don’t contemplate the “evil in our midst” due to a fictional film. They should either already be considering it in the real world, or looking past it to happier things. A make-believe study in evil shouldn’t be the catalyst.

    – shydog -
    Most of us strongly disagree with your opinion that the movie’s boring. But I really sympathize with your crappy experience at the theater. Noisy people piss me off once the lights are down.

    – mleafer -
    I’m not sure what you’re trying to say by saying Bardem has taken on the effect of a killer whose name doesn’t deserve uttering, but you have your opinion and comments, and that’s fine (even though I don’t appreciate the link). I do appreciate your other analysis of the film – it’s very specific food for thought. What do others think?

    – Norm S. (Meet In the Lobby)

  109. Greg, 10 years ago Reply

    Adding to Ray’s post:

    “Best American movie in at least three years. Period.

    Tommy Lee Jones’ monologue at the end before the abrupt CUT TO BLACK (not FADE … LOL) serves to show two things –

    First of all, the Jones character is struggling with his own mortality in the face of the world around him – a world he does not understand. The imagery of his late father going ahead of him pictures his impending death and the leaving behind of this troubled world.

    Secondly, he mentions his father carrying a torch and making a fire in the middle of the cold and the blackness. It show that the Jones character feels that the world is hopeless with its course of violence, and that it will get worse. There is sadness in that final statement – Jones dreamt that someone (his father) would make a fire in all of that blackness – and then he woke up. Such hope is only reserved for dreamers, not realists.

    What a terrific way to end a meditative and complex film!!!! I feel sorry for those who do not appreciate the boldness of the story and that ending.”

    Here’s my addition: Cormac McCarthy is making all the points that Ray mentions, and because McCarthy is likely the greatest American writer living today, he is also working on a bigger stage than the life of a Texan. For years now, McCarthy has used his talents to tell us that our world (The USA), is corroding, and we are failing to notice it. We are faling to look back at our past to see how we have quit paying attention to the loss of small things, decent things, and that because of this, small evil things are appearing, and bigger evil things are growing. McCarthy is telling us that we are sliding towards a future that is bleak and cruel and populated with a randomly impersonal evil that casually destroys anything good that crosses its path. McCarthy is chronicling the fall of Rome to the Romans, who, for the most part, leave the theater no wiser than when they entered.

    Read “The Road”. Read “Child of God”. Google “Meredith Emerson”. Look around you. All signs of our social apocalypse.

    I’m not religious, and I’m not quoting scripture, and neither is McCarthy, but an apocalypse can come in many forms, and the fall of a Nation is certainly apocalyptic enough for me.

  110. mleafer/, 10 years ago Reply

    when bell crosses the threshold of the desert sands motel you see two shadows of Bell, one light one dark, straight out of kabbalah(pp 36):

    “The veil of the soul is the shell of the image.

    “The image is double because it reflects alike the good and the evil angel of the soul.

    My comment previously with the picture of Atta, mentioned affect, not effect. Bardham was trying to convey the look “affect” we associate with terror. Sorry for the link.

  111. BloodyMuddy, 10 years ago Reply

    I think the Coen brothers made this film so vague that almost anything is possible. Things in this movie can be viewed in so many different perspectives. Each time I go back and watch the movie (Online Divx) I see things way differently so that i don’t know what to make out of this movie anymore. Anyways one question I still have is what could the car crash Anton got in symbolize, besides just how things happen by chance and fate is not under our control. Also I know the Kids on the Bike are of symbolic significance, but i can’t figure it out yet. Besides that No country was great. One of the only movies that I actually go back and think about. One of the only movies that feels fresh and new every time i watch it

  112. Bert Berdis, 10 years ago Reply

    Every actor in town must be pissed off at the Coen Brothers. To follow Josh Brolin’s performance, filled with clever manipulations and droll humor, right up to the climax and then…opps, they pulled a Soprano. Cut to him dead. Cut to the blonde(I think) dead in the pool. Cut to the Mexicans escaping .Cut to Anton hiding…somewhere?//This is not only baaad storytelling, it robs the actor of a showdown and a death scene. The two most memorable moments of a movie , and which ususally influence Academy voters. Shameful, disrepectful and stupid.

  113. Norm S., 10 years ago Reply

    - mleafer –
    Appreciate the explanation, and no apology necessary.

    – Bloody Muddy –
    The car crash: A repeated theme in the film is “You Can’t Stop What’s Coming” and I believe that’s exactly what the car crash is. Even for a natural force like Anton, there are higher fates at work.

    – Bert Berdis –
    I think you’d be hard-pressed to find an actor pissed off at the Coens. This film eliminated everything you’d expect (how many death scenes are we gonna see?) and that’s one of the reasons it succeeds on many levels. It works within genre, plays around with genre, and goes in a true consistent direction.

    -Norm S. (Meet In the Lobby)

  114. Al Diefenbach, 10 years ago Reply

    I haven’t read the book did see the movie twice – I had to get a better sense of the ending and after watching time I believe that you can come away with two fairly certain conclusions. 1) Anton ended up with the money – if you remember after the care crash he hands the kid a $100 dollar bill for his shirt – that I believe was a visual clue. Also the bolts that were removed from the vent were on the floor
    2) Anton wasn’t in the hotel when the sheriff came back at night – noticing the lock was broken, he imagined what could on the other side of the door – when the scene shifts to Anton we are seeing what the sheriff fears – Anton on the other side waiting for him – he had already returned to the scene of another crime and this was on the sheriffs mind when he saw the broken lock.

  115. Drex, 10 years ago Reply

    OK, I have a burning question that begs to be answered about the money…..

    Everyone is talking about the open vent with the screws and the dime at the hotel (at the end) where Anton allegedly retrieved the money. We did see Moss hide the cash in the vent much earlier in the movie, but later on he threw it over the fence before he went across the border to the hospital.

    Are you all forgetting this scene or what? The money wasn’t in that motel anymore. It was near the river on the other side of that fence.

  116. Drex, 10 years ago Reply

    IN FACT..the motel at the END of the movie wasn’t even the motel the cash was originally stored at. It was originally stashed at the Regal motel.

    Details people…details.

  117. PMaX, 10 years ago Reply

    they showed a sequence of Moss retrieving the money after he got out of hospital and then another scene with the case under his arm when he is calling his wife to arrange to meet her in el paso

    whole scenes Drex… whole scenes!

  118. Drex is an idiot, 10 years ago Reply

    Ummm, different motels Drex, different motels.

  119. mleafer, 10 years ago Reply

    I have a few more observations on the film. One, I think the dream is there to tell the viewer that like a dream, the whole movie is not to be taken literally and is highly symbolic.

    Two, for people who know something about film:
    I find the following very curious:

    Choose Extrait 1, it is the dying-i-need-water clip. Notice the camera focuses on the open door at the end.

    notice towards the end, the dying man asks to shut the door, worried about lobos.

    Now choose extrait 4, Bell opens and then closes the same door exactly when Wendel talks about coyotes eating the bodies. He in fact has to push the door finally shut, for emphasis.

    The religious meaning is that by not closing the door lewellen brought the devil upon himself. In fact the movie suggests lewellen’s dream to get lewellen to bring the man water, might also have been about the open door.

    Finally, wolves are associated with the devil, and there were no wolves in Texas in 1980, only Coyotes, which the movie points out.

    I would argue that not closing the door was the only sin Lewellen commited since he did not have water, and technically, finding that money and keeping it, is not a crime.

  120. Drex, 10 years ago Reply

    In reply to the two comments before the one above me….

    Ok, well I do not remember any scene showing Moss get the money from the other side of the fence. Maybe it was brief and I didn’t catch it, or the version I saw had missing scenes. All I remember is him having the convo with the guard about being in ‘Nam, then the guard proceeding to help him “get in town”.

    So the money goes from…

    – The AC vent in the Regal motel


    – The river bank on the other side of the fence


    – The AC vent in the Desert Strike motel??

    We never even see Moss enter a room in The Desert Strike. He is seen having a convo with the lady at the pool (not sure I remember him holding the satchel in this scene)…then we see him dead in the doorway of a room.

    Is it just assumed that Moss got the money stowed away in the vent before this scene, or was there something we missed when it cuts from the beer lady/pool convo to Sheriff Bell arriving and finding them all dead. If that was the lady he was talking to dead in the pool, then what was Moss doing all the way over there halfway inside a room.

    I must say the last 20 min of that movie keep swimming in my brain. I guess it’s suppose to be that way. Leave you thinking.

  121. Jacob, 10 years ago Reply

    My take is that part of this film is about there being no easy money in America today. Think about how money is portrayed in this film. 65 cents for the peanuts and Anton makes the clerk “call it” betting his life on a quarter. 500 dollars for a coat while crossing the boarder and the kids friend wants more money for his beer. Finally, the kid in the end refusing to split the $100 with his buddy because he’s “out a shirt”. Not to mention the entire cat and mouse plot with the ultimate object (a suitcase full of cash) fueling it. As for TLJs character, his first dream explains it all…his father gave him money, and he lost it. This dream is more significant than the second because it explains his developing character and explains this part of the film. When money didn’t matter (thus he lost it) was a different time. But because his character is starting to recognize the money and crime behind it in America today, he doesn’t remember the dream that well. The transition lies within the second dream. When he passes his father by he passes the ghost that represents what he once knew. But why he wakes up is beyond me.

  122. Mick, 10 years ago Reply

    I think the movie definitely draws from “Raising Arizona”. Nicholas Cage’s character in “Raising Arizona” takes something that is not his and is hunted relentlessly by a mercenary. The mercenary in “Raising Arizona” (again a deranged Mexican incidentally) callously shoots a rabbit for kicks on his hunt for Cage, again reminiscent of Bardem shooting the bird as he crosses the bridge.

    “Raising Arizona” (possibly my favourite Coen brothers movie ) is played for laughs, “No country for old men” is obviously much more philosophical.

    The title “No country for old men” most likely comes from a poem by W.B. Yeats called “Sailing to Byzantium” which has the first line ‘This is no country for old men.’ The poem is partly a reflection on earthly mortality. Cormac McCarthy the writer of the book on which the film is based is also Irish.

  123. Dave, 10 years ago Reply

    Drex – You notice when TLJ enters the car park he spots empty bullet shells at the pool area and then we see a body in the pool. My take on this was that there was a gun fight, with moss fighting his way back to his room before being killed in the door way. It seems he decided to have a beer with the lady he met. Hence finally being caught out.

    I thought the film was superb and its had me rushing for more Coen films. I also loved Moss’ character. I always hate my fav character being killed off but it really had to happen that way for this film to end in the right way. For him to be able to run off into the sunset with $2m would have ruined it.

  124. Dave Hopkirk, 10 years ago Reply

    This story is an allegory!

    The title is from the first line of Sailing to Byzantium by William Butler Yeats, a poet classically trained and considered by many to be the greatest 20th Century poet.

    Death is Anton Chigurh. His hair style (hood-ish, shroud-ish) and black clothing suggest Death. Death kills the innocent as well as the guilty and has his own set of rules. When the witness to the high-rise killing asks, “Are you going to kill me?” Death answers, “It depends. Do you see me?” When the kids on the bicycles help him after the car accident he tells them, “You didn’t see me.” If you see Death, you die; if not, you may live. Chigurh seems to come and go at will and seems to know where Moss is without trying very hard. His rules are his rules and they seem arbitrary and random. He is referred to by the sheriff as a “ghost” and he seems to be able to go wherever he pleases.

    Death kills with a cattle stun gun, almost like a member of the clergy administering a cross to the forehead of a parishoner. Death is often portrayed as a hooded figure with a scythe; in this case he’s a “hooded” figure with a cattle stun gun.

    Man is Llewellen Moss, part sinner, part saint. He is offered a deal with Death when Death offers to ignore his wife but take him. Instead, Llewellen challenges Death and chooses declines the offer. This is straight Faustian bargaining. By declining Death’s “This is the best deal you’re gonna get” Moss signs not only his own death warrant but his wife’s, too.

    Llewellen challenges Death to a showdown and when his wife tells the sheriff, “He won’t quit, neither. Never has.” the audience expects a later showdown because we’ve been trained to see the protagonist take on the antagonist at the climax of a story — but before that can happen life’s randomness gets in the way and the Mexicans kill him. This is the major turn in the movie and the one that takes the sail out of the audience, which has been cheering for Man in his struggle against Death without realizing it.

    Free Will is Carla Jean. She chooses at the end of the film not to allow Death to be random. She has a 50% chance of saving herself but chooses not to avail herself of the opportunity. She is the bravest of the lot, choosing to die by her own decision and not the randomness of Death.

    The sheriff is the philosopher trying to understand the universe. He cannot and is defeated by Death in his attempt. At the movie’s end the Sheriff bemoans the fact that God never entered his life. One of God’s creatures, Death, was in the Sheriff’s life but he didn’t realize it (see “Scene with Sheriff” below). The story is the Sheriff’s, his quest to understand Life, and the dream he tells at the end of the movie explains that his own father, long dead, has gone before him into the darkness of death and awaits him.

    Interesting parallel — Moss pays money for a coat as he crosses into Mexico; Chigurh pays the kids money for a shirt after his accident. What is meant by that? Cannot be a coincidence.

    Chigurh walking away from the accident at the end shows that Death cannot be stopped. It will always walk the streets. It is a part of our existence forever.

    Scene with the Sheriff and Death at the same hotel room at the same time but the Sheriff does not see Death. This scene is vital — it solidifies the allegory. The Sheriff enters the room but does not see Death and so he does not die. Death sees the sheriff but chooses not to kill him because he’s not seen in return. This scene is the “supernatural” scene which signals that we’ve watching an allegory, that what we’ve been watching is more than it appears.

    Why 1980 for the book/film when it was written in 2005? Could it be it was begun then and the author simply chose not to update it? What is the reason? Must be one. Might be nothing more than the author started this 25 years ago and didn’t feel like updating it to present times.

    Fantastic movie!!

  125. Greg, 10 years ago Reply

    To Dave,

    Yes,you’ve written a very nice breakdown of the metaphors in the story, and yes, it is an allegory…but really, you need to go read more of Cormac McCarthy’s works…..NCFOM is more than just the death of an individual or an allegory about death. McCarthy (like Yeats at the time) is getting old now, and he is seeing not only the end of his life (as a man, as an artist), he is seeing (and writing) on a bigger stage than himself, or any one individual.

    Read “The Road”. Read “Child of God”.

    McCarthy is writing this book now NOT because he “started it and didn’t finish it until now”…he wants to allow us to see story as it follows the trajectory in time that takes us to now. Drugs, Evil, Corruption….all the dialogue of the Sheriff with the older Sheriff…all point to the disintegration of our world, and the resulting death of innocents. (not “innocence”, but “innocents”).

    I am convinced that he is preaching the fall of Rome to the Romans (that’d be us, btw), and we are not hearing him.

    This is a much, much, much bigger story than an allegory about death.

  126. Colujomes, 10 years ago Reply

    The crow shooting sequence may have no more significance than the fact that has become a Coen motif. Very similar shot/reverse shot drive-by sequences appear in both Blood Simple and Fargo.

  127. Name, 10 years ago Reply

    I have to disagree with the idea that McCarthy is depicting a world in decline, a world disintegrating. A careful reading of his books shows that his novel’s depict a world that has always been chaotic, violent, and (possibly) meaningless. In NCFOM, for instance, it is–as Uncle Ellis states–Bell’s “vanity”, his elderly and nostalgic romanticizing of the past and his own youth, that causes him to think the world is more violent today. This is also indicated by the brief mentions of the multiple wars that many characters and their families have taken part in in the past.

    Moreover, if we look at McCarthy’s other works we–most of which are set prior to NCFOM–we find that these times are similarly chaotic and violent. “Child of God” takes place–if I remember correctly off hand–in the thirties, fifty years prior to NCFOM. But perhaps more intriquingly, McCarthy’s masterpiece, “Blood Meridian,” set in the mid 1800’s, depicts the horrific violence and chaos surrounding the expansion of the Nation into the West. This book is lightyears more violent, chaotic, and depraved than NCFOM, and such a depiction clearly undercuts Greg’s assertion that McCarthy’s novels depict a land in decline. Rather, it seems more plausible and consistent to see such violence and chaos as an unalterable ontological fact in McCarthy’s world(s), to which people are blinded by their faith in a romantic and nostalgic understanding of the past.

  128. Dave Hopkirk, 10 years ago Reply

    A few more random comments about No Country for Old Men:

    Having had more time to ponder this fabulous film a few more things have become evident:

    Carson Wells, when asked by the businessman in the tall building, compares Anton Chigurh to the Bubonic plague. The plague, one recalls, was vectored by rats, upon which contaminated fleas resided. Where I grew up, one small flea-like parasite was called a “chigger”. Yes, like “Chigurh”.

    Sheriff Bell at the story’s end bemoaned that God hadn’t come into his life. The irony was that God had. God had visited a plague upon Sheriff Bell’s land in 1980 and it, like the Great Death of 1348, chose its victims pretty randomly.

    There’s no question both Chigurh and Bell were in the same motel room. Bell did not see Chigurh and therefore lived.

    The story is narrated by Bell. It’s his story, not Llewellen Moss’s, though we certainly misinterpret the protagonist until later, that’s for sure. Excellent misdirection by the filmmakers. The High Noon showdown never occurs. That which does is off-screen, to boot! Some have criticized that after Moss’s death the story is anti-climactic. Viewed with Moss as the protagonist it certainly would be. But Moss never was the protagonist. Bell is. Though a case for Chigger might be made, too, but would fail to the near-soliloquy by Bell at the end.

    No filmmakers chose a time 30 years ago to film a story unless it’s relevant to the story — it costs extra money to rent those old cars and to be sure the backgrounds are authentic and the prices of items are retro’d and the clothing is non-anachronistic. 1980 was chosen deliberately for a very good reason. I’m still working on it. It may be obvious to others but I don’t see it yet. Perhaps the Barry Corbin (Ellis) scene near the end is a clue — he says “it’s coming”. By now it’s here. Maybe that’s the message. Stay tuned.

    I’m also pondering what it was Carson Wells represented. Was he perhaps a symbol for the attempt to reconcile Man (Llewellen) to God’s creature Death? No, I don’t see him as a Christ-figure but am open to suggestions.

    Both Death and Carson Wells were sent forth by the man in the high glass tower to do specific things. I don’t want to stretch the allegory too far here but “man in the high glass tower” has obvious symbolic religious connotations. And Death obviously rebels against that man later so let’s not jump to conclusions about Death rebelling against God, etc.

    There were significant differences between the book and the film — specifically, Carla Jean refused to call the coin in the film; the hitchhiker was eliminated in the film, probably because of time limitations and the fear some might misinterpret Moss’s intentions toward her. I think the changes in the movie increased the effectiveness of the allegory. Free will and self-determinism are more evident in Carla Jean’s film portrayal than in the book. It is also possible the book’s author, McCarthy meant something different than the screenwriters did. The film also omitted Bell’s “confession” and one great cause of his regret. Again, to the betterment of the film.

    Carla Jean’s mother probably just died of the cancer from which she suffered. There’s no thought that the Mexicans killed her, too, as well as Llewellen. Presumably, Carla Jean had already buried her husband then later her mother died and Carla Jean then buried her. A period of weeks or even months might have taken place here. It was then that Death showed up to claim her, after she’d settled her affairs, so to speak. He advised her not to worry about the unpaid bills. Her refusal to call the coin was the self-deterministic free will mentioned earlier. And there’s no question Death took her then — checking his shoes eliminated any possibility of any other result.

    Another thing — please do not consider Death to be evil. Death is as much a part of life as its other facets and remember Orson (not Carson) Welles’s quote, “Without death, life would have no meaning.” It does make one wonder whether the screenwriters recalled this quote when assigning the name “Carson Wells” to the Harrelson character.

    I’m fascinated by Moss’s purchase of the coat at the bridge and Death’s purchase of the shirt from the bicycle boys. This was intentional and has meaning but I’ve not nailed it down.

    The scene where Chigurh shoots at the bird as he drives across the bridge puzzles me — was the bird a black bird (also symbolic of death) or another colored bird? Why shoot at it? I could use some help on this one as well as others, obviously.

    I just noticed another thing — Ellis, in the Blue version of the screenplay, is described as having “one clouded eye”. I also mentioned that Yeats’s classical Sailing to Byzantium offered the title of the book/movie. In the Coen brothers’ hillbilly tribute to Ulysses/Odysseus they utilized classical mythology — remember John Goodman’s portrayal of the Cyclops and the blind Homer figure on the handcar at the beginning? Is Ellis the Greek Sophoclean chorus? There’s no question that the screenwriters have used allusions effectively before, so why not now, too?

    Ellis says, “You can’t stop what’ comin’” and Llewellen, when asked by the girl at the motel, answers, “Lookin’ for what’s comin’”. Her answer to him is “Yeah, but no one ever sees that.” This is good thematic planting and I wish other moviemakers took the time and effort to produce quality work like this instead of offering us the drivel they do.

  129. Dave Hopkirk, 10 years ago Reply

    One disgruntlement — the media seems to want to sell the Chigurh character as a “deranged serial killer” and compare him to Hannibal Lector. Doing this announces to the world that those media personalities have NO idea what this movie was about!

  130. ron, 10 years ago Reply

    Here is a good possibility…..

    Bell drives into el passo and walks straight into a crime scene at which point the mexicans have slaughtered lewellen in cold blood and escaped in panic empty handed without the money…Broad Daylight Killing. Previously in the film lewellen used a technique to hide the briefcase in an airduct by pushing it to the back of the vent so as could be accesed from a room located directly behind the room it had been pushed in from. lewellen booked into two rooms in el passo just as before in the motel. It worked before so he decided to do it again. Anton was aware of this technique as he saw the scratches in the air duct when lewellen dodged him there and got away with the money. Lewellen was unaware that anton learned how he hid the money. Now bell when speaking to the sheriff in old el passo was told anton “the ghost” is known for returning to the crime scene. Bell decides to return to the old el passo hotel try and catch anton there. Finds the lock blown out and draws his gun and enters the crime scene room. Anton hears Bell enter the crime scene from the hotel room where he is able to aquire the briefcase(room directly behind the crime scene). Anton is aware that he has been into the room where the crime took place and undone the air duct which may lead bell to him, so hides in the wardrobe. Bell see’s the air duct open and thinks anton has been and gone has got the money and is too late. Anton just waits quietly there is no need to draw unneccesary attention to himself at this point he has completed his objective. The shot of the door with the light shining through the barrel of the lock mabey from the room anton is in? Bell accepts defeat on both counts that he could not protect lewellen and had no power or jurisdiction in this area and could do absolutley nothing in fact he should not even be there and was always too late to make a difference. Anton has the money and this is confirmed as he gives the kid $100 bill.

    Did Anton Kill the wife of Lewellen?

    Probably, he did give her 50/50 chance that is all that is left to interpretate. He would have had the definate motive of anominity, and went there to enjoy the kill for missing out on revenge with his run in with lewellen. This however had unforseen consequences for anton and after the car accident will probably rather die than get treatment in hospital, you cannot fix a wound like that by yourself. I think he disappeared to die somwhere and the money is now useless without his life.

    all 3 main characters failed through greed in some way shape or form.

  131. Angela, 10 years ago Reply

    I was frustrated with the ending of this movie. I had many unanswered questions like: Did “Sugar” get his money? Futhermore, I did not understand the analogy of the sheriff’s dream… was justiced served or does life just suck????

  132. Christie, 10 years ago Reply

    Just saw this movie tonight and I was DISAPPOINTED. Sorry, but I just don’t get into all the symbolism, etc. etc.

    It started off very intense, then at some point it went off into some very difficult to follow sequences. I do NOT understand what Woody Harrelson’s part was in this movie at all. He is supposedly hired to be this “expert”. He manages to find Llowelyn in the hospital in Mexico. Proceeds to explain how he found him. Then it shows him finding the bag of money.

    Next thing you know, he’s being blown away by the crazy guy. Didn’t quite get that? If he was such a professional at finding out all this stuff, how did he end up sitting in front of the guy getting blown away? AND, what difference did it make to the movie?

    After that, things went downhill for me. I think I would have been at least a bit happier if the ending had been that the evil guy died in that little car accident. Sort of a karma thing or whatever. But the actual ending left me shaking my head and going “that’s it?”

    Guess I like to be entertained more than I like to think about all the meaning behind the story. Just had to put my 2 cents worth in!

  133. Alex, 10 years ago Reply

    Having read the book a few times, the way this film ended was perfect. I think most important to the completion of the movie was not to have a happy hollywood ending, rather to leave a more realistic ending where we are left to face each day without an exact resolution. Thank you to the Coen Bros.

  134. James Joell, 10 years ago Reply

    Never has a film ended in such a fashion that made you feel like you were physically mugged of your cinema ticket money. No country for old men has been January’s film howler which has been nominated for over 19 awards, obviously by people with crack pipes. Seriously, Woodly Harroldson i would of expected better in you than to even agree to take part in such a dior attempt at a outback killer thriller. In fact, the only thing impressive about this film is the actual customised gas canistered shotgun, which i can only imagine must be painful beyond belief.

    To say this film has much of a plot other than one mans stumble upon millions of dollars ended up seeing him swim with the fishes. No country for old men sent ripples of disappointment across the cinema as the film finished in an abrupt halt with no explanation, the killer seemingly able to get away with killing well over 10 people in the film duration and plot plantations remained unanswered and not complete, what the heck was this movie! This is the worst movie I have seen at the cinema, somehow managing to make shitachingly poor Black Christmas seem like a reasonable effort. Do yourself a favour, steer clear of this shitpool of script mess by the coen brothers.

  135. Alice, 10 years ago Reply

    I read the book before I saw the film. Finished the book Friday, saw the film Sunday. Many of the questions that have been raised in this thread are clarified by reading the book. I didn’t see the ambiguities in the film as I so recently read the novel.
    One warning though.. and maybe it’s just me being pedantic.. the text doesn’t use quotation marks to distinguish between ‘thoughts’ and spoken language. I found this very hard to follow and had to re read some of the passages to try and decide which was which.
    I can’t say I liked the ending, however I was moved by it. If it had been a smarmy and moralistic outcome that most of us secretly craved, it would have lost all credibility and become just another movie. We all know that in reality the baddies don’t necessarily reap what they sow. The sociopathic Chigurh would have probably been incapable of the base emotion of empathy required to express remorse anyway. How do you call someone with no concept of compassion to account? Words are pretty meaningless without the feeling behind them, his apprehension would ndoubtably been an empty victory on moral grounds. Whatever his fate in his imaginary world may be, it would be frustrating for those of us wanting him to recognise the impact of his actions on those he despatched.

    I bet he tortured animals as a kid ;)

  136. Jen, 10 years ago Reply

    Rethink the flick – “Call it, friendo”.
    Every decision we make in life is accompanied by the illusion that we can know the outcome. What if life is chaos(Anton), death is not cloaked in any meaning(Bell – esp his ideals and dreams), and we fling ourselves endlessly about with our attachments($2 million of them)?

  137. Nick, 10 years ago Reply

    i just watched it last night and thought it was a great film but at the same time realised it’s the kind of film you have to see more than once to fullly grasp it. Let’s face it,if somebody is gonna go to all the trouble of making such a deep film there’s bound to be lots to it and you’d have to be some kind of genius to take it all in first go. Reading the comments here though have helped clarify a few things. By my reckoning the film is in a way pretty bleak;the world is the way it is and there’s not a whole lot you can do about it at times. But at the same time it’s positive as if you realise this you can try to make the best of it. The coin-flipping shows this,life is a coin flip;some people get on a bus that crashes and die,others walk and live to tell another tale. That’s just the way the universe is set up,the film is very atheistic,there is no masterplan and you just have to accept it. A lot of the sheriff’s scenes involve him talking about fate and how things can’t be easily predicted,often things just don’t make any sense and it’s no good trying to. At the end the sheriff has basically just come to realise that and good for him;he made the right the choice because if he’d pursued Anton he’d more than likely end up dead,quitting his job was kind of like his coin-flip. A lot of Americans won’t like the film’s message because there’s no place for God. A lot of the characters who were slaughtered by Anton at his whim,the flip of a coin were probably God-fearing,law-abiding,good people but at the end of the day that counted for nothing. There are many other themes that you could pick up on but for me it all boiled down to a man,the sheriff,struggling to come to terms with the world around him,of which he had no control.

  138. TC, 10 years ago Reply

    Great discussion,

    I just watched the movie and I’m not entirely convinced that Moss is dead. Is there any hard proof for this?

    We see the Mom’s burial but not Moss’s. We see the mom (i think) in the morgue but not Moss. I know the Sherriffs talk about “not being able to help that boy” but there was something in Bell’s language that indicated to me that he hid Moss and acted like he was dead…the other Sherriff/authorities wouldn’t have known Moss from one of the Drug guys. Remember that Bell was the first on the scene at the motel and could have covered things up if he wanted to. Please help me on this.

    Great movie….

  139. Nick, 10 years ago Reply

    Regarding hard evidence for Moss’s death,seeing him on the floor dead in the motel with gunshot wounds to his upper chest kinda did it for me. Sorry to be a bit sarcastic but that was one of the clearest parts of the film.

  140. Norm S., 10 years ago Reply

    - James Joell –
    I don’t agree with your comments at all, but reponses like yours are the reason this post was initially kicked off in late November. I’d been to a theater and heard others’ disappointment, and my colleagues found the same at some screenings.

    I couldn’t disagree more with your take on the narrative and conclusion, but that disagreement is all a part of this conversation.

    Thanks for joining in.

    – Nick –
    Thanks for the dry humor. This thread gets kind of serious sometimes, and we can use it!

    -Norm S. (Meet In the Lobby)

  141. robert butzbach, 10 years ago Reply

    i believe that Chigurh is in the room with bell and that he in fact kills bell. Then, in the afterlife bell meets his father who has been waiting for him., as was forshadowed by moss’s statement that he would tell his mother that he loved her if he did not make it back. Finall, in his recollection of his dream bell is found by God, symbolized by a mysterious rider who has gone before to light a fire in a cold and dark place.

  142. Baddo, 10 years ago Reply

    Real quick – the idea for the young version of Boden was he showed instead of his father and the Coen Brothers said what the hey. Fear of the unknown is the premise and it’s what fosters in the old – hence they seek religion, but in Jones’ case – God didn’t find him and he sought the devil instead.

  143. Jonesey, 10 years ago Reply

    Thank God for this website tying up the loose ends as I was another punter thinking I’d been mugged of my ticket money with the negative ending.

    Anyhow I think the significance of Llewellyn buying the jacket and Anton buying the shirt shows which character is in control of the money at each stage of the movie. Although Anton hobbles off down the street not being able to carry the case at the end I guess he has the money (or have the Mexican’s managed to get it back?). Similarly when a busted up Llewellyn awakes on the Mexican sidewalk he gives money to the random Mexican band and later buys some clothes.

  144. brian hemstreet, 10 years ago Reply

    Big McCarthy fan here. I loved the movie, was not crazy about the ending–I hadn’t yet read this book, but wiil be running out soon to get it. McCarthy always takes his readers to the outter fringes of society, the part that that mainstream movies never deal with, and the meastream media and politicians want to ignore. I recommed “Child of God.” I hope someone makes that into a film. Maybe I will. Who wants to fund it?

  145. Mergim, 10 years ago Reply

    The ending is in reference to Cormac McCarthy’s other novel The Road which soon ill be reading. Ive read No Country For Old Men and the end of Jones speech is a way of interpretation of the two dreams.

    The 1st dream he loses the money his father gives him or he has to send it to him.

    But the 2nd is most important its about holding close to your family values his father in the dream. The Sherriff pondered god the world But you cant always look and find god its not always your first option and in his line of work a sheriff whose sees so much He question s what did i live for ? Nothing s changed with the law people like Chigurgh are out their and he cant stop it.

  146. Dave Hopkirk, 10 years ago Reply

    This story is an ALLEGORY! To see it otherwise is to recognize only one level of meaning.

    The title is from the first line of Sailing to Byzantium by William Butler Yeats, a classically trained poet and considered by many to be the greatest the 20th Century produced. This should signal author McCarthy and the Coen brothers may be up to more than just the surface story of a drug deal gone awry.

    Who is Anton Chigurh? He is Death. His hair style (hood-ish, shroud-ish) and black clothing suggest Death. As we know from the universe in which we live, Death takes the innocent as well as the guilty and has its own set of rules. When the witness to the high-rise killing asks, “Are you going to kill me?” Chigurh answers, “It depends. Do you see me?” When the kids on the bicycles help Chigurh after the car accident he tells them, “You didn’t see me.” You don’t die unless you see Death. No one in the film dies at Death’s hands without seeing Death. Sometimes you don’t die even if you do. His rules are his rules. Chigurh walking away from the accident at the end shows that Death cannot be stopped. It will always exist and is a part of our existence.

    Carson Wells compares Anton Chigurh to the Bubonic plague. The plague was vectored by rats upon which resided contaminated fleas. One small flea-like parasite is called a “chigger”. Yes, like “Chigurh”. Probably no coincidence. Death is not evil, however. It is as much a part of life as any of life’s other qualities and remember Orson (not Carson) Welles’s quote, “Without death, life would have no meaning.” It does make one wonder whether McCarthy recalled this quote when assigning the name “Carson Wells”.

    Death kills with a cattle stun gun like a member of the clergy administering a cross to the forehead of a parishioner. In Western culture, Death often is portrayed as a hooded figure dressed in black with a scythe. In this case he’s a hooded figure,due to his haircut, with a cattle stun gun and black clothing.

    Man is Llewellen Moss: part sinner, part saint. Offered a deal by Death (“This is the best deal you’re gonna get”), Llewellen instead challenges Death and by doing so signs his wife’s death warrant.

    When Carla Jean tells the Sheriff, “He won’t quit, neither. Never has.” the audience expects a later showdown because we’ve been trained to see the protagonist take on the antagonist at the climax of a story in a High Noon ending. Before that can happen, however, life’s randomness gets in the way — the Mexicans kill him. This is the first major turn in the movie and the one which takes the sail out of the audience, which has been led to expect the showdown later and is now deprived of it. The audience is now adrift and probably is hoping Sheriff Bell will take vengeance. The audience is in for more surprises.

    Free Will is Carla Jean. She chooses self-determinism and refuses to allow Death to be random. She has a chance to save herself but chooses not to call the coin toss. She is the bravest of the lot by choosing to die by her own decision.

    The scene with the Sheriff and Death at the same hotel room at the same time is vital — the Sheriff does not see Death and thus lives. This scene solidifies the allegory. The Sheriff enters the room but does not see Death and so does not die. This is the “supernatural” scene which signals we’re watching an allegory, something more than it appears.

    Death then claimed Carla Jean. Her refusal to call the coin is self-deterministic free will. There’s no question Death took her then — checking his shoes upon leaving her home eliminated the possibility of any other result.

    We misinterpret the protagonist at first. This is excellent misdirection. The High Noon showdown never occurs. That which does is off-screen! Some have criticized that after Moss’s death the story is anti-climactic. Viewed with Moss as the protagonist it would be. But Moss isn’t the protagonist. Sheriff Bell is. It is Sheriff Bell’s story — he is the philosopher attempting to understand the universe. At the end the Sheriff bemoans the fact God never entered his life. The irony is that God had. God had visited a plague upon Sheriff Bell’s land in 1980 like the Great Death of 1348.

    No filmmakers chose a time 30 years ago to film a story unless it’s relevant to the story. 1980 was chosen for good reason. Perhaps the Ellis scene near the end is a clue — he says “it’s coming”. By now it may be here.

    Ellis is described in the screenplay as having “one clouded eye”. The Coen brothers’ tribute to Ulysses/Odysseus utilized classical mythology — remember Goodman’s portrayal of the Cyclops and the Homeric figure on the handcar at the beginning? Is Ellis the Sophoclean chorus? Ellis says, “You can’t stop what’s comin'” and Llewellen, asked by the girl at the motel, answers, “Lookin’ for what’s comin'”. Her answer to him is “Yeah, but no one ever sees that.” Excellent thematic planting.

    Ponder this parallel — Moss buys a coat from some boys as he crosses the border; Chigurh buys a shirt from some other boys after the car accident. Think about it.

    Enjoy this excellent film again!

  147. Anthony, 10 years ago Reply

    The End: Tlj’s dad gave him money but he lost it, hence the two people in his town under his protection were killed and the cop in the beginning, the 2nd dream his dad went on with his head DOWN meaning his dad was dissapointed in him for just standing by and watching all this go on around him and since he is on the mountain alone he will have to climb up his way in the dark and cold alone until he forgives himself for not doing more.
    Chugar: the whole thing about if the rule you always followed lead you to your demise of what use was the rule thing bit him in the ass, He went for Miss moss and after killing her because she was afraid of death much like woody harrilson(‘you don’t have to do this’ ‘people always say that…’) got into that car wreck, he walked off with what Tlj had to live with, almost getting what they wanted but fell a little too short, much like Moss who almost met up with his wife with the money, the sheriff who almost had chugar locked up, Woody harrilson who almost had the two million, and the dead mexican at the tree who almost ran off with the money but didn’t ultimately make it all the way. Everyone who was harmed(besides the sheriff in the beginning) had something to do with the money, besides TLJ so maybe thats why Chugar didn’t kill him in the Motel room, he knew that the old man had no interest in the money or for that matter in general. AWESOME THOUGHT: The money was like the Bubonic plauge it affected everyone it came in contact with!

  148. chrixgan, 10 years ago Reply

    No Country for Old Men is actually a simple movie especially the beginning and the middle parts of the movie – there’s not much of a plot – baddest guy chasing after the not-so-bad guy, while the good guys are left chasing shadows – except until the ending makes an ass of the whole movie and tries to muddle up an otherwise simpleton movie. If this movie is attempting the artsy, mysterious or thought provoking type shit ending, it is definitely not in the same league / class as 2001: Space Oddyssey’s or Apocalypse Now’s ending.

  149. Mike, 10 years ago Reply

    Good stuff here. I thought I had at first viewing though maybe not. Here goes; Tommy Lee Jones character realized his father moved ahead and was waiting for him, for his death was coming. The “Killer” in the movie understands this from the beginning. Death is coming. If one accepts the inevitable regular events and life become meaningless. Anxiety is defined as the realization you knowingly exist. The Killer is calm and calculating… dead already to a degree. Tommy Lee Jones accepts death is coming and all of his experience are summed up to nothing… hence “No Country for Old Men” or once you accept death life is pointless.

  150. Anne Corio, 10 years ago Reply

    The draw for me to sit in my seat was the west Texas late 70’s scene-the cars and trucks, the desert, the gritty cowboys (I loved their use of common everyday items to unscrew, patch-up, conceal, heal and what not). I guess i need to read the book…or watch it again w/one of you yeh-sayers. That would be fun. I look forward to seeing how the film does w/the Academy.

  151. Matty Bede, 10 years ago Reply

    The major theme is GREED and its consequences (“there are no clean getaways”) and fighting with our conscience. It is NOT about death finding us. This is the point of the movie – move away from obsessing about death and instead look at the real root of all evil: GREED. Are you greedy? Do you fight with greed (Anton) in your mind?

    Read the reasons below, rewatch the movie and everything will become clear!!! This is the one and only explanation of the movie.

    There are two layers to this movie, the real part and the sub-conscious part:

    Real Layer/Story: Moss finds some money beside dead Mexican drug dealers. He goes back to bring a dying Mexican some water but other Mexicans spot him (see his face/car) but lose him. However, they now know who he is via his rego plates – they go to his trailer park but he is not there so they track his wife around via the phone number of her mother (there is no tracking device (see below)). They find out where he is staying via his mother in law (helping her with her bags). When they do eventually find him they kill him in the hotel but do not find the money. Bell finds the money at the crime scene by checking the vents but he turns it in to the authorities (not shown but implied – see below). Carla Moss kills herself in grief after her husband’s funeral. Bell retires because he cannot make sense of all the greed and evil in the world (a good man like Moss dies because of it), he cannot seem to stop it (“There are no laws left”). In the dream he and his father try to bring ‘light to the darkness’ but in the end he ‘wakes up’ to reality.

    Conscience Layer (see below for more explanation): Moss does not meet Anton for awhile into the movie. He initially has a cleanish conscience (i.e. going back to give the dying Mexican water). When Moss decides to run from the Mexicans instead of just leaving the money in his trailer for them to find and leave him alone, Anton (greed) focuses his attention on Moss and begins tracking him. There is no tracking device. The tracking device in Anton’s possession symbolizes Anton (greed) getting closer and closer from Moss’ sub-conscience to Moss’ conscience. Moss begins to understand that his wife will be in danger , he sees/realizes Anton/his greed, finding the phone list (which is actually the Mexicans finding the list in reality). He then discovers the tracking device at which point he meets Anton (greed) in his conscience. The next scenes are him fighting with greed in his conscience. He wounds greed (Anton) but does not kill him. Since greed is wounded you then see him talking to Carson Wells (his reasoning conscience) who says he might be able to help him and his wife if he just hands over the money (give up his greed). The hotel room across the street is Moss’ mind. There Anton (greed) kills Wells (his reasoning conscience). We then see Moss having a direct argument with his greed (Anton) and Anton says that it is Moss’ fault that his wife will now die – it was his choice (in his sub-conscious he thinks that the Mexicans will find her). Moss is then killed by the Mexicans but they do not find the money. Bell is not possessed by greed (you see him mirrored by Anton(greed) in the tv). Bell goes into the hotel room where greed (Anton) is potentially ‘waiting’ as the $2 million has not been found. He goes in there and sees the vent, he knows there is $2 million in there but he knows he won’t take it (the heads on the coin symbolizes he made the right choice) so he does not see greed (Anton) – presumably he turns the money in. Carla kills herself (meeting Anton (death/greed) was her husband’s fault). With his work done Anton finds some new ‘victims’ for greed when spots the kids on the bikes. He is wounded by the car crash so greed is wounded but then as he heals himself they begin fighting over the $100 bill (which in reality they probably found on the street – the cycle of greed begins again). Bell retires because he cannot make sense of the greed and death (we know he does not know greed), him and his father tried to shed light in the evil of the world but he ‘wakes up’ to reality that it will always be there (You can’t stop what’s coming).

    Who is Anton?:
    Anton is greed conscience. He is a ghost. He is not real. “Can you see me?” We have a choice to succome to greed (coin toss). He wears black/dark clothes.
    Movie Poster Titles:
    “You can’t stop what’s coming” (Anton). He survives the car accident and bullets but you can wound/slow him down.
    “There are no laws left” (greed/Anton can’t be controlled by laws/by Bell it is up to the person).
    “There are no clean Getaways” (greed/Anton eventually wins – greed has dire consequences)

    Who is Carson Wells and what is the Business Office?
    Carson Wells is the good/reasoning conscience of Moss. The meeting in the office is the reasoning part of Moss’ mind (the high rise office symbolizes his mind – the top of the building). The man behind the desk is Moss’ sub-conscience saying that he wants his good conscience (Wells) to stop his bad conscience (Anton). Wells (good conscience) names a date, 28th November last year, when he last met Anton (bad conscience) – possibly this was a time that Moss had conflict in his conscious before. Wells says he knows Anton “every which way”.
    Moss talks to Carla on the phone and could end everything but instead insists on keeping the money. He says he has to find ‘him’ and she says “Find who?” She asks about the safety of her mother and Moss says she’ll be alright (he knows the Mexicans will find his Mother in Law). At this point Anton (greed) bursts into the office (Moss’ mind) and kills Moss’ reasoning part of his mind. The other character, accounting, is just another part of Moss’ mind probably accounting for his money. Moss knows in his mind that the Mexicans will find his wife (says the Mexicans were given a tracking device).

    And there are many many more parts in the movie that support all this. Now watch the movie again and you’ll be going “Of course!” “Oh, that line makes sense!”

  152. Greg, 10 years ago Reply


    I’m betting that this film sweeps the Academy awards.


    You’re insane. Dave Hopkirk has it mostly right. Read his comment above yours.


  153. Matty Bede, 10 years ago Reply

    Hi Greg,

    Initially I was thinking along the same lines as everyone else (i.e. Dave H) whereby Anton represents DEATH. This is sort of the obvious answer but it does not explain every situation, whereas Anton representing GREED, does. He is not real – he is in our minds.

    Greg, you argued above that McCarthy is trying to make Americans ‘see’ the evil. From most of the comments above I think it is safe to say that most people in the world are very familiar with death and evil and do not need to be reminded by a book/movie, it is pretty obvious it exists and people will always quickly blame the worlds problems and what they don’t understand on death and evil (as they have in debate about this movie).
    This movie is a wake-up call to Americans to start looking at the root of all this evil and death – it is GREED for money (drug dealers, oil, diamonds).
    The sheriff and the man in the petrol station both just want to live simple lives. The do not succome to greed.
    In the end the sheriff realises there is so much Greed in the world. There are no laws to stop greed, thus the sheriff can do nothing. Only the person who has succomed to Greed can fight it (Moss’ fight with Anton).

    McCarthy wants you to look past death America, and see that the cause of much of the suffering in the world is Greed. Ask yourself, “Am I greedy?”, have that sub-coscious fight in you head right now. You will come up with excuses that you aren’t (Anton winning the fight) but deep in your sub-conscious you can hear a voice saying you might be (Wells talking to Moss).

    Will you win the fight against Anton Chigurh America?

  154. Greg, 10 years ago Reply


    Wait, wait, I’m seeing it now! It’s all so clear! Except, except, it’s not that Anton represents GREED!!! No, no, it’s that he represents a HATRED FOR COWBOY HATS!!! That’s it! Everybody dies that wears a cowboy hat!! If they wear a COWBOY HAT in front of Chigurh, THEY DIE!
    Think about it! The only person who encounters Chigurh, and lives, is the Sherriff, and he HAS HIS HAT OFF WHEN HE’S IN THE ROOM WITH CHIGURH!!!!

    So, America, will you win the fight against hats?

  155. Milston, 10 years ago Reply

    i loved the movie but the only thing i didnt like is the mian guy getting shot near the end. like it was so unexpected and we didnt even see the shooting. i thought that was diapointing seeing as he played such a big part

    wat do u guys think?

  156. Matty, 10 years ago Reply


    Apart from that last comment being ultra hilarious – it actually makes a lot more sense than your previous comments. In fact, it seems like you are getting smarter each time you post a comment. Keep posting buddy! I can’t wait to see what you write next! No really, I mean it, everyone is waiting to see what incredible insight you come up with next. There’s a little tick box below this comment box that says ‘Notify me of follow up comments made by Greg via e-mail’. We all can’t wait Greg, come on, write something funny and insightful!

  157. Ed, 10 years ago Reply

    Just saw the movie tonight. Loved it and after the initial shock love the ending which is so opposite of what one has come to expect from Hollywood. It is going to be pretty hard for Anton to patch up that compound fracture by himself no? I think the way his part in the movie ended signals that he, like Ed, is nearing the end of his time: if not immediately then soon. Ed does not have the money, Anton does. There is no way a character like Ed’s would have kept it. The thing that makes evil truly frightening is that those perpetrating evil fervently believe that what they are doing is right. Suicide bombers, Hitler, Stalin and Anton, the list is endless. Evil does not know it is evil, that is why it is so banal and why it rears its ugly head everywhere you look. By the way to comment a bit on an earlier post, it is not Islam that is evil, it is extremist Islam. Big difference.
    Just for the record there was an audibe gasp in the treatre when the movie faded to black with several out loud “WTF” and “what the hell?’ comments as well. I want to see the movie again to pick up what I missed the first time. I really want to know if Anton was in the room, clearly, from the views expressed in this forum, that remains up in the air.

  158. Greg, 10 years ago Reply

    Great observations; people yelled in my theatre too…I have a suggestion, though. Go read the book by Cormac McCarthy before you see it again, if you have the time…you’ll get even more out of the second viewing after you’ve read the book, and having read the book will not detract from the movie at all…just my experience.
    This is by far my pick for Picture of the Year.

  159. Malcolm Lambe, 10 years ago Reply

    I had read the book some time ago so I had some idea of the ending but I was still disappointed. The way I look at it is, you could cut the scene with the ex-deputy in the wheelchair AND the scene where the Sherrif is talking at the end and it wouldn’t make any difference to the film. I think it would have been better if it ended with the villain limping down the street.

  160. Ed, 10 years ago Reply

    I think I will do just that. I have always found that the books which movies are based on provide insight into characters and events which the movie can not due to time constraints. As for the ending, among other things, it deals with the inevitable transition into obscurity and irrelivance that we all must face as we age. Crap, now I’m really depressed!

  161. carter, 10 years ago Reply

    saw the movie tonight and loved it. detail was applied to everything on screen. i want to answer some things before my own conclussions are displayed. the girl in the pool was the beer girl. and carla”S mom was getting out of the taxi when carla is reading TLJ”S face. brolin deffinitely had the at the desert sands hotel. the only thing i thought was wierd or maybe my hearing is wrong. toward the end when TLJ was meeting with the cop at the diner. when the cop said good night he to TLJ as anton. i think this may have a couple of more times earlier in the movie as well, but that one really stuck out in my mind. this leads me to believe that whole secnario was dream by TLJ. you could still draw all the same conclusions with anton being a personal demon and everything else included. may be his convo with ellis at the end after he wakes up helps validates his feelings about growing older. i love the main character dying not enough of that in american cinema. imagine if bruc willis died in die hard or even rambo. i love all the other thoughts on this film and i hope i did not over simplify my opinion.

  162. Tom Heinz, 10 years ago Reply

    I keep reading these comments and somehow feel people are either missing the (complicated) points or over-analyzing. First, everyone needs to see the movie twice: you’ll pick up so much more.
    Llewellyn Moss is not a good guy. We like him and want him to defeat Shugurh, but Moss screwed up when, instead of reporting what he saw to the authorities, tracks down the money and takes it. He pays the ulitmate price.
    Sheriff Bell basically gives up. Oh no! We don’t like our heroes to do that. But you know what? He’s too damned tired to continue what he sees is an increasingly frightening world, and since God didn’t come into his life, he can’t see the light at the end of the tunnel.
    And Shugurh…yes, he’s the symbol of Death, but he could also be the symbol of God, the vengful God of the Old Testament. When a five-year-old rides his trike into the street and gets killed by a car, people say “How could God let something like that happen?” Shugurh isn’t evil; if he were evil, he’d be torturing his victims if the opportunity presented itself. He’s simply doinig what will happen eventually.
    I think one of the key concepts in the movie is when Bell and the other sheriff are having coffee in the restauarant, lamenting the state of young people, talking about purple hair, body piercings, etc. And Bell says, “I think it starts when they don’t say ma’am and sir.” But the setting is 1980. Twenty-eight years later, kids with purple hair, body piercings and tattoos are saying “Sir” and “Ma’am.” They just look weird.
    This is juxtaposed against Bell’s conversation with his uncle (in the wheelchair) when his uncle tells him about an incident in the early 1900’s: a sheriff is gunned down on his front porch in front of his wife by a group of bad guys..
    Bell retires because he doesn’t want (or can’t?) deal with it anymore, but the fact is, it never changes, it just takes a different form.

  163. Vince, 10 years ago Reply

    Like most people that have taken the time to comment on this movie, I too enjoyed it. That said, I’d wager that a whole lot more feel the movie was so bad it’s not worth spending time discussing it further.

    I personally didn’t find this movie to have nearly as much depth as it is being given credit for. In fact, I tend to agree with many of the nay-sayers here. Could it be that it’s only because No Country isn’t your typical Hollywood slop that so many people find it fascinating? The fact that there is sooooo much left unfinished seems to stimulate our imaginations. As I said, I enjoyed the movie but it seems to be just another movie with lots of carnage…and a different slant. If the Coen brothers weren’t already celebrated directors I doubt there would be any hype surrounding the film at all…except from those crying foul!

    It seems that the Coens set out to make a film that mixes the grittiness of great westerns from a by-gone era with the typical modern day “drug & money deal gone wrong” scenario. They chose an era…somewhere in the middle, between then and now…and simply missed their goal. Really sticking my neck out now, I’ll even go so far as to say it seems as if “movie-producing pressures” (perhaps time and money) became an issue for this film. Could it be that those types of pressures combined to force the Coens to launch a movie that was hastily edited and in the end they simply did their best to salvage the thing. Perhaps the movie wasn’t originally scripted to leave so many loose ends? Maybe…just maybe this film was a valiant attempt to try something new in Hollywood but simply turned out to be a mediocre film with slightly more substance than some of Tarantino’s work of the same genre. Imagine if the reason No Country is getting so much recognition is simply because moviegoers are tired of seeing
    the same old thing all the time. Leaving questions unanswered makes people think. What a novel concept! By not spelling it out at an infants level, many have found this movie to be ingenius!

    All in all, I tend to agree with those who think there is a significant amount of over-analyzing going on here. It seems I’m guilty of it too….

  164. FRIENDO, 10 years ago Reply

    I feel that when Tom Bell is at the Hotel crime scene looking through the whole in the door lock he actually sees the reflection of Anton’s gun. Being of strong character, Tom Bell faces his fears and enters the room. I fell that Anton is behind the door when it opens. The reason Anton is still in the room is because he has not found the money. If he had the door would have bounced off of the square case. After Tom Bell enters the bathroom and notices that the window is locked, he realizes that the money is probably just outside that window. That is when he gets scared. He realizes that Anton had not checked the bathroom before Tom pulled up in his car. After Tom leaves, Anton finds the money outside of the window. That is my take. I did not read all of the bloggs, so I apologise if someone else has this theory. I think this movie was on point.

  165. Anthony, 10 years ago Reply

    Hey, Anton is in the other room, If you go back and look extremely close when Tom Bell drives up the other lock is blown out, my dad(a cop ironically enough) caught this and if you notice when they cut to the second time of the lock Tom Bell’s reflection is on the left side of the lock meaning Anton is behind the door but in the other room. If you don’t believe me watch it again and just trust me lol there is no arguement for it Anton is behind the door just in the other room. The only thing I don’t get is why he is in the other room. But the other lock is blown out! lol

  166. Fran, 10 years ago Reply

    Okay, the cohen brothers have withheld a scene from the movie. Anton is in the room with Tommy Lee Jones. The directors choose not to show you the rest of the scene. Anton confronts the sheriff and offers him the same deal as the others in the movie: a coin toss. He wins the coin toss but immediately retires because he has faced death and seen pure evil. That is why he visits his uncle and why he dreams of seeing his father. He thought he was going to join him but alas, he survives. His father tells him he’ll be waiting for him when it is his time. The Cohen brothers are genius for leaving this scene out. It makes the viewer think.

    Also, Tommy Lee is the only character who deals with Anton and survives. The gas station attendant doesn’t count because he is unaware of what has happened to him. Tommy Lee is our only living example of what happens to a person who comes that close to the devil.

    Oh, and Anton does get the money. He was in the process of taking it out of the vent when he was interrupted. Presumably he takes it before he leaves.

  167. Daniel, 10 years ago Reply

    Great movie, i loved it! But it has no ending, i was very disappointed! the movie just stops,

  168. Peach Monster, 10 years ago Reply

    Fran: Where did you hear about this deleted scene?

    Daniel: What a great ending. It could not have ended any better.

    My favorite device is how both Sheriff and Anton stare at their reflections in the television set. It makes sense of the later scene when they look at each other’s reflection in the lock cylinder. Sheriff comes in the room and the door slams against the wall. The door can’t hit the wall if Anton is behind it so Anton is not there. The dime and screws are on the ground suggesting that Anton has come and gone, I think, and that sheriff imagined death hiding behind the door, thus his hesitation when entering. He was afraid of confronting death just as he was when staring at the same reflection Anton saw in the television set. The reflected silhouette perhaps represents mortality. It was, after all, a deathly shade of green and black.

    Question: What the hell does Anton say to Woody before killing him and what is the point? I think he says, “Of what is was the rule?” Im really not sure what this is supposed to mean. Please help.

    And, in case you didn’t know, Anton is death. He says to the accountant, “That depends. Do you see me?” then presumaby kills him. He says to the kids at the end, “You didn’t see me.” With surprise, Woody’s character says to Moss something like, “You’ve seen him and you’re still alive.” Moss’s virtuosity—his fight against death, surviving in Nam twice, his bringing water to the dying Mexican—makes him, for a while, impervious to death. In a way, we are all supposed to be like Moss: hunting, providing for our families, trying to survive and trying to make sure others survive, getting distracted by a nice piece of ass every now and then. Even good people make terrible mistakes. Sorry, but I repeat myself about this later.

    This film means many things for many people which, in part, makes it a true work of art. After the film I told my Dad it’s a commentary on the degradation of society via capitalism (maybe many films are about this). He said I was reading too far into it.

    Remember the chicken crates? Anton behaves like corporation—his actions are purely utilitarian, devoid of emotion, and he methodically obtains his bottom line. “You pick the one right tool,” he said. He embodies the same cold, mechanical nature shared by most corporations. When people complain about corporations taking jobs overseas to minimize labor costs they more or less say, “People always say the same thing,” and go on doing what they do best, killing in the name of benign commerce, doing what they do best. Anton is death and the thing he does best is kill people, so he does.

    Think back to most of the old-timers in the film: Most were helpful, caring, endearing, honest–what you might expect from old-timers. None would ever take 500 bucks for a jacket nor would they ask to first see the money as did the kids near the border. This is the dismal tide: losing our youth to greed, sex, drugs. Moss is no exception. He is talking to his wife on the phone when a pretty girl walks by and he gives her a subtle look over his shoulder. Also, Moss flirts with the girl at the pool and is killed in the next scene to perhaps illustrate the danger of infidelity and the consequence of letting down one’s guard. His wife should have been enough for him—think blade runner.

    The next generation seems better adapted to an increasingly complex world of opportunists and cutthroats. They are more confrontational and less trusting. Moss is not your average dumb cowboy. The Mexicans who take the mother’s bags are shrewd. Everyone schemes on everyone. And opportunists are not very interested in helping his or her neighbor. Perhaps this is what needs to change.

    The kid at the end said he could give him his shirt. Greed had not yet consumed him, but his friend wanted half of his money.

    Thanks guys for letting me rant. This is easily my favorite movie of all time.

  169. Nick, 10 years ago Reply

    Peach Monster – Anton says “If the rule that you followed brought you to this,of what use was the rule?”

    That is a great scene. I take Anton’s words to mean something about fate. The film’s motto
    ‘You can’t stop what’s coming’ sums it up. People may think you can devise a way to get what you want,protect yourself,keep your bases covered,etc but in reality it just doesn’t work like that. Anton is goading Carson for his foolishness in thinking that he can predict all outcomes and take care of himself. ‘The best laid plans….

  170. RAS, 10 years ago Reply


    I commend you on a great site and excellent film discourse. I’m so glad I found this today after finally seeing ‘No Country’.

    No one seems to have mentioned the extremely white complexion on Anton. This was a clue as I watched it that he was Death/ A Ghost. So Dave I’m with you on most points, particularly how Carla seemed to be a conscious decision to not let Death presume to randomly or by chance control her demise.

    I’ve got to admit that Matty’s greed thing has me thinking.

    I was pretty certain that all of the answers are shown/stated clearly by the Coens and it will take multiple viewings to get it all.

    Without a doubt, no film has left me thinking so much since Mulhulland Drive. I’m grateful that this country can still turn out artists of the caliber of Cormac McCarthy and the Coens. Tommy Lee has been unsung due to the attention Javier has rightfully gotten, but tommy is the heart and soul of the film and does his usual wonderful job.

    Thanks to those who read the book and enlightened many of us to what McCarthy may have been going for. I will seek out The Road and other works now for sure.

    Of course the real answer is, there is no answer. A good work of literature (and film) leaves it to us to bring our own experience. I left the theater feeling Anton left Bell alive because he was a good man, as someone else said. By Anton’s own principles Tommy Lee was of no consequence. But it’s fun to ruminate and discuss.

  171. jonny, 10 years ago Reply

    i saw this film last night and was left wanting more but after reading different thoerys its all making sense thanks guys for making a great film historic

  172. Scotty, 10 years ago Reply

    There’s a worthwhile (and rare) interview by David Kushner with No Country’s author, Cormac McCarthy, in the late Dec 2007 Rolling Stone (“Cormac McCarthy’s Apocalypse”), with McCarthy casually discussing his work and where he thinks the human race is heading (an eventual blip on the Earth’s timeline) while hanging out with some young scientists and researchers at a MENSA-level San Antonio think tank.

    Kushner notes that the author has been criticized for the often horrific subject matter in his novels, but McCarthy says he’s merely trying to send a wake-up call to those instigating their own demise, as “his money is on humans destroying each other before an environmental catastrophe sets in.”

    The 74-year old McCarthy is also reported as working simultaneously on five novels with themes related to the quote above (No Country happened to be completed first); his 2006 novel, The Road, more explicitly concerns a father and son who wander an unexplained post-apocalypse America.

    Though McCormac seems disinterested in being viewed as a “guy’s writer” (in the macho Hemingway/Mailer sense), as a novel, No Country features zero sex, romance, or strong-minded female characters and its dialogue has been drained of virtually all spirituality or sentiment, much resembling its central figure, Anton Chigurh (ant-on-sugar).

    In adapting book to screen, the Coens have remained remarkably faithful to McCarthy’s vision and tone, trimming a few of the book’s scenes they likely felt were extraneous, such as Moss’ late-story ride and dialogue with a hitchhiking girl (reduced to the girl seen shot in the pool near film’s end). And details like Bell lifting the coroner’s sheet at the final hotel to observe Moss’ shotgunned face. Some other trims (spoiler alert!), re: the end of Carla Jean: “Then he (Anton) shot her.” Re: what happens to the money – Anton returns it to an unnamed source, with the expectation for future business.

    Curiously, one of the most discussed scenes in this blog, where Sherriff Bell returns at night to the hotel where Moss was killed and the ambiguous presence of Chigurh is seen in one of the dark rooms (I won’t even argue which room), does not exist in the book, where Anton silently watches Bell’s arrival and departure from his truck in the hotel parking lot.

    Given that the majority of these blog comments are split between “why wreck a perfectly good thriller with that talky ending” and clarifying the Symbolic Significance of It All (surely Anton = Death, Moss = Mankind, Carla Jean = Innocence, The Gas Station Guy = Good Luck? And how about the fellow with the truck full of chickens?), McCarthy and the Coens have at least succeeded in getting folks thinking – or at least blogging – about What It All Means, even if there’s no conclusive right or wrong answers available from the source(s). (Though the Coens are well-known to be established pawns of the Kabbalah, with triangles in all their films..)

    Faced with an ever-reducing number of people who read novels, McCarthy was probably wise to structure No Country as a ready-for-screenplay story, just to get some discussion going, even though he increases the risk of having folks misinterpret (or just plain miss) his supposed “wake-up call” by leaving the ending so ambiguous, open-ended and/or unresolved.

    I’d be curious how many people (alright, guys – this is hardly a date flick) went to see No Country based on the premise of a psychopath-with-cattle-stun-gun-on-the-loose vs. how many just like the Coens’ twisted movies. While it’s hardly in the Saw/Hostel category of gratuitous violence (surprisingly restrained/brief in visual gore, with the stun gun used more as a door opener than weapon), it’s likely to have drawn in the Tarantino crowd who enjoy wit-mixed-with-unusual-ways-of-killing-people school of film – Anton’s deadpan intelligence, style-free haircut and self-structred “principles” make him a deliberately intriguing anti-hero for our times. (You can eventually skip that talky ending on DVD.)

    Kudos also due for the uncanny casting, quietly removing issues such as race or education from the conventional serial killer motivation (consider how impossibly different the film would have been with, say, Wesley Snipes as Anton, Bruce Willis as Moss, and Sean Connery as Bell…). Bardem’s unblinking intelligence and unplaceable accent (Western Europe? Latin America? Hades?) grounds the picture throughout, Jones and Brolin bookend him superbly.

    Whether the Coens’ decision to maintain their usual emotionally detached distance from characters (dispatching Moss in that blink-and-you’d-miss it mid-distance shot, no decisive wrap-ups on Carla and Anton, Bell’s dry “and-so-it-goes” commentary throughout) and frame the images of violence in their signature look-at-this style ultimately supports McCarthy’s “wake
    up people” theme or perversely reinforces the nothing’s-shocking, coin-toss value of human life view he’s challenging is left up to the viewer.

    Either way, the Coens’ smarter-than-their-characters (and/or audiences) critical reputation emerges intact – as the awards keep coming in.

    All generating good discussion.

  173. Peach Monster, 10 years ago Reply


    Who the hell are you? Do you blog on other sites? Whoever you are, God bless you and go to hell.

  174. Bob Stradling, 10 years ago Reply

    I am English and 69 years old. Two things that I think are relevant to my comments. I have seen No Country for Old Men this evening.

    As I am getting older, although my life is still enjoyable, I am aware that I am getting closer to the finishing line. I wanted to see a movie that understands this concept and deals intelligently with it.

    Anton is Death. He usually arrives unannounced. The man who won the toss of the coin was lucky. He met death and escaped. The irony is that he didn’t realise it. The woman who refused to take the bet represents extreme bravery in the face of death. Llewellyn Moss thought he could face death and win. Then is gunned down by the mexicans. How is that for irony? Like surviving cancer and getting killed in a road accident.

    We are all going to die, the interesting thing is that most of us choose to block this thought.

    Sheriff Bell retires from his former life and chooses to enjoy the end of his life. Like he says, after the dream he woke up.

    The theme of death and what it would be like if we knew when we were going to die is fully explored in Bladerunner.

    Not knowing is best. Look up at the blue sky and enjoy the day. It may be the last one.

  175. Emenkay, 10 years ago Reply

    Is this gratuitous violence masquerading as art in order to profit from the voyeurs of the cinema world or is it a masterpiece dealing definitively with the theme of death and mortality? The “theme” of the film is not unique or recently discovered. The timing of death, and man’s ability to manipulate that date, is a theme of literature and philosophy that has been discussed in exceedingly less exploitive manners and forums throughout time. The use of violence to discuss this theme is simply a vehicle for shallow and weak-minded exploiters to make money and further corrupt society through an imaginary epiphany.

  176. Norm S., 10 years ago Reply

    - RAS –
    Thank you kindly for the compliments. Glad you’re enjoying the site and the conversation. I think your comment “the right answer is there is no answer” is the beauty of this film. Life — and its inevitable end — is all what we make it.

    – Bob Stradling –
    Your comment is my new favorite. I’d venture a guess that you’re our most senior participant (?) No matter, I admire what you’ve taken from the film (“the blue sky”) and think more of us should think like that…

    Thanks again everyone. I’m pulling for this film huge come Oscar time in a couple of weeks. Talk to you later.

    -Norm S. (Meet In the Lobby)

  177. Kan Chuh, 10 years ago Reply

    Nothing matter in the film…the protagonist is the dirty money, and the carrier will always die, like the first mexican guy lying in a tree shadow in the middle of a desert and then came the next carrier..lwillie moss…the end is clean…now is time to Anton to run…and die…

  178. supercub, 10 years ago Reply

    Saw NCFOM last evening for the second time along with my wife (first). Every piece of the film (characters, voice, wardrobe, cinematography) was razor sharp! I’m here to post about the story.
    I think the film challenges the choices, motivationa, intentions you make/ have in life and the residue of evil (poor choices) left behind and the affect it has on ALL. Obviously it’s also about fate and faith in terms of understanding that we have little power over circumstance or cards dealt but the ability to be responsible for our happiness. Was greed not one of the central themes? Most of us seem to lose our way inch by inch in life and to reach adulthood is to leave behind all recognition of what was pure and good…not the least of which was calling people “ma’am” or “sir”. The boys on the bicycles at end were still young and innocent enough to offer help to a victim without judgement or profit considered. Innocent people are harmed relentlessly everyday whether they’re young and dad leaves home or they’re old and bilked out of life savings…and every imagineable way in between. So whether you live in a trailor or hi rise, you work at a filling station or on wall street, you give thanks for your life, ask for the strength to do what is right and reject fear knowing that at the end of your life a warm fire and a blanket is waiting for you.

  179. jean, 10 years ago Reply

    so exactly who got the money and the drugs??? :-) or can it be anyone’s guess!!!

  180. Tom Heinz, 10 years ago Reply

    Okay, in all due respect, Jean, (and to the guy in the theater who stood up and said “I feel cheated! Where’s the money and why’s the bad guy still alive?”); forget the money and the drugs! They’re like secondary characters in a Shakespeare play: they serve a purpose, but they’re not germane to the (riveting) central theme of this movie.

  181. Don, 10 years ago Reply

    Though I thought the performances were good (esp. Josh Brolin’s) and the cinematography was breathtaking, I did think the story was a cop-out. I’m a huge fan of serious cinema, and I think There Will Be Blood was the movie of the year for me. But this one was fatally flawed. Most of the film felt entirely pointless after seeing the ending. I didn’t need the two hour film school project before it to impart such an obvious “lesson”. Please. I can get that by reading the newspaper on any given day. Hell, that’s just life. I ask a little more of cinema. I like a lot of the Coens’ work, but this one, like Fargo, fell entirely flat. Sometimes they just try to be too clever, and the intention is too obvious on screen. In this movie, they’re far too caught up in style, at the expense of substance. I’m glad so many liked it. It just felt like two hours wasted for me.

    Another film from 2007 that followed a killer who never got caught, and told the story and imparted the lesson far more effectively, was Zodiac.

  182. vtyojr, 10 years ago Reply

    Anton was in the room, and more, he asked the sheriff:
    – Call it, friedo.

  183. Vicki, 10 years ago Reply

    How about the story Sheriff Bell told his deputy about the old California couple and the robbers that take their Social Security checks, after torturing them and then the male robber is next day seen running naked with a dog collar on……Shades of Abu Gahrib? Is this movie a comment on violence, $, torture, veterans, war?

  184. coffeesnb, 10 years ago Reply

    Can someone address how everyone was able to find everyone else sans the radio signal in the duffel bag.

    Didn’t get Woody Harrelson role. How did he know Anton and live to tell about it later?

    Did anyone notice Moss’ wife while driving up to the motel in the cab, had a passenger with her(besides the driver) who would it have been –if it were her mother, how did that fit in the time lines of deaths?

  185. Ed, 10 years ago Reply


    Her mother was with her in the car. They arrived at the hotel not too long after the deaths. Moss had asked them to go there and the mother had told the Mexican who helped her with the suitcases, thus sealing his fate.

    “Woody Harrelson” was an Ex- Colonel in some military organization (of questionable and probably mercenary character)…I got that he had some previous business association with Anton but not sure about that part.

  186. Nick, 10 years ago Reply

    I recently watched the fantastic Ingmar Bergman masterpiece The Seventh Seal and noticed a few things that may be relevant to this board. The film’s main character is named ANTONius and is constantly pursued by Death. The film is set at the time of the bubonic plague and as Dave Hopkirk noticed Carson Wells compares Anton Chigurh to the bubonic plague,as well as his surname being very similar to the flea-like parasite ‘chigger’. I also enjoyed the scene where after being asked to wait a moment Death says “You all ask that but I give no reprieve” just like Anton says “People always say the say thing”. Seems the Coen brothers are fans of Bergman’s classic.

    One thing that has been puzzling me is why did Anton allow the deputy to arrest him and take him in? Anton wasn’t to know he’d be allowed such an easy opportunity to escape the law. Being such a ruthless killer wouldn’t he have killed him on the highway?

  187. Tom Heinz, 10 years ago Reply


    I think part of Anton not killing the deputy on the highway is that it wouldn’t have been as safe as doing it later. Anton is patient and watches for his best opportunity. Also, it’s a way for the Coens to remind us that he’s human, like the car accident near the end of the movie. Yes, he’s the symbol for Death, but in reality, he’s a person like the rest of us.

  188. coffeesnb, 10 years ago Reply

    Okay help me out here (out of coffee, not the shapest tool in the shed right now). So how did Moss’ Mother in Law die? Was it at the hand of Anton? Did I miss a part in the movie?

  189. Tom Heinz, 10 years ago Reply

    It doesn’t say specifically, but it could have been the cancer she talked about earlier in the movie.

    Remember when Moss’s wife comes home dressed in black to find Shugurh waiting in her bedroom? She says “I just buried my Mama.” We don’t know how she died except that it wasn’t violently.

  190. Russ, 10 years ago Reply

    Moss’s mother in-law says “I got the cancer now” in the back of the cab…

  191. pp, 10 years ago Reply

    One possible reading is as a political/social/economic allegory about both recent and older US history.

    Moss and his wife are dirt poor and they both get wiped out by forces beyond them (as noted by the Woody role) once they got too close to the money. Anton and Woody are hired mercenaries of the “big boss”. They both bring non-human attributes such as ruthless, “principles based”, decision making (allusion to corporatism and market logic with all the coin flipping?) and capacity to store detailed information (surveillance and loss of privacy?). It is interesting that Anton kills both his competition and his boss and gets to keep the money (irrespective of whether he wants it/needs it or not).

    The sheriff is the lawman, i.e., the US body politic. He’s both seen such economic carnage before and on the surface he is resigned to it or scared by it.
    But this fantastic scene at the motel suggests that there is more to this relationship. He is the mirror image of Anton (through the doorknob – like camera obscura) We’ve been told this also in the identical TV reflections, which is an allusion to the common control of media by big money and the state. Anton is scared of him and only him, because the sheriff’s principles are superior as they are (nominally) morally grounded and emanating from the people instead of arbitrary and self-serving. But Anton need not worry because the sheriff has been fundamentally corrupted by association. He has drank the same milk.

    The father figure in the dream must be an allusion to the founding fathers of the US and trying to find a path to moral clarity on how to run economic affairs by looking back.

    Scene by scene a scathing exposition of the mess called modern USA. The car scene where an average innocent american gets executed using meat-industry equipment is debilitating.

    BTW, the old lady dies in 1980, the start of the Reagan era.

  192. Peach Monster, 10 years ago Reply

    pp: Thanks for that. You are truly a hell of a girl or guy.

  193. RB, 10 years ago Reply

    I apologize if this has been asked and answered already.
    Can someone remind me how Shugurh winds up in the back of a cab at the beginning of the movie? He clearly had his gun with him, why didn’t he shoot the cop?

    And what about the first dream (not the fire one) he tells at the end of the movie. I can’t remember it well, can someone recap?

    Yes, there are lots of parrellels in the movie, the one most often mentioned above is the jacket Moss buys for $500 and the shirt Shugurh buys for $100. My guess is that this represents the similarities in these very different characters. The world is not black and white. Even the “good” and the “bad” have some overlap. While I do think Shugarh represents something like “evil” I think Jones is the one who is representing “good”. The parrellels between the two of them are most clear in the milk drinking scenes where they are both in ths same spot on the couch and we see the (similar looking) outline of each in the TV.

    To the person above who asked about why Jones told the california motel story: His commentary on the story was that he can’t believe the state of the world and what people are doing these days. He couldn’t believe that no one reacts to a family holding barrials in their back yard. This is the same theme he talks about in the opening monologue and later with the other sheriff.

  194. The Geezer, 10 years ago Reply

    My wife and I watched the movie tonight … a waste of our time on meaningless violence without resolution … if we wanted cthis sort of thing we could watch the news of the past month … think about it – WATCH THE NEWS OF THE PAST MONTH – there is enough angst and unresolved sensless mayhem there – Nothing was entertaing or instructive .. pointless – as are all the latest violent events. The film has nothing offers nothing and will be forgotten quickly … art my &#^%&!

  195. Kodi Diablo, 10 years ago Reply

    I just saw the film and thought it was brilliant (though a little blood-laden for my tastes). Having not read the book, I’m not constrained in my interpretation by how the author ended the story or communicated its meaning. My view of the abrupt ending (cut to black) was that Bell died suddenly and unexpectedly. He never saw it coming. After years of evading death as a lawman (including most recently in the notel with Anton), he dies on the first day of his retirement. How ironic. He was leaving this chaotic world to join his father, who had built a fire in the dark desert to greet him. To me, such an ending fits well into the themes of chance, fate, and “you never see it coming.”

  196. Berkeley Cuban, 10 years ago Reply

    I would like to know how did woody harrelson’s character find him at the mexican hospital? what’s the whole relationship between carson wells, chigurh and the guy with the swingline stapler from office space?

  197. Nick, 10 years ago Reply

    Thx Geezer for making me laugh,the irony of your comment is priceless. Considering this film will get Oscar exposure and that Bardem’s performance will be talked about for years I’d bet my left nut that you are wrong.

  198. Norm S., 10 years ago Reply

    - Nick –

    I agree with you. I don’t think this one’s gonna be forgotten anytime soon. To compare it to another Coen Brothers work, Fargo is still talked about and applauded, and No Country for Old Men is considered a finer, more thought-provoking film.

    -Norm (Meet In the Lobby)

  199. Eric Iversen, 10 years ago Reply

    Regarding the milk scenes, I believe that Sheriff Bell drinks the milk because he believes that it might allow him to understand Evil. Anton drank straight from the container and Bell knows this, yet despite the disgustingness, drinks the milk anyway.

    Regarding the scene with the kids after the accident, Anton corrupts them. They start out innocent but are touched by Evil when they accept the bloody $100 bill.

    i am a little unclear as to the meaning of the accident towards the end of the film. It may be that Anton’s evilness is beyond any choice he could make. The driver of the other car is dead notwithstanding anything Anton decides. To this point, Anton realizes this and tries to use a coin toss to save the gas station owner and later Moss’s wife because of their general innocence.

  200. billywest, 10 years ago Reply

    Before Chigurh kills Wells, he asks him, ‘If the rule you followed brought you to this, of what use was the rule?’
    After the accident, we all would like to know how Chigurh would answer that question, himself. After all, the rule he followed brought him to kill Carla Jean, and that rule almost killed him.

  201. Thisisthefall, 10 years ago Reply

    I read most of the posts here and just thought I’d throw my thoughts on the film out there.
    I saw the film and was completely confused by the end, but after thinking long and hard about it, I had what I think is quite a good explanation of the story.
    I see it that Chigurh is a spirit(?) that represents greed. And that greed will catch up with you eventually and cannot be stopped (gun shot wounds, car accident).
    Throughout the film, there are references to greed. The one mexican who took the money and ran (before dying under the tree) near the start of the movie. Moss taking the money. The kids arguing over the $100 at the end of the movie (There are more but I can’t think right now!) Also, notice that the gas station attendant that he lets live, doesn’t charge him for the gas, thus, showing no greed.
    Also, when he goes to the office building and speaks to the account, the conversation goes something like this:
    “Are you going to kill me?”
    “That depends. Can you see me?”
    I think what he is saying is that if the accountant (who deals with money everyday) can realise that greed is bad, he will let him live.
    I think Woody Harrelsons character represents reason. A ‘good’ to Chigurh’s ‘evil’. I get this from their conversation in the hotel where he tries to reason and stop him killing Moss. Also, notices the colors they wear. Bardem’s character always wears black. Whereas Harrelson’s character wears light blue.
    But throughtout the film, I think Chigurh is mainly representing the greed of Tommy Lee’s character. There are a couple of things that make me think that. One is the milk thing someone else talked about. If you watch those two scenes again. They sit on the sofa in the exact same position watching their reflection in the TV, mirroring each other. And the reflection of the other character in the door lock in the hotel scene.
    Finally, the ending. In the scene with his uncle (the one with the cats) he is told something along the lines of, “you have to wake up and realise that not everything can be solved/have a happy ending”. I think they are referencing this by the last line “and then I woke up”. And then the look of realisation on his face before the credits.

    Sorry this was so long and probably quite hard to follow, but I had to get my thoughts down before I forgot them!
    I’ve probably forgot quite a bit, but I’ll probably post again when I’ve thought of something else to say.

  202. Bubba, 10 years ago Reply

    Well, yall are going to think I am off of the planet, but I believe Moss’ wife actually cleared with the cash. The last time we actually see the money is during a phone conversation between Moss and her while Moss is at a pay phone in an air terminal. Remember, She, calls Ed for help. Unfortuneately, Ed gets to the motel just short of facing the hired Mexicans and finds Moss down and lifeless. Moss’ wife appears with mom later that night. Chigurh is not yet on the scene. After Ed meets with the local sheriff, I think he contemplates facing his own inner darkenss, Chigurh. This process is spurred by a statement made in that exchange, something to the effect of, “returning to the scene of the crime” statemement. Ed returns and finds himself standing at the threshold knowing that Chigurh has come and probably already left when he quitely opens the door. When both Ed and Chigurh are in the Motel,( and yes Chigurh was in that same room), the money is already long gone. When we later see Chigurh confront the wife, she tells him she has no money, can’ t pay the bills etc….But, mom had a brand new head-stone for her grave worth $$$. I believe she won the toss while sitting on the cash. There is a lot more to be said about the abstract concepts of greed and what ill-gotten money brings to our behaviors. Evidenced by the two boys arguing over the shirt money.
    What do you think?

  203. Tom Heinz, 10 years ago Reply


    Here’s what I think…people need to stop obsessing over the money. Who has it? Who cares? I think what the Coens are doing is making the money symbolically neutral, the way money really is. Without the money we have no story, but in the end, we have a magnificent movie with no money…because the money doesn’t matter.

  204. Friendo, 10 years ago Reply

    I read the book and just saw the movie. Unsatisfied by both. I have to say it seems that there’s a serious case of the emperor’s new clothes here.

    I don’t need the bad guy to lose or a hollywood hero to be the victor. I do need a logical plot – without that, there’s just a theme. As evidenced by all the comments here, there isn’t enough information in the movie to figure out a lot of key points. I’m not missing anything, it just isn’t there. Read the book and you’ll see the holes in the movie plot.

    Some argue that the details of the plot don’t matter and it’s about the theme and it’s an allegory and etc. This is fine, and I remember my lit courses where they taught me to analyze stories like that. But when we don’t know so many fundamental details of the plot, I would argue it’s difficult to make a very powerful case for meaning.

    For example, what was Chigur’s motivation? Hard to say if we’re trying to figure out things like:
    * Who was he working for?
    * Does he end up with the money and what does he do with it? Maybe return it to one of the parties involved in the drug deal we haven’t seen – like in the book? Hmmmm, that would certainly change things. Or does he keep if for himself?
    * The ambiguity of hiding in the room. Would he have shot if he was there. This kind of deliberate obfuscation ( the Lady or the Tiger?) never interested me.

    Anyway, the movie certainly created a lot of debate. Another thing I’m not looking for in a movie. I know that sounds like I’m a philistine. See ‘emperor’s new clothes’ above.

    On a lighter note, you should all read Nora Ephron’s funny piece in the New Yorker if you haven’t. She has the right attitude, I’m much too serious:

  205. Tina, 10 years ago Reply

    I read the above at The New Yorker. Funny.
    Terrible ending. I feel like I wasted money going to see this film. Earlier, someone couldnt figure out how long before the wife was possibly killed or not. However, when Chigurh was in the gas station, and made the first guy “choose”, he said that the coin was from 1958, and had traveled 20 years to this point. So it must have taken approx. 2 years for Chigurh to come after the wife. Because it was 1978 at the beginning of the movie, if the coin had traveled 20 years from 1958, and 1980 at the end… also, they stopped on the unlatched lock on the bathroom window when Tommy and Chigurh were in the same scene….showing that Chigurh had went out the window…..I also feel that knowing who has the money is important, because the money has the bigget part in the movie, and should win BEST ACTOR.
    Who was in the truck that pulled out going sideways when TLJ pulled into the motel where everyone was dead? The Mexicans? I think they have the money.

    By the way, I thought Fargo was terrible also.

  206. coffeesnb, 10 years ago Reply

    Eric Iversen:

    I had a totally different take on the milk scene. I think we can agree that Sheriff Bell’s monolog(sp) at the beginning of the movie regarding the kid who declares that if he had a chance, he would kill again; no if, ands, or buts. Anton is of the same cloth.

    Anton goes through the motion of being a “normal” guy several times through out the movie to achieve what he needs to achieve(getting the motorist out of his car, getting the desk clerk to give him Moss’ room number, even asking the lady at the in a tailor park for info, etc.

    When no one was watching and there is nothing to gain, Anton takes the milk out of the fridge, and sits down in front of the TV as though he just came home from a long day. Sitting their looking at his own reflection reinforced that–no he is not a not a normal guy coming him after a long day. That’s why he didn’t drink the milk. He went though the motions and knew they were false.

    Then you have Sheriff Bell , who is pretty much a normal guy, and after checking out the tailor, he goes to the fridge(like most folks coming home from a long day) Sees the milk, makes the statement of wasting a good glass and sits back and enjoys. His refection was that a normalcy, because that’s what normal people do–normal stuff.

    Also, I think this is were Sheriff Bell –sitting in the same spot as relizes he is dealing with a different type of criminal

  207. lts1017, 10 years ago Reply

    Tommy Lee Jones knew from the vent on the floor that Anton had been there. He knew from the dime on the floor that Anton was still in the room. TLJ made a decision to not pursue Anton and that saved his life. Anton killed people he needed things from, people who pissed him off, people who stole from him. Anton knew TLJ was walking away from all of it and it was equal to calling the coin heads. But TLJ will have nightmares his whole life of someone coming to the door an killing him on the porch like his relative.

  208. Z1984, 10 years ago Reply

    Personally, I’m of the opinion that a man so careful as Anton would not have driven so carelessly through an intersection. The refusal to call the cointoss really shook him up. Whether or not he killed her is up for debate I suppose, but I am of the opinion that he did not. He checks his shoes out of habit, because he always checks his shoes. He leaves, shaken, at the very concept that someone refused to play into his world, in fact rejected it entirely, so he goes through the motions. The man is too careful and methodical to not look both ways at an intersection unless he is completely distracted. WHAM! And the look on his face is pure shock. Not fear, but flabbergasted.

    As for Anton not killing Bell in the hotel room, assuming they were IN the same room, Bell did not see Anton in a criminal environment/act. He mentions earlier to the accountant who asks “Are you gonna kill me?” (after shooting the man who hired him) Anton replies, “That depends. Did you see me?”
    While the man occasionally kills for the sheer fun of it, (making a game out of it even) (Shop clerk, crow.) While he is working, he prefers anonymity and invisibility. If you see him, you die.
    Bell did not see him. At least, not face to face.

  209. Craig D, 10 years ago Reply

    Finally saw NCFOM last night, loved the performances, was confused at the end because I am so used to movies wrapping up neatly, and the Coen brothers definitely don’t wrap this up neatly, but that is why it is so good. I haven’t stopped thinking about it since it ended, and obviously neither have all the commentators on this site, as we have everything from Kabbalah theories, to anti-capitalistic theories. I like some of the theories about Anton representing greed, but nothing I have read seems to completely make sense of this film, but that seems somewhat to be the point. TLJ’s character seems to be trying to make sense of things that don’t always make sense, perhaps that is the point. There is a lot of random stuff that happens in life, some of it makes sense, some of it seems totally unfair, and nothing totally fits together. You can’t stop what’s coming seems to be the major point of the movie, but I’m glad the Coen’s didn’t answer everything, it leaves it open to be interpreted by the individual. I can see how people would hate this movie if they weren’t willing to put time into understanding and contemplating it’s meanings and coming to their own understanding of what it meant or didn’t mean to them. I am amused how almost everyone who didn’t like or didn’t want to take the time and effort necessary to attempt to understand this movie has tended to dismiss this movie with an excrement themed expletive. The performances were so good that I am willing to ponder it and it’s okay if I don’t have all the answers, because chances are neither do you. Why do we crave resolution so?

  210. Z1984, 10 years ago Reply

    I have a concept that I’d like to shoot by you all,
    7 deadly sins.
    Wrath = Anton
    Pride = Lewellen
    Greed = Woody Harrilson’s character
    Sloth = Shopkeep?
    Lust =
    Envy = Mexicans
    Gluttony =
    Thoughts? Fill in the blanks? Anything?

  211. alfred, 10 years ago Reply

    OK. It wasn’t Brolin shot in the motel. It was the guy they kept thinking was Brolin ( hospital etc). Bell had set up a Charley Varrick style fake death for him, and Brolin escaped with the money, later to meet his wife ( not killed !!). They went to live in Rio de Janeiro and had three children called Tansin, Jessica and Bryony. Antoin was rehabilitated and became governor of a west coast state.

  212. Antonio, 10 years ago Reply

    I’m going to have the coutage of saying “The King is wearing no clothes”,
    and express my view that this is just another very mediocre film, that has to resort to high doses af gore and sadism in an attempt to conceal the ineptitude of the makers. When violence, ot any other gimmick, is used in a repetitive and predictable manner it loses its effect. No I’m not shocked by the overdose of glorified cruelty…I’m just bored to death.
    Sad to realize that the sadism fotmula seems to be the only way to attain recognition , while real art like Ed Harris’ potrayal of Beethoven is supiciously silenced by the press…
    Mr. Fellini, how badly do I miss you.
    Antonio Esteban

  213. Markku, 10 years ago Reply

    I just saw just the film. It´s great and so is your site. The film reminded me in a way Bob Dylan´s album Time Out of Mind. The plot is different, but the stern feelings and style is similar. Anyway, some commentators have found similarities between Moss and Anton. Yes indeed – Moss missed the deer and Anton missed the crow!
    The ending is great. I had the same suden feeling as in the sudden ending of Robert Bresson´ s Pickpocket and Jean-Marie Straub´s Bach-film.

  214. Danielle, 10 years ago Reply


    I’m not sure if someone wrote this already, but Anton didn’t mix his blood with the saline before washing the wound… it was iodine, an antiseptic. Looks brownish/reddish, similar to blood.

  215. Pookie, 10 years ago Reply

    I saw this movie during Christmas, 2 months ago. I didn’t have a clue as to what the ending meant, and I’m usually pretty good at stuff like that. (Engilsh major in college and all that.) But now that I’ve had time to digest it, here’s what I think: The point of the movie is contained in the title. Our modern existence, this life, is no country for old men, no place for those with the idealism and selflessness of the Greatest Generation, of which Sheriff Bell belongs. Life doesn’t give a shit who is the bad guy and the good guy. Our traditional protagonist, Llewellyn, gets gracelessly snuffed out with a good 20 – 30 minutes left in the show. So Llewellyn dies and Chigurr lives and the world keeps turning. But life wears us all down, including Chigurr, who gets hammered as he ties up loose ends. He lives, but he’s more broken down and busted up than before. The crows will catch up with him soon enough. So what’s left? An old man and his dreams, dreams of his father with a torch, lighting the way to his world – the world of the dead where judgement awaits, where good and evil do matter. The old man is strengthened by his relationships. He visits his Uncle Ellis, he retires and spends time with his wife. That’s really all that matters in this life. Money leads to destruction, violence just keeps going and going. So stay close to the ones you love, pay attention to your dreams, and one day you will follow the light to the long home of your fathers.

    Gee, that’s pretty good, even if I do say so myself.

  216. Pedro, 10 years ago Reply

    I am happy to read that I am not the only one struggling to agree with someone about the ending but I see I am still the only one thinking this:

    My friends I am afraid that Mr Tommy Lee Jones is dead and the last scene is cronologically the first one.

    I mean. When he enters the room and notices the window etc… Mr Chigurgh whacks him but we don’t see it and the only person remaining to come full circle is Brolin’s wife.

    I know it is tricky but I feel this is what happens. But as in other films what we see and the cronology of events not always coincide,

    Regards from Spain

  217. Bruce, 10 years ago Reply

    I saw this wonderful movie soon after it came out, and then again this last weekend. I liked it even more the second time, but I was amazed, and disappointed, that one scene had been cut. It came after the motel scene, and it proved that Chigurh did have the money. He returned it to an unidentified man in an office setting. I don’t want to give it all away, but Chigurh, at one point, asked the man if the painting on the wall behind him was an original, and the man said no. He had the original in a vault.

    After seeing the movie this last weekend, I even wondered if somehow I had imagined the scene. I went home and checked the novel… and there it was, coming before Chigurh kills Carla Jean (and he does kill her).

    Hasn’t anyone else seen this scene?

  218. Bubbe, 10 years ago Reply

    You’ve gotta cut down on the glue and paint thinner, Bruce – yes, it’s in the book but no, the Coens left it out of the film (just like they elected not to explicitly show Carla Jean get shot, even though it’s in there in the book). Hence the popular screenplay term “adapted from” novel XYZ.

    And congrats to all involved for the Oscar wins – well deserved.

  219. Bruce, 10 years ago Reply

    Thanks, Bubbe, but you didn’t understand what I wrote. The Coens did not leave it out of the movie at first. The scene WAS there the first time I saw it.
    I have talked to several other people where I work, and they also remember that scene and were surprised when I told them it’s no longer there..
    I called the manager of the theater complex where I saw the movie the second time and learned that the first showing (at a different theater complex)was more of a director’s cut. He said the omitted scene reportedly will be on the DVD when that comes out.

  220. Cynthia, 10 years ago Reply

    I saw this movie a couple days ago. Its one of those movies that you must see multiple times to catch everything. I’ve read many of the comments above and there are so many things to consider and so many things to question about this movie. This movie was very symbolic and one thing can represent many different things. Anton, to me, represented unpredictability. This man was totally unpredictable and i’m thinking back to the scene in the gas station with the innocent cashier. Anton has something against predictability (obviously, if he carries around a quarter and lets the quarter decides the mans fate.) The cashier tellls anton that he married into the business, so its inevitable that he would run the store. Anton also asks him questions about what time the store closes and what time he goes to bed to see if this mans life is completely predictable by having certain times set. Anton whips out the quarter and tells the man to call it to show the man that everything cannot be so predictable.

  221. Bubbe, 10 years ago Reply

    I take it all back – it sounds like you lucked out in seeing a pre-release working cut…I’m curious what other deleted snippets may be included on the DVD (out 3/11) – could help answer some of the unresolved debates in this blog

  222. Daniel, 9 years ago Reply

    I hope they finish the movie and give it a good ending and if they don’t please make a sequal to finish the story!
    I’m begging you!

  223. PEDRO, 9 years ago Reply

    Hi again to everybody.

    Could anyone please tell me if there is an interpretation in the end of the movie with the sheriff’s dream? Or on the other hand is it possible that Anton kills the sheriff and the movie plays with the cronology.

    I don’t know guys…

  224. Darkseid, 9 years ago Reply

    Thanks for all the warnings-will avoid this one like the bubonic plague. But then, I despise the Cohens’ output anyway. Fargo was pure overrated hor$e$hit , and no one I know could even get by the accents, which detracted greatly from it.

  225. matt, 9 years ago Reply

    In all of this discussion no one has mentioned that in the last 10 minutes of the movie 2 people call Tommy Lee Jones’ character Anton? Did this really happen, or did i imagine it?

    The older cop that he talks with at/or after the crime scene calls him Anton. And then in the final scene his wife calls him Anton?

    Really did i imagine it, or has this just been lost on every person using the internet because i can’t find any discussion of it.

  226. Mark, 9 years ago Reply

    His name is Ed Tom. It sounds rather like Anton when it’s slurred.

  227. ferd, 9 years ago Reply


    While Sheriff Ed Tom is in the motel bathroom, does the main room go dark, as if the outside door has swung shut? If so, does Ed Tom notice this darkening before or after he exits the bath? And before or after his gaze lingers on that bathroom window lock, shut tight?

  228. ferd, 9 years ago Reply

    Anton would have exited through the bathroom window, or at least have opened the window to see if such exit were viable, which means . . .

  229. Tyler, 9 years ago Reply

    Is it just me, or was Tommy Lee Jone’s (in the end scene) wearing the same shirt that the kid on the bicycle was wearing – the same t-shirt that the boy took off to give Anton to put his broken arm in?

  230. Tyler, 9 years ago Reply

    No, I checked on YouTube… the t-shirts aren’t the same. Sorry.

    But, I did check the last scene and the wife of Tommy Lee Jones DOES call him Anton (as stated by someone above). Interesting……

  231. Theo, 9 years ago Reply

    For RB (on why Chigurh allowed himself to be arrested and taken in by the cop at the beginning of the film) -The book helps with some backstory: While talking with Wells before shooting him, Anton recounts how he was at a cafe on the border, being eyeballed by one member of a group of men drinking. The man says something “hard to ignore” as Anton passes in leaving. Anton does ignore him at first, but when the statement is repeated, he motions to the man to step outside and then kills him in the parking lot. An hour later, Anton is pulled over by a sherrif’s deputy outside Sonora, Texas, and allows himself to be taken into town in handcuffs. He reflects to Wells: “I’m not sure why I did this, but I think I wanted to extricate myself by an act of will. Because I think that one can. But it was a foolish thing to do. A vain thing to do.”

  232. MartinLeaf, 9 years ago Reply

    Notice something very subtle: As Chugarh hobbles away injured, his image dissolves directly into the tree of life. The tree of life appears at least twice more in the movie: It is the tree next to the tree of knowledge the dead man is leaning against, and Chugarh walks through the kabbalah tree of life when he goes to the trailer lady.

    Bell’s dream about the money and him losing it means that our physical bodies will eventually be lost. It is also a reference to the tree of knowledge , which caused man to be mortal since money (materiality) is a symbol of “knowledge” and the dead man has the suitcase full of money under the tree of knowledge (which shatters lewellen and carla Jean’s life like Adam and Eve’s were ).
    The fire the father is preparing is immortaility , and this is emphasized because Bell says this right in front of the tree of life, which is behind him through the window at the “end”..

    Chugarh dissloves into the tree of life because Chugarh is an agent of G-d, since all things happen according to G-d’s will. He also prominently walks through the tree of life, (the ten speheres linked by triangles on the gold window in the trailer park), for the same reason.

    All of this subtlelty in the film editing entitled the Coen’s to an Oscar for film editing, but the movie was too advanced for most people to grasp its entire meaning and subtelties.

    Also, Chugarh “cannot” (is not allowed) to kill resolute people: Moss, trailer park lady, Bell. And when Chugarh violates that by killing Carla Jean, he is punished. This is another of the many Mccarthy and Coens’ references to fighting and defeating the powerful, relentless evil of Islamic Terror.

    These thing will change Cinema forever. Expect copycats.

  233. Dave Hopkirk, 9 years ago Reply

    It must be remembered that Sheriff Bell summoned up the courage to enter the motel room and confront Death. He was not taken by Death at that time because he did not see Death, but nevertheless it would have been easy not to take the chance Death was behind that door. This relates to the cowardice he confesses to in the book.

    At the end of the film Bell laments that he’s failed but as his uncle Ellis reminds him, violence and death have always been a part of life and always will be. Don’t take it personally.

  234. Jessica, 9 years ago Reply

    I guess I’m just confused at the scene at the end. I got to watch the movie early on DVD because I have friends that work for Hollywood video.

    When Bell walks into the hotel room, he opens the door, and Chigur is not behind the door. Trust me, we slow-motioned the opening of the door, Chigur is not standing there. In an interview with the director he says that Chigur is in the room when Bell walks in. If the reflection is on Chigur’s face from the lock, he has to be standing adjacent to the door, but when we looked, hes standing on neither side. Is this a blooper?

  235. Norm Schrager, 9 years ago Reply

    - Jessica –

    I would seriously doubt it’s a blooper. Editing is far too precise a science for a mistake to enter a scene as pivotal and careful as this.

    I think No Country for Old Men contains a lot of thoughtful, symbolic moments that act as allegory, and that many viewers see the film as some sort of black-or-white mystery. To my thinking, the film is more about the bigger ideas, the grander character traits and flaws, the enormity of living and dying. I don’t think it matters whether Chigurh was in the room — it only matters what you think, if you know what I mean.

    Norm S. (Meet In the Lobby)

  236. vtYojr, 9 years ago Reply

    Chigurh was in the room and more,
    He asked Ed Tom: – call it, friendo.

  237. faye, 9 years ago Reply

    i saw the movie and i missed the dialog at the end. Im going to see the movie again tonight.
    One thing i though prior to reading here, i thought that maybe the twist i missed at the end was that Bell & the Killer were actually the same person (ie split personalities) becuase what makes me think this is that Mary Jane (i think her name is) said when i first saw u i knew u were crazy – and i thought this might refer back to when she met bel at the diner. Is it possible that the killer is just another form to show bell other personality or is it really a different person. and what is amazing as mentioned, he not in the room & he never confronts / meets the killer. Futher more he was told by Mary Jean where her husband would be – how does the killer then find that out?

  238. Alex, 9 years ago Reply

    This reminded me of Mystic River, a lot of Oscar-Worthy-Hype-From-Mind-Numbing-Movie-Goer-Hail-To-Great-Cinema-Rhetoric.

    I thought the movie was at best average with superb performances and direction. Some great effects with the weaponry. I scratched my head at the end. It wasn’t that I don’t understand some of the metaphors used and discussed on this site. It wasn’t that I wanted an all out shoot ‘em up action scene, but, I do demand some clarity at the end of a movie. I don’t want to have to go to a message board and read 4983 opinions to validate my own or simply even enjoy it for that matter. I felt a little cheated, very anti-climactic. Too subtle. I think they tried to hard to do something different and it didn’t work for me.

  239. E, 9 years ago Reply

    He was in the closet, he didn’t kill because they’re sharing the same father.

  240. Joel Brito, 9 years ago Reply

    This is what I took away from the move
    (and I figured this out on the first viewing because I kept my mind open)

    In the beginning, you hear Tommy Lee Jones’ character talk about how someone he arrested and put on death row killed someone for fun, and he said that the killer talked to him before his death and said that if they would have let him out, he would have murdered again. THEN he is in the coffee shop with his partner and he reads a story of how a couple tortured people, killed them, and buried them after. I think that the story told in the movie, Josh Brolin’s character finding two million dollars, then gets followed by a psychopathic killer, who in turn kills almost everybody else ect. (I don’t want spoilers in my comment!) is another story such as the ones he talks about sometimes. He is always contemplating about the world we live in today, how dark and how violent it is. And I think that is where the title comes in, this country full of violence and murder is No Country For Old Men, people who still believe in a sense of decency and mourn for the old times. The monologue in the end sums up the movies perfectly. This entire situation has made him think about his own life, and the life of his father (obviously). They are both growing old, and for someone like Ed Tom, this was obviously a job he cannot continue in his old age. In the end, death finds us all, or as it’s put in the movie “You can’t stop what’s coming”

  241. Moises Carranza, 9 years ago Reply

    Llwelyn is dead. His body is found when Bell arrives in El Paso. His wife is dead as well. Wells tells Moss that Anton has his principles. He told Moss he would kill his wife if he didn’t comply and he did. Bell doesn’t die because as he said, he has his principles. He doesn’t need to kill Bell. Not unless Bell’s willing to fight him. The ending is all about how Bell should have died, but didn’t. He’s scared to die and his dream was how he’ll have to wait even longer to see his dad.

  242. Mike M, 9 years ago Reply

    I just watched the movie and loved it! After reading up to this blog around December 23, i thought of a reasonable conclusion of Anton is behind the door, and the death of Llwelyn

    When Bell visits Ellis, Ellis tells him a story of the old times when a man was shot in his doorway. In this story he says that when they showed up he rushed inside to grab his shotgun, but they beat him to it and he was killed.

    Having said that, when the Mexicans showed up to kill Llwelyn, he tried to rush inside to grab his shotgun, and this is where Anton is waiting, and as he enters is shot by Anton (Llwelyn was beat to the punch so to speak), and this is why the Mexicans leave with gunfire and what seemed like a hurry.

    just something i pondered up. I would appreciate some feedback

  243. Pedro, 9 years ago Reply

    Hello everybody again.
    I am really excited with ur comments as I see that there are many interpretations of what seems a simple bunch of images.

    I may be the only one but I think Ed Tom is dead.

    We do not see it happen but the cronology of the movie plays with us.

  244. Tom, 9 years ago Reply

    I loved the movie but I am sorry. I want to know who gets the money. Actually, when all is said & done, It’s the Coen brothers who got all the money. The DVD release should have added 2 mintes at the end showing Joel & Ethan counting the cash!

  245. Pedro, 9 years ago Reply

    It is a very nice review the one by you Tom.

    Maybe you could be Ed Tom and not even u realizes of that. Oh men.

    Anyway my question to u is whether u understand the end or better said. How u understand and interpret it.

    Thanks in advance Ed Tom

  246. Lee, 9 years ago Reply

    Was the money left in the car

  247. Ronnie, 9 years ago Reply

    And now to add more to the MYSTERY….. Why on the DVD cover did they do the ol’ switch-a-rew with the names and pictures of Tommy Lee, and Josh Brolin ? Are they still playing with our minds………

  248. Roadwind, 9 years ago Reply

    Ancient Hindu Trinity of the endless cycle of birth maintenance and destruction. Brolin gets the money and seeks to create a new life. Jones is the maintainer who on his way out, early in the film his eager deputy looks at some point will replace him. In Hindu mythology these are represented by Brahma The Creator, Vishnu The Maintainer of Creation and Shiva who destroys all and the cycle goes on again. At the heart of this cycle is to fear not, for it truly is “what is to come” and to go. Sometimes it is better to see the mystery that is all around us and is us then to try and figure it out.

  249. Jason, 9 years ago Reply

    I’ve read carefully through most of the feedback posted but haven’t found any thoughts on what tripped me out the most … why in the ending scene does tommy lee’s wife refer to him as anton? In a previous scene where tommy lee enters the hotel room and anton is mysteriously hiding in the room or what not — right before that scene a cop explains to tommy lee while he’s in his car that anton had returned to previous hotel murder scenes after the fact– but he addresses tommy lee as “anton” in that scene right before tlj drives off(tommy lee makes a comparison between bark and anton in this scene) ?—– and i also noticed the mysterious correlation that ronnie referred to in his comment above in regards to the name switching below tommy lee and Brolins pictures on the movie cover.

    Is there some ambiguity or perhaps even a singularity to these two characters?Are they somehow the same. Also, there is a scene where Moss’s wife calls tommy lee and she agrees to meet up with him after tlj assures her he wants no harm to her husband. So this implies tommy lee knows her location and how to find her. He should be the only one besides moss himself (how easy would it be to hide from people in this huge country if you didn’t want someone to find you!). But how was anton able to find her? He had no inside track, maybe the mexicans manipulated the mother to find her whereabouts but anton shouldn’t have know this, perhaps another correlation to his character and tommy lee’s

  250. mike m, 9 years ago Reply


    i too do not understand why TLJ is referred to as anton, but i do have an answer to your other one.

    when TLJ is talking to the wife she says he will tell him where they will meet. and for anton… earlier Woody Harelson’s character says it would not be too hard for anton to find him and his wife because he did it in less then 3 hours.

    hope that helps

  251. nihl, 9 years ago Reply

    First, let me say after reading some of the comments that many don’t have any grasp at all on what nihilism actually is ( as a school of thought rather than an synonym of pointlessness ). Nihilism should be applauded, there isn’t enough of it in cinema which is why movies these days are so intellectually devoid. But I’m not here to sing praises. Second, No Country as a movie died in its own plot devices – and was indeed pointless. Regardless of the message( built conveniently into the title of the piece) the movie left me wanting my
    money back. Why waste my time on meaningless story lines to relay a message of futility? If I wanted futility, I’d step away from the comforts of my couch and walk outside. I’m not saying every story needs to have a happy ending or that writers should follow some shallow plot devices or moralistic outcomes, but don’t hand me a ball of loose ends and proclaim “FIN”.

  252. tighe kellner, 9 years ago Reply

    Anton was def in the the room when tommy lee was at the door. they showed a reflection shot of the inner ring of the door nob from both POV’s and ou could see the other persons reflection. maybe anton didnt know how many cops were out there, so when he heard tommy cock his gun, he peaced out the window. thats why when tommy went into the room, he looked at the window and it was open, meaning he anton umped out, and once again tommy was one step behind anton. Also the sounds of the cars in the background flow through the cuts between tommy and anton.

  253. Alex, 9 years ago Reply

    First of all TLJ is NOT refered to as Anton, his wife says ED TOM his characters name. It might sound a little like Anton, but its not what she says. Second I believe Anton is behind the door when TLJ enters the room. My guess is he gave TLJ a way out by choosing heads or tails(I deduced it when Anton told Brolins wife “why do they always say that” when she told him he didn’t have to do this, considering Harrelsons character says it, then TLJ[I’m guessing] now the wife) and he guessed right and immediately retired knowing how close he was to death. As the story goes, it is not a country for old men. It was his time to move on because he knew he couldn’t hack it anymore as an “oldtimer” with his “oldtimer ways”.

  254. Chris C, 9 years ago Reply

    What a horrible ending to an ok movie. For all of you saying that Tommy Lee Jones speech at the end is great, I thought it was crap. Symbolism my ass. How the hell did this movie win Best Picturer?

  255. Tom Heinz, 9 years ago Reply

    Hey Chris C,

    Well, in a world where someone like you spells picture “picturer” I guess anything can happen.

    And I’m glad Alex (as well as others before him) pointed out that “Ed Tom” sounds a helluva like “Anton.” I saw the movie twice…she says “Ed Tom.”

  256. Pissed, 9 years ago Reply

    This movie sucked my left nut. I want to slap everyone who produced this crap. Just because it was filled with a lot of “symbolism” bullshit everyone thinks its amazing.

  257. Robert, 9 years ago Reply

    I sure appreciate the blog space — what an interesting and thoughtful collection of ideas. I’ll add my piece briefly, as it agrees closely only with a fraction of what I’ve seen so far.

    As many have said and most would agree, there are layers of interpretation and layers of intended meaning — from the big picture about living life in changing times, but also what exactly happens to the movie’s characters.

    Obviously the directors left some room for thought provoking interpretation, and what a nice change from formula.

    I think individuals will find their “big picture” meaning through their own filters, and those ideas will rightly depend on the indiviudual. But, I do believe some of the intended ambiguities are guided by the directors as to how they hoped we would draw our conclusions.

    That’s where I’m in a minority in my conclusion, at least I think so. At the end of the movie, my first thought about the “meaning of the ending” was clear — Ed Tom is going to get whacked by Anton, maybe even on his ride that morning. The death dream dialog seems predictive right before the cut to black, and we were dealing with a mostly indiscriminant killer afer all. In Anton’s strange world of who deserves to be killed, we just don’t know that he wouldn’t want to whack Ed Tom — and I think the implication is there that Ed Tom dies.

    For the one or two commentors who thought that the last scene was chronologically first, and the new order of scenes implied that Anton had whacked Ed Tom, I think that idea holds water, too. In my viewing of the film, you don’t even need to rearrange the scene order to get there though. Ed Tom very likely gets whacked based on the direction I went with my viewing.

    To me, that’s the central question to be answered in the “unusual ending”: does Ed Tom get whacked or not — and I read it as “yep, I’m afraid he does.”

  258. mike m, 9 years ago Reply


    The idea that the ending was indeed in the beginning is interesting but considering in that scene he is talking about what he is going to do on his first day of retirement (which was that day) so it could not have been

  259. David Mullins, 9 years ago Reply

    The Dime did’t have to be there. Anton left the dime on floor because it was what the sherrif had everthing riding on. Just like the Store clerk. If the dime would have fell the wrong way the sherrifs chips( a refrence he used in the movie) would have fell differently.

  260. beth, 9 years ago Reply

    I think this was a fabulous movie. But, more than Llewelyn being chased by the dog in the water, I’m intrigued by the black dog that walked away from the opening scene, much the same way Anton walked away at the end (and he, too, always was in black).

    The dreams of the sheriff at the end made me think for awhile – why the first dream? Because Anton believed that fate lay in his hand, and the sheriff didn’t believe in the type of fate that is determined by the flip of a coin (same with Llewelyn’s wife).

    Both the sheriff and Anton made promises that they tell the wife: the sheriff will save her husband, and Anton will kill her because her husband chose the money over her. Both individuals have a type of principle that is reflected in black and white (you see the same shadows on the same window, and they drink from the same milk bottle).

    The sheriff and Anton represent black and white and everyone else is dealt with in different colors of gray. Anton and the sheriff are doing what they are supposed to be doing – defining good and evil – and all other characters are in situations that demand that they choose sides. thus, their deaths.

    Perhaps I’m overthinking this movie, but at least it is one movie out of so many bad ones that allows me the pleasure to think after I’ve seen it!

  261. Jimmy Mack, 9 years ago Reply

    I just watched the movie the other day and was a little baffled about the ending. It’s so great to see a movie that leaves you thinking. My interpretation of the ending is that Antons’ whole existense and purpose is to kill. He knows no other way. Like a vampire looking for fresh blood. The scene at the hotel where TLJ views the blown out doorlock and where Antons hiding in the closet, is Antons way to keep his bloodlust alive. I believe that Anton left the air duct open for his next victim. The sheriff grabbed the money which allowed him to retire from the force. The explanation of his dream was him seeing his own death. He knew because he took the money that he was cursed and that he was going to be Antoons next victim.

    Anyone see this too? curious……

  262. Doug, 9 years ago Reply

    I feel like one of those guys in a museum, looking at a piece of art and just not getting it. People around me are saying things like “It represents the perpetual struggle of man versus nature and the relationship between space and time” and I’m wondering if they’ve just spent too much time at Starbucks or are trying to impress their girlfriend’s mom. This is coming from someone whose favorite film makers are the Coen brothers and I’ve been looking forward to this movie for a long time. I’ve seen Raising Arizona at least 20 times and can recite it nearly word for word. I’m afraid I’ll have to watch this movie that many times just to get it. I feel like I hopped on a roller coaster, was thouroughly enjoying the ride, couldn’t wait to see if I survived til the end……….. then all of the sudden, I was in the line at the merry-go-round wondering how the hell I had gotten there. Did I fall asleep? Did I have a diabetic reaction to all that cotton candy? Or did my dvd player bite the dust? I don’t know….but I’ve never been perplexed by a Coens’ movie before and I think I’ll have to return to their amusement park another day and avoid the cotton candy.

  263. Paul Boler, 9 years ago Reply

    I did not object to the bad guys winning, but I would have liked to have had the action who which the entire film was building take place on stage. Andy yes, I want to know what happened to the money. I was one of those who found the ending disappointing and pretentious as well as unnecessary. But this was still a very good and perhaps land mark movie

  264. John, 9 years ago Reply

    You know… these concepts aren’t really that deep… It kind of saddens me to say… but it sounds like you all just watch too much television.

  265. Pedro, 9 years ago Reply

    My friend John, I respect that ur way of interpreting this movie is quick and straight but let me tell u pendejo that Cohens normally work deep and make movies to go deep .

    Television has nothing to do with that. Furthermore i’d say that thanks to this kind of cinema we get to be farther and farther from typical TV.

    Anyway. it is again only an opinion.

    take care muchacho

  266. Loren, 9 years ago Reply

    I didn’t see anyone with this interpretation: I think when the sheriff sat down in the hotel room and noticed the dime and open grate, he realized the killer was in the room somewhere. He made the choice to simply leave, rather than search further because he was certain he’d die. He retires because he’s ashamed of having backed off and because he knows he’s not fit for the job anymore. He certainly couldn’t have taken the money and run without getting killed before he got out of the room.

  267. Lee, 9 years ago Reply

    At the end he is carrying nothing,,why would he leave it after all that?

  268. dougw, 9 years ago Reply

    I am trying to understand this film for its symbolism and am dumfounded. After reading the many posts I begin to follow it. Having just started watching it for the second time, and paying close attention to the beginning, I wonder why was the villian arrested in the first place, what crime did he commit, why was TLJ voicing over that scene while a young, inexperienced lawman had the ultimate villian under arrest?

  269. Jimmy Mack, 9 years ago Reply

    Loren, I have to disagree with you. Antons’ lust for killing was creative and not so simple. The coin represented the sherrifs choice. Will he or will he not…50/50 Yes I do believe that he feels he’s not fit for the job any more. The timing of his retirement comes rather quickly doesnt it? In his soul he know he did the wrong thing and forsees his own death in his dream. Thats what so great about this movie, like a work of art, everyone has a different interpretation.

  270. dougw, 9 years ago Reply

    Perhaps when TLJ went into the hotel room, at that point he realized he was “dead” because he could no longer save the man he wanted to save. He was totally vulnerable when he sat on the bed . Anton recognized TLJ was dead and had no reason to kill him.

  271. DJ, 9 years ago Reply

    First off, I think the Coen brother’s are marketing geniuses for causing so many people (including myself) to spend so much time tossing about the metaphors & symbolism in the movie, not to mention the “what the hell happened at the end” questions? Seems like everyone had to see the movie at least twice!!

    Second, I think Dave Hopkirk’s analysis from January 15, 2008 is about as right on as anybody’s.

    And third, has anyone noticed that Llewelyn spelled backwards is NY Lewell? That’s amazing because it happens to be the last name of one of the policemen from 9/11 who years later won $2 million in a lotto drawing.

    Could the Coen bros have possibly….nah, I just made it up. But you get my drift!!

  272. Steve R, 9 years ago Reply

    Here’s a mundane theory about the scene with Sheriff Bell and Anton at the motel. This is one of those scenes in the film that’s different from the book. In the book, Anton is sitting in a truck outside the motel and watches Bell go in and out of the room. It’s pretty straightforward: Bell almost caught up to Anton, but Anton was a step ahead of him.

    The Coen Bros. only made one significant change – they took Anton out of the truck and put him in the motel – presumably to amp up the suspense and embellish the scene a little.

    The problem with the scene in the film is that when Bell enters the room, where Anton appears to be lurking inside, there’s no Anton. He could be hiding in the darkness, but motel rooms aren’t very big and it’s hard to believe Bell would have missed him.

    However, when Bell first arrives at the motel there’s a shot of two motel room doors. The camera moves in on the door on the left, where Moss died, as Bell approaches it.

    My theory is that Anton is behind the door on the right. Moss presumably rented two adjacent rooms like he did at the first motel as insurance. Anton had figured this out. He removed the vent in the room at the left, couldn’t reach the money, so he went into the room on the right to retrieve it. It’s a repetition of the earlier scene where Moss is in the adjacent room. It also explains why Anton doesn’t just kill Moss if he’s in the same room.

    When Bell enters the room on the left, it’s like he flipped a coin. The last image in the scene is Anton’s dime/screwdriver lying on the floor heads up. Like the scene in the book, Bell missed Anton, but doesn’t realize just how close he came.

  273. Steve R, 9 years ago Reply

    Here’s a theory about Anton. On one level, Anton is death and/or evil incarnate with a method to his madness. On another level, he’s just a man who for inexplicable reasons likes to kill people (maybe momma didn’t love him) and rationalizes it by pretending there is a method to his madness when there isn’t any. Carla Jean (Moss’s wife) calls Anton on this when she refuses to die over something as arbitrary as a coin toss and tells him the coin has no say in it, it’s you.

    Anton kills her anyway, but soon gets a taste of his own medicine when bad luck intervenes in the form of a car running a red light that almost kills him. As Anton says to Wells (Woody Harrelson): “If the rule you live by has brought you to this, of what use is the rule?” Unfortunately, Anton’s not that easy to kill, but the bone sticking out of his arm reminds us that he’s just flesh and blood. He hobbles off in the end, like the black devil dog from the carnage scene in the beginning, to kill again, like the guy Sheriff Bell sent to the chair in the opening narration.

  274. Steve R, 9 years ago Reply

    An interpretation of Bell’s dream in the end. In the opening narration, we learn that Bell’s father and his father’s father were laymen like him. We also learn that he has encountered a type of violence he hasn’t experienced before in the form of a man who killed a 14-year-old girl for no compelling reason (cut to Anton). We also learn that he has a romantic notion of what it used to be like for old men, when violence meant something and there was a code. The story is in the tradition of end-of-the-West Westerns.

    When Bell goes to see his uncle, we learn that Bell waited for God to come into his life and tell him what to do but didn’t, and that the violence Bell has experienced is nothing new. The world has always been a dark, violent place and there’s nothing you can do about it. So says his uncle.

    Before Bell tells his wife his dreams, he asks her what he should do on his first day of retirement. She tells him she can’t decide for him. It’s up to him. He also mentions that he has outlived his father by 20 years and his father is the younger man.

    I’m not sure what the first dream is about. His father gives him money and he loses it. He doesn’t make much of this dream and neither do we. Perhaps it means he doesn’t care about money. Perhaps his father gave him something more important and he didn’t understand how important it was.

    The second dream is given much more weight. He’s in the old days riding on horseback (he still goes by horse to investigate the crime scene). His father rides past him in the dark and cold and stops ahead to light a fire. His father has something pulled over his face so you can’t see it.

    It’s not his father passing himself up. It’s him passing up his father. He’s outlived his father and is lighting the way in a cold, dark, and violent world for the next generation to ride toward.

  275. jason, 9 years ago Reply

    here is my take on the hotel scene. Most seem to believe or try to explain in some way that anton is in the room. Its obvious that ed tom is by the end of the movie the main focus. at the beginning of the movie, he states something about not being willing to “push forward’ his chips and face an overwheling evil. I think when he’s staring at the door, he knows there is a chance this “evil” might be there. the visual for the evil for us the aduience is anton…so, its a visual representation for us….to see him behind the door. when ed tom goes in, he has obviously gotten there too late (remember anton unlatched a vent with a dime earlier in the film) he sees the open vent and dime. and the terrible thing is that you can tell he is relieved that he did not have to face the “evil”….. i think this is when he really realizes he is beat and he has no place in all of this….and on to the uncle ellis scene….i think the mental showdown for ed tom and his realization that he can’t beat this is what is very sad and emotional…and i think the absolute pain and saddness in TLJ face at the very end nailed it. this movie is not for everyone but if you watch it for what its is….then i think its very powerful.

  276. Norm Schrager, 9 years ago Reply

    - Jason –
    Little did I know when we started this conversation back in November that the bulk of analysis would focus on the motel scene. I’m sorry to say I don’t have my hands on the DVD yet (!), but I’m really looking forward to seeing it again.

    From my point of view, you provide as solid and clear an analysis as anyone — and I’d say this thread has others that have agreed with you. Sometimes imagery exists as a message from filmmaker to viewer, and not necessarily as a logical succession of what’s physically going on in a scene. I’m with you there.

    -Norm S. (Meet In the Lobby)

  277. Nate, 9 years ago Reply

    Has anybody concluded that Ed and Anton were both in the hotel room together? I think Anton gave Ed the coin flip option, just like the store clerk, and Ed won. Anton has no real problem with Ed and seems to treasure the coin flip as a way of deciding fate. Afterwards Ed is a changed man and reflects on his mortality and realizes this is a man who can’t be beaten!

  278. Bill Hamlin, 9 years ago Reply

    Great comments, but I have a completely different take on the movie’s ending. (Again only from the perspective of what the movie gave us)

    I believe the Ed Tom Bell(Tommy Lee Jones) dies in the motel room at the end of the movie and the cut away to him in a pick-up truck going to see Ellis (played by Barry Corbin) at his house in the middle of no where is Bell visiting a dead relative before fully committing and accepting his death.

    Clearly the movie has us believe that Anton Chigurh character(played by Javier Bardem) is in the motel room. Anyone who has faced him dies – plain and simple. When Ed Tom Bell looks at the dime, this confirms for the movie watcher that Anton is still there and then the quick cut to the scene between Bell and Ellis ends this scene.

    I believe the scene between Bell and his wife is very telling as there is a peaceful background and then Bell asks his wife to go horseback riding with him or another thing to do together and she says “Your retired, not me.”(something to this effect) I think it is Bell’s desire to be with his wife and the realization that he can’t because she is still alive and he is not. Then he tells her about his dreams and she says she is willing to listen and be nice. His dream shows us that Bell has the opportunity to join his dead Father in the after life. Bell is still in conflict with accepting his death and moving on.

    The book is very different the way the close up the end and show Bell and Chigurh just missing each other in the end without a confrontation.

    The movie gives us a different spin and interpretation.

  279. Manny, 9 years ago Reply

    I dont understand the ending explain it to me please:(

  280. Greg, 9 years ago Reply

    Manny, no one really understands the ending. Just a lot of jibberish and WAG’s. Excellent movie, except for the ending.

  281. Courteny, 9 years ago Reply

    I thought the ending was something more like the fire representing hope/light and that seeing his father was in some way reassuring him that Javier’s characted finally died. The dream of his father was conflict resolution for Jones and his unconscious motives and the internal struggles he was facing with how the world was now becoming and how the world used to be. Dreaming of his father was telling him that everything was going to be alright even with all the evils in the world that his father never had to face.

  282. Mark, 9 years ago Reply

    Good movie.
    unfortunately the end looks like you run out of tokens

  283. louie, 9 years ago Reply

    Okay, I’m going to try and make this quick. Anton IS in the hotel room when the sheriff arrives. Anton represents the darkness in the world. The same darkness that troubles the sheriff throughout his career. He, the sheriff, has denied this darkness and, in turn, has denied a part of life. When he arrives at the room it is the most crucial part of the story. We see him draw his gun for the first time, and when he steps through that door and into the room where anton is, he finally accepts something. He finally decides to be part of the world and in return is granted life. It is not his time to die just yet. When he tells his wife of his dream about his father being cloaked( like death) and they are riding through a pass, and his father takes off ahead to build a fire and wait on the sheriifs arrival. This is what happens at the hotel. El Paso (the pass) Anton( who symbolizes death). The sheriff pulls his gun and makes the choice to open the door and in return he learns a harsh truth of life. Our world and our natures are complex. The universe involves suffering….just look at nature. We are all JUST cattle in the bigger picture of life and death/ light and dark. Hence Antons choice of weapon. Destiny or free will? Or is it all just chance as Anton makes us believe with his coin tosses?

  284. BCart, 9 years ago Reply

    I watched the movie for the first time tonight and thought is was well done. A two hour movie without a soundtrack, in a desolate landscape has got to be good if it can hold your attention for the whole thing. That is why I am here seeking insight into the composition of this film. This is a movie that went at a pace that I was actually able to digest every scene without regurgitating it and forgetting right after I saw it.

    One last thought is that a theme in this movie is that sometimes in life we make good choices that result in bad things and we make bad choices that result in bad things. We are the sum of the choices we make in life. I don
    t know if you could exactly call Moss a good guy, but he is so far away from Anton I guess you could. The only thing I think he did bad was steal money that was not his
    (or was that a noble thing). He also did not succomb to cheating on his wife. So a good guy made a good choice based on his principles to help someone which ended in a train wreck. The opposite decision probably means he gets away with the money. Then a bad guy makes a decision to do a bad thing (murder Carla) based on his principles which results in his own physical wreck. Again, if he made the opposite decision, he avoids the collision.

    My initial reaction to the ending was that of dissappointment and then I thought of Tony Soprano. I thought it over and I realized this ending was appropriate and that evil sometimes wins. I then wondered what in the hell did the dreams mean. A complicated movie like this one with all the metaphors, symbolism, protagonists, and themes to give us a cut to black after two dreams had to mean something.

    After reading several boards I still do not know what they mean, but I do have one observation I have not seen mentioned. Bell mentioned the fire in the horn and that he could see it in the darkness, does’nt this parallell the transponder in the money? (Anton can see the money in the dark) And hence another parallell between the old and the new?

    Regarding the question of where Anton was just before Bell entered the hotel room, I think it was one of two things. The there were two doors with equal light and centered on the screen. This may have been a 50/50 life/death choice for Bell and he chose life meaning Anton was in rm 112 and not 114. But one flaw with this proposition is that Bell found Moss just inside the doorway in 114 so why would’nt he enter that room? The second possibility is just that we were seeing what bell was thinking. He thought that Anton may be behind the door and we saw on screen what he visualized. He then drew his gun based on this forthought.

    Another question I have is what was the motive behind Bell not figuring out what weopon Anton was using. The moment at the table with Carla, was that meant to explain to the audience what a captive bolt gun is or is the dialogue meant to show how behind on the times Bell is?

  285. Cameron, 9 years ago Reply

    What if in the hotel room Anton made the sheriff call it heads or tails?

  286. louie, 9 years ago Reply

    In my opinion those who see Anton always die. Death is all around, but we don’t know it until we see it. This is why Anton asked the accountant in the office if he could see him when the accountant asked “are you going to kill me?”. The kids that encounter Anton at the end go on living because Anton tells them “you didn’t see me”. The scene with the trailer park manager seemed to provide some sort of black humour/ comic relief to the movie. The sheriff chooses the ONLY door with the lock blown out. He does not see Anton. He goes on living, but only after he has learned a harsh and ugly truth about the world and its nature. What I want to know is what is the take on the bright building and the scene with Woody Harrelson and the big wig? What does the joke about validating his parking mean. Is this a place you can’t drive to? A place you can only reach by elevation? Who is Carson Wells? Also, why does Anton shoot at the crow before crossing the bridge? Is this a reference to something? I hope I’m articulating myself okay. I’m sort of rushing throught this as I’m at work.

  287. louie, 9 years ago Reply

    I also wanted to add that the one person who sees Anton and lives is the store clerk he plays the coin toss with. In short, the store clerk wins the toss and beats death. The universe is complex. One more bit….when Carson Wells goes to see Moss in the hospital he makes the comment ” What! you saw him and your still alive? ” Something like that….

  288. MartinLeaf, 9 years ago Reply

    First, Wells is the guardian angel of Moss. The dialogue proves this, and also a very weird chair Wells is “settin” in before he is shot forms perfect angel wings.

    The meeting with the big wig is in heaven. Thats why the scene is out of place because the scene before is noght andso is the scene after.

    Chugarh is the personification of the pure evil of Islamic terror. The ritual washing after the murder of the deputy, removing his shoes, his socks, and then getting in the ritual Islamic prayer position,to look under the bed, along with the car bombing, vehicle hijacking, ritual slaughter like cattle, the “don’t put it in your pocket” out of Muhamed Atta’s will etc…

  289. Tom Heinz, 9 years ago Reply

    C’mon folks…Anton is walking around in this world like you and I. It’s not possible for him to kill everybody who sees him. He detonates the car via the gas-bomb outside the pharmacy to get the stuff he needs to fix his wound. Scores of peope have to see him; it’s only if he’s ackowledged.

    You’re getting way out of line and perseverating on Anton being this all-consuming killer. He only kills when he needs something (to escape in the early scene when he strangled the deputy; to get a vehicle); on principle (Woody’s character, and Moss’ wife); for revenge: (the big mucky-mucky in the high-rise bldg who gave another beeper to the Mexicans who killed Moss and never found the money; see the movie twice and you’ll understand this part).

    TLJ’s character, Ed Tom Bell (by the way for those of you who in the last scene thought ETB’s wife called him Anton, say Anton and Ed Tom fast. They’re almost indistinguishable), is never after Anton. Ed Tom only wants Moss to come in and face justice because he knows Moss will be killed.

    There is no conflict (a major theme in all good art) between Ed Tom and Anton. Ed Tom knows Anton exists, but he’s not after Anton.

    The bookends of the movie re: Anton are his arrest near the beginning of the movie and the car crash near the end: he’s mortal…he can be killed. But Ed Tom’s not going to do it because he feels too…old.

  290. Nick, 9 years ago Reply

    I don’t accept that Anton is in the room when Bell enters. He’s clearly not in the room when the door opens and not in the bathroom. Maybe he’s under the bed,who knows but the coin on the floor indicates Anton has been and gone. More likely he’s in the next room but the fact is there’s no real reason to think Anton ever met Bell face to face.

    BTW Louie,Tony Soprano didn’t win,he died in that diner,he was shot by the guy in the grey jacket who went to the bathroom just before it went black. Tony’s favourite scene from The Godfather was the shooting in the restaurant when Pacino returned from the bathroom. Bobby had earliier mentioned that when it happens you wouldn’t hear it. Hence the guy went into the toilet to get his gun ready and then exited and had a direct shot at Tony,Tony would never have heard a thing.

  291. Leonardo, 9 years ago Reply

    Does anyone else noticed the scene with a huge wind noise, while nevertheless the windmill was not moving? Very disturbing.

  292. Nick, 9 years ago Reply

    Sorry Louie,I meant to say Bcart!

  293. Logan, 9 years ago Reply

    Movie was awesome, but how did the Mexicans track him to the first motel?? Anton has the tracking device by then.

  294. DJ, 9 years ago Reply

    Logan, Mexicans had a tracking device too. That’s why Anton went to the skyscraper office and blew away his boss. He was pissed that he wasn’t the only one who had the device!!

  295. Logan, 9 years ago Reply

    Ah, gotcha. Thanks!

  296. Joonas, 9 years ago Reply


    May it have anything to do with the Old Testament archetype of heaven, Israelites out of Egypt to a land flowing with milk and honey?

    TLJones partakes, his father going to prepare a place before him, a warm fire, safety from this cold, dark country. Chigur cannot drink of it.

    Is it a stretch? I haven’t seen the Coen brothers put details into a film that didn’t have meaning. The brand is “Promised Land” milk after all.

  297. Vincent O. Moh, 9 years ago Reply

    I had some sense of closure in that I knew, after seeing the end, that nobody would win.

    Anton Chigurh is doomed… either to death or to an eternal miserable existence. Here is why I say this:
    * The unbelted man likely had many internal injuries. I know he tries “fix it yourself” but I don’t think that will do him any good with internal injuries.
    * Bone out of arm – There’s no way he can really fix that – I think his arm will die or something terrible will happen to the arm
    * His injured state leaves him vulnerable to arrest
    * Since his arm is out of commission he cannot use his air gun
    * He did a similar act of desperation used by Llewyn Moss!

    It would be funny if someone filmed a sequence of Chigurh at the hospital, and the nurse tells him “Oh, I’ll fix your arm and put your bone back in, but I must tell you that anethesia is optional! Here, I’ll give you some…” and she presents a coin… “if you win this coin toss! After all, it’s your style!”

    And then it goes downhill from there…

  298. jdolan, 9 years ago Reply

    I read some of the comments (too many to read all of them) and wanted to share my opinion.
    First, I’ve seen this movie was hands down the best film I’ve seen this year. Everything about it including acting, deep rooted theme dealing with the depths of a seemingly faltering and unraveling humanity, plot development, cinematography and yes, the controversial ending, are brilliant.
    Anton’s character is the definition of complexity. He does meet the definition of a psychopath, but at the same time, there is a definitive method to his madness.
    With the man at the gas station, Anton almost chokes on a nut and seems disturbed to discover that the attendant has come to own the store by way of marriage. You can almost see the tension in Anton due to the precariousness of how the old man came to be there in front of him. He is weighing whether this man deserves to die for no other reason than the fact that he came to be there in front of him by way of following a path someone chose for him.
    Anton has a difficult time dealing with anyone who is not willing to make a choice. I think the reason the attendant is given a choice at a coin flip is because he didn’t always work at a gas station; He raised a family in Temple. The coin flip saves the store attendant because he is willing to make a decision at that point, and does not allow his fate to be decided by an outside party. Not that the idea that the coin has traveled 22 years to get there, and that the coin holds a significance over other coins actually makes logical sense, but it does make sense to Anton. He said, “Don’t put it in your pocket sir, it is your lucky coin, but still, it is just a coin.”
    Also, the conversation about the time of closing follows a logical train of thought. He does not kill indiscriminately just because he needs something, although he does kill for this purpose several times. He kills those who disagree with his understanding of the world. The world to him requires choice, and the fate of those he encounters has to do with the decisions people make and the journey it takes them on. The same is true for Wells, as Anton explains to him “If the road you followed brought you to this, of what use was the road?”
    The same can be argued for Carla Jean. Anton states that it was the decision of Llewelyn that Anton come to kill her. She replies that he doesn’t have to do this and that his thoughts do not make sense. His response is that Llewelyn had the opportunity to save her, but instead he used her to save himself. I think this is yet another facet of the depths of Anton. The idea that the choices we make decide our fate are in constant flux with the notion that we can’t stop what’s coming to us. Carla Jean does offer a wonderful conflicting argument to Anton’s by stating “The coin don’t have no say. It’s just you.” Then she refuses to chose, which proves to Anton that the road she was led down did lead her to him, but it is not due to her indecision in getting to that point. She is a subscriber to the notion that her fate lies with him, and he has the power to chose whether she lives or dies, not the other way around. She doesn’t understand that the actions of Anton ideally, should not be pre-dispositioned. His rules should not be dictated by chance, but instead by his own choice. As both she and Wells share the line, “You don’t have to do this,” but Anton has already decided as to why he must carry out his task. This puts her fate back in Anton’s hands. I think she was given a choice because Anton felt that Llewelyn’s choice of taking the money over her did not give her an option. She was brought into the chaos indiscriminately.
    If Llewelyn had given Anton the money, he would not have been there to kill her, but since he gave Llewelyn his word, the principal sticks and he must abide to his own rule. Keep in mind the road Llewelyn took to get to his own death. He found 2 million dollars by chance, but chose to take it. That decision, that pivotal point, led him down the path to his own death. Anton does not kill indiscriminately. He does so with purpose and reason. It is always a conscious choice.
    By the way, I went back and watched the scene where Anton is supposedly in the hotel room with Bell, and I believe he is in the room. First off, you can see the light through the keyhole on the scene with Anton hiding. Also, Anton may or may not have a tendency to go through windows, as the window is opened right before he kills Carla Jean, and she stares out it perplexed.. But this we know. Anton isn’t afraid to walk into and out of any place, so the window theory doesn’t hold shape well. Also, the window which Bell focuses on in the bathroom at the hotel is locked. Maybe he’s hiding in the closet, or maybe he slips out the front door when Bell’s in the bathroom. But he makes a conscious decision not to kill Bell. Was it because he finally had what he’d been chasing after? Did Anton have some twisted code which Bell fit the bill for? I’m not certain.
    To argue with previous responses about Anton’s purpose being the angel of death, if this were the case, why would he pay for gas, or even engage in a dialog with the attendant. Why would Wells’ character know Anton, and know about him? Shouldn’t he of been dead if Wells had met him? And what about the two men who were shot out in the desert? They seemed to have a dialog with him, and to of known him from somewhere.
    The ending of the film, was symbolic of marrow of the movie itself. Bell driving up to the scene of the bandits driving off, and bullet shells strewn all over the place does exactly what the film is trying to convey; That life is unexpected and uncontrollable, and you can’t always see what’s going to happen next. This was as refreshing of an ending as I’ve ever seen.
    For a climax, the scene with Ellis will suffice for me. Bell talks of not understanding the modern world, and of not understanding the nature behind the violence he’s seen. He admits to not having felt God in his life, but Ellis responds that Bell cannot know that for certain. Wells also understands this uncertainty, as he explains right before Anton shoots him, that Anton can not know for certain that the satchel will be brought to him.
    The story of Uncle Max shows that this seemingly new strain of violence which Bell sees in fact isn’t something new. Greed is part of human nature, as is a history of violence. Bell admits to feeling over-matched, but Ellis tells this story to show that Bell’s notion that he has some sort of control over this greed or this violence that is embedded into us is self indulgent. Bell didn’t chose the time he was born and lived his life, and the thought that he can control the world around him is a vain notion, as Ellis put it.
    The world we live in doesn’t have a storybook ending, and it doesn’t always make sense. It’s not linear, and often times we may feel that we’re out in a storm in the middle of the night with no one but the light of our elders to guide us. But Bell knew that there was a fire somewhere out in the dark waiting for him. Maybe that’s his version of God.

  299. rob g., 9 years ago Reply

    First – FANTASTIC Movie with an atypical but thought provoking ending.

    A few other thoughts –

    MONEY – money itself is a character and is displayed in many purposes. Most prominently as the Biblical “Root of all Evil” but also for it’s utility (used to open the vent covers by Anton and by the primary characters to purchase needed items), it’s role in gambling and games of chance or fate (Anton’s offer of the coin flip),and it’s abilty to corrupt the hearts of people of all ages (the college kids returning from Mexico who start bartering with Moss for the beer after taking $500 for a coat AND the two kids on the bikes who start arguing over whether or not the money Anton paid for the shirt should be split between them) and of course Moss himself.

    Anton’s Identity – I believe Anton represents The Grim Reaper / Death itself. He awaits everyone at some point but it may be according to their individual destiny, fate, dumb luck, or choice. He is doggedly determined but also patient knowing that he will catch up to everyone eventually and some will never know just how narrowly they escaped him. He is absolutely indiscriminate in killing…guilt or innocence have no bearing at all nor does social status.

    Carla’s Fate – I believe she is killed based solely on the fact that the Coen Brothers give us a clue by showing Anton check both of his boots (most likely for blood stains) as he leaves her house. This is further supported by the fact that he removed his boots prior to entering the first hotel room and leaving his socks after killing the three Mexican’s who were after Moss. Choose her own fate or not, Carla would meet Death eventually and Death was incredulous at the idea that someone would not seek to put him off when given the option.

    Bell at the Hotel – I think enough has been written about this so I won’t elaborate much. I believe Anton was in the room for reasons that most others have already identified. As for why he didn’t kill Bell I think it may be that Bell was the only character (of the main characters) who KNEW that Death was inevitable or had at least resigned himself to the fact that, considering his impending retirement, Death would be his next MAJOR “life” event. Death didn’t NEED to take him then and there…but Death would be waiting patiently.

    Black Humor – Death, though not killed, is not itself immune from irony (overpaying for items of clothing that become immediately necessary just like Moss) or chance/fate (being seriously injured in a freak car accident after surviving many far more dangerous and intentionally violent encounters).

    Overall “No Country” is a terrific, thought provoking movie chock full of literary symbology that, like a fine vintage wine, leaves a satisfying aftertaste and challenges typical Hollywood cliches and formulas.

  300. AMG, 9 years ago Reply

    I Think the money was the harbinger of death. Everyone associated with it was killed. If you assume Antaun has the money at the end, then the car accident makes sense.

  301. Girondin, 9 years ago Reply

    FOR ALL THE PEOPLE WHO SAID THAT ANTON and/or the sheriff found the money in the motel room :



  302. Martin Leaf, 9 years ago Reply

    Study the hand washing very carefully after AC murders the deputy. It is Islamic Ritual hand washing, just like the Islamic Terrorist murderers do.

  303. Tom Heinz, 9 years ago Reply

    Ok people: you’re going off the deep end. Girondin: Moss gets the satchel of money after he leaves the hospital. EVERYBODY knows this.

    Martin Leaf: it’s not symbolic. After you’ve killed a deputy, it’s probably a good idea to wash your hands. You can talk about the Islamic ritual, but 800 years prior, Pontius Pilate was washing his, guilty over condeming Jeus to death.

  304. Steve R., 9 years ago Reply

    I’ve been reading this site off and on since it began. Best site for analyzing this movie.

    Great commentary by jdolan on March 29. To anyone who doesn’t quite understand the ending, I highly recommend you read it.

    Some scattered observations. Forgive me if it belabors issues that have already been thoroughly discussed.

    Anton obviously got the money. That’s made clear when Sheriff Bell notices the vent in the hotel room has been unscrewed. That’s where the money was.

    It’s also obvious Anton killed Carla Jean. That’s made clear when Anton checks his shoes. He evidently doesn’t like getting blood on his shoes, as he demonstrates when he moves them as Wells’s blood spreads on the floor toward them after he’s shot Wells. Too bad Anton isn’t as conscious of his hair.

    A parenthetical. In Miller’s Crossing, there is a lot of symbolism involving heads and feet: hat’s, baldness, wearing a toupee, and being fast on one’s feet. It set up a dichotomy and conflict between being a man of thought and a man of action.

    Back to the movie. Wells’s role is a bit hard to factor in to the larger story. I suspect that he represents one of the variations on human hubris: the Professional who overestimates his own ability and underestimates the forces working against him.

    A question: Why does Moss call Wells in the first place? The only reason would be because he wanted to make a deal to hand over the money in exchange for Wells protecting him and his wife from Anton. That demonstrates that Moss was willing to give up the money to protect his wife. That he got Anton on the phone instead left Moss no choice but to run with his wife.

    Another question: Has anyone commented on the significance of animals in the movie? There are cats, dogs, horses, chickens, deer, and cows. Anton hunts a human while Moss hunts a deer. Sheriff Bell and his deputy still use horses to go into the wilderness while the drug gang uses ATVs for hosres and dogs as weapons. We don’t see any cows in the West, but Anton uses a cow-killing device as a weapon and Sheriff Bell tells a story about killing cows. Wise, wounded Uncle Bill takes in feral cats.

  305. Martin Leaf, 9 years ago Reply

    The hand washing is Islamic Terror. No soap. Why not ? No hot water, why not ? Washing three times ? Up to the wrist ?

    Why is the scene even there ? How does it add to the story ? Think.

    Combine that with taking off shoes and socks and then getting into the islamic prayer position, to look under the bed. That was written in for a reason.


  306. jdolan, 9 years ago Reply

    Steve R,

    I also noticed the significance of the animals in the movie.

    What about milk? Anton sure likes to waist it. Maybe he doesn’t like cows, or anything they produce. :)

    He leaves the milk on the table for Bell to find, and then once again, he spoils the milk for the cat at the hotel attendant’s desk by kicking over the bowl. Both instances, milk is not actually waisted, due to Bell and the cat both continuing to drink.

    Maybe Anton never got breast fed as a child and has mom issues, and subconsciously wants to waist milk. What about the fact that he seems to have no qualms about bringing death, or destroying life? That could have something to do with it…

    BTW, I think you’re absolutely correct about Moss wanting to give the money back in order to save himself. Otherwise, why would he of called? But Moss had to be a hard-ass Vietnam Vet and act like he could take Anton, and anyone else who got in his way. I think this is part of the reoccurring theme of vanity, and was the reason of Moss’ demise in the end. Moss is a hunter, this is established for sure. But what happens when he starts to become hunted? His ego steps in, and he can’t back down.

    A couple other things I’ve noticed: When Anton is in the trailer, looking at his reflection on the TV, what is he looking at? I suggest that the contrast between the light behind him and the shadow he casts makes him out to be some sort of dark angel or dark being. That’s all I can come up with. And then Bell sits in the same spot drinking the same milk (without using a glass or worrying about backwash–gross-or did he use a glass…), and says, “(Moss) has seen the same things I’ve seen, and it’s certainly made an impression upon me…” He’s maybe looking at his own dark outline in the TV, and thinking maybe about his own abandonment from God, or maybe he’s thinking about how he knows Anton’s been there and had the same dark outline. Maybe this is a way of the film letting us inside Bell’s head visually… Bell understands only that there is something dark out there hunting Moss. Anyone else have an opinion on this scene?

    Lastly, I don’t know about Islamic rituals, as I’m not educated about them, but I have read Cormac McCarthy before, and I don’t think this story is about classifying the character of Anton in that way. Does anyone know why Anton would kill indiscriminately, and still have some connection with God? What about his desire to acquire money? Does this fit into a religious subcategory? He certainly doesn’t have any type of suicidal plot schemed.

    I just think that the characters are more than two-dimensional in this story, and in other stories I’ve read by McCarthey. Really, the author doesn’t like to necessarily classify people as basic good and evil. Moss, Carla, Bell, Wells and even Anton are complex beings driven by a multitude of factors.

    I think McCarthy tells stories in which humanity as a whole can relate. We all have seen greed, lust, envy and vanity. There are examples of generosity and selfless action. (Man with the chickens, boy who give Anton his shirt before he has the money…Although, once the boy has the money, it changes him…) Once again, I will resort back to Bell at the end of the movie. He claims that he doesn’t understand this new world, but Ellis states that “What you got ain’t nothing new.” We’ve been this way for a long time, is what he means. It’s in our nature, and McCarthy’s take, I believe, is that we can be ugly or beautiful and anything in between.

  307. Matt, 9 years ago Reply

    I can’t piece it all together but I really think this is the Sheriff’s dream. I don’t know how his father died so young… but perhaps he was killed in duty?

    His dad is Bell trying to escape death. He is trying to find his father. The two never meet up until the one is dead.

    The movie has several glitches, well not glitches… but dream like “mistakes” and changes. Bell tells his wife to tell his mom he loves her? He would know she’s dead. This is a bit out there and would only occur in a dream.

    The scene with him behind the door waiting to kill him? Simply did not happen.

    No one was in the car that hit the killer in the end! It was just random. But the same things… offering money, shirt, same symbols were present to show this was a dream.

  308. Norm Schrager, 9 years ago Reply

    - Steve R. –

    Just wanted to say thanks for the flattering comments. Hope you’re enjoying the rest of the site as well. If not — or if so — please let us know.

    -Norm S. (Meet In the Lobby)

  309. Phillip, 9 years ago Reply

    I have watched the movie a few times now, and have examined a few scenes that have really interested me, namely those involving the Sherrif. While sitting in the diner with Lou Ellen’s wife there is a lot of obvious symmetry. The honey at their table is half full, a symbol for Lou Ellen, his wife’s missing piece (not only that but he dies soon after). Behind the wife you see lots of light and color, but behind the sherrif there is nothing but darkness, a couple of old men, and a half open door. You see another half open door behind him while he is talking to the deputy in another diner scene. What I interpret the door as meaning is that he is half in and half out of this world. He sees what happens, but lacks the will or possibly the abiility to cross into it. He has been left behind, and has taken on the role as a spectator in the game we call life.

  310. Thanatos Savehn, 9 years ago Reply

    I really enjoyed the movie – so much so that I bought it on blu-ray and reviewed several of the scenes at 1/16th speed. Perhaps the most interesting thing I learned is that people tend to see things. For example, it’s quite obvious that the lock on door 112 is NOT punched out. Then there are the marks inside the vent in room 114 (113). Not the sort of marks a litigation brief case would leave – and, judging by the depth of the opening (as measured by the nearby outlet plate, there’s no way the case would have fit within. Then there’s the door to room 114. It actually does bounce back a bit as Bell pushes it in and it’s quite obvious no one is behind it.

    I did find one very interesting clue. The license plate on the cab in front of the one that takes Lewellyn to the first motel is the same as the one on Carla Jeans mother’s car. J8R725. Get it?

  311. JG, 9 years ago Reply

    When the sheriff walks into room 114, there is a painting on the wall to the right of him. You can see it for a good while before he walks into the bathroom. It’s looks like a orange city scape.

    Does anyone know anything about that painting???????????

    I ask because i have one just like it. I picked it up at a garage sale about 10 years ago and have never been able to find who the artist was or where it came from. That painting in the movie looks exactly like it.

  312. Tom, 9 years ago Reply

    The meaning of the final scene involving the two dreams concerns TLJ’s losing struggle to understand / comprehend the world and his place in it. In the opening scene of the movie, TLJ states that it is “hard to take its measure” when assessing modern crime. TLJ also recounts the older sheriffs and states he tried to learn as much as he could from them (but it still is not enough for him to comprehend what’s occurring now).
    Near the end of the movie when talking to Uncle Ellis, TLJ states he feels “overmatched”, but is not clear about why he is retiring at that moment. There is a vague sense to it. He also says that he thought God would come into his life as got older, but God did not and TLJ does not blame God for that (suggesting that TLJ does not think himself worthy of God’s attention). Without God in his life, TLJ is haunted by the lack of meaning to his life.
    Finally, in the second dream TLJ tells us it is dark, cold, at night, they are in a mountain pass and his father rides by without saying a word to him. This is sublty stressed that his father says nothing to him as he rides by (provides no answers). TLJ knows that his father is riding out ahead to light a fire in all that darkness and TLJ will join him there. That meeting symbolizes TLJ’s death and reuniting with his father where he may/will get answers and the unknown will become known. The ride on the horses in the darkness symbollizes life or our journey. TLJ says he then “woke up” which means he is back to being in the dark without answers to those fundamental questions that he cannot answer.

  313. James, 9 years ago Reply

    Fantastic Movie. I think you have to be a fan of Coen Bros to really understand the various nuiances in this flick. The audience is left to assume much here. But I think the Coen’s gave us all the information we need to figure out what occurred. Of course, Chigur got the loot. Chigur handing the kids $100 is there to solidify that thought. Of course Mrs. Moss is killed by Chigur. Chigur doing his trademark checking for blood on his boots, is done to help us form that conclusion. MY ONLY QUESTION IS who killed Lewelyn Moss? I am not so sure the Mexican thugs killed him. He was shot, in what looked like his neck. The throat shot was a Chigur trademark.

  314. Tom Heinz, 9 years ago Reply

    Response to James: it was Mexican thugs who killed Moss. Remember when Chigurh killed the big mucky-muck in his office? It was because he had given them a homer device also.

    And I’m not so sure throat shots are Chigurh’s trademark when he’s killing people with a pneumatic cattle device to the forehead.

  315. Farrah, 9 years ago Reply

    I have to agree with Ray about the movie. It was excellent.
    But to make the point of the story, I will recap.
    This story is about how violence and greed will consume the earth, leaving it a vast empty desert. Jones’ character does recount 2 dreams. One was in the present and he lost some money, but doesn’t relly remember. And the other was the ride with his father, and his father rode on into the cold dark night, where he knew he would have a warm fire waiting for him. Then he woke up.
    Yes, this does point out his hopeless view he has about the fate of the world.
    Most people forget about the conversation between Jones and Corbin (Ellis). Jones said that he was retiring because it was too overwhelming. Ellis then tells him about the story of how his Uncle died from a shotgun wound by a band of outlaws. He then goes on to say’ “Whatcha got ain’t nothin new. This country’s hard on people, you can’t stop what’s coming, it ain’t all waiting on you. That’s vanity.”
    When I was young, I used to get so upset at what what was going on in the world, with this war and that. I told my mom that life was so scary, and how come she wasn’t so scared. She said, “There is always something for every generation. When I was growing up, we had to hide under our desks at school because the Germans were going to bomb us. There will always be something horrible that you have to live in. That’s just life.”
    Basically, the shit hits the fan everyday. And there is nothing you can do about it, because something else will take its place. When we let it go, and live our life, one day we will die, and there will be a warm fire waiting for us.

  316. Simcoe, 9 years ago Reply

    Many people didn’t like this movie. This is understandable if you saw the movie as a very interesting chase story set in western style, and then suffered a huge letdown when there was no final showdown between the apparent protagonist and the bad guy, the other good guy fails to nab the bad guy, the bad guy gets away, and then the ending leaves them flat. But that is not what this movie is about.

    The movie is an allegory about death, how we see it (or don’t), how we face it (Moss), how it comes to us, what control we have over it (Carla Jean), and how we value our own worth in the contemplation of it (Bell). What’s truly genius about this movie is how the Coens relate this broader meaning into a very exciting chase story.

    Chigurh is a symbol of death. His appearance, that fact that he rarely changes clothes, appears suddenly at places without explanation as to how he arrived all indicate an otherworldly presence. His odd dialog and philosophy make much more sense if you view him in this context. He is present at all on-screen deaths. Why? Because he’s a witness to death, but he’s not the cause of it. He’s the grim reaper with shroud and scythe. He’s death and he’s there to take the person, but he’s not the cause of the death.

    Now to make the movie work as an allegory the Coens had to integrate Chigurh as a human into the chase story. That there were able to accomplish this is a testament to their filmmaking genius and the reason they won all the awards. This is why the Coens purposely showed several scenes to depict Chigurh with human qualities, suffering pain, mending his wounds, choking on a cashew etc. Otherwise the story becomes a fantasy with Chigurh as some sort of superhuman comic book character and the Coens didn’t want that.

    The moment where Bell pushes the motel room door open is the last moment of his life, the double shadow is symbolic of his spirit leaving his body. The rest of the scene and his visit to Uncle Ellis represent Bell’s transition into the afterlife. The tool (dime) being left on the floor, and not in Chigurh’s pocket, indicates his task was not complete and Chigurh was interrupted by Bell’s approach to the door.

    Ultimately it doesn’t matter where Chigurh was in the hotel room or at what point Bell’s life ended. It’s like arguing about whether the boy saw one wolf or two in “The Boy who Cried Wolf”. It’s a detail that regardless of its nature does not alter the broader meaning of the story the author is trying to relate.

    The final two scenes with Bell represent his journey into the afterlife. The first, a visit to his dead uncle and the second, a recounting of his failures in life. As we ponder death do we not question our value in life? This is the conversation he relates to his dead uncle.

    The final scene with Bell is also telling. The word “retired” is a euphemism for “dead”. Moss was a retired welder, Carla Jean retired from WalMart, Wells a retired Army colonel, and the retired Uncle Ellis are all dead. Bell desires to remain with his wife, to go riding with her, but she says “I can’t, I’m not retired (dead). Bells two dreams lament his life and his future. His father gave him some money and he lost it. His father passed down the legacy of a lawman and entrusted him to protect his people (Moss and his wife), a job he failed miserably at. The second dream relates his father movement into heaven as he goes ahead of Bell carrying the light and the warmth. Bell knows his father is waiting for him and wants to get there but can’t. The fact that he wakes up before reaching his father, the warmth and the light, and is stuck in the dark and the cold, indicate Bell feels he isn’t worthy to join his father.

    The whole idea of Bell joining his father was foreshadowed in the comment Moss made to Carla Jean about his dead mother: “Well, then I’ll tell her myself”.

    Moss was a thrill seeker who challenged death. He did not return to drug deal scene to bring the Mexican some water. He couldn’t have cared less about this dying drug dealer, who most likely would have been dead when Moss returned anyway. That was just an excuse in his own mind to justify his return to the excitement of the hunt, of the chase. Moss was an unemployed welder who longed for the excitement of Vietnam, exemplified by his volunteering for a second tour of duty. He thought himself quite the hunter and tracker. Finding the money and running with it was the most excitement he had experienced since Vietnam.

    When Carla Jean tells him she has a bad feeling about this Moss says: “Well I have a good one”. He enjoyed it! Moss disregarded the warning of two guardian angels, the first being the black man who picked him up hitchhiking. The man warns Moss “You shouldn’t be doing that”. Why does Moss ask the man, who theoretically can’t have any idea what Moss has been up to, to clarify what he meant? Because Moss suspects the man is talking about running with the money. Which of course he is. Moss ignores the warning.

    The second angel Wells (note angel wings as he sits across from Chigurh) gives Moss an even more explicit warning to include the consequences of his actions, causing the death of both himself and his wife. Again, Moss rejects the advice but possibly changes his mind, sadly too late. The death of Wells, his disintegrated angels wings visible floating down as dust, signify the ultimate end for Moss. Then Chigurh’s comment to Moss tells him that his guardian angel is no longer there to help him “Carson Wells is not here in the sense that you mean” and then right after, “You need to come see me”, indicating that Moss needs to be visited by death (is going to die).

    Chigurh did not go to Carla Jean’s mother’s house to kill Carla Jean. He appeared there (as death) because she killed herself. That is why earlier in the movie Chigurh remarks to Moss, “It doesn’t matter where she is”. If Chigurh intended to set out and kill Carla Jean, why wouldn’t it matter where she is? How would he find her? The reason Chigurh isn’t concerned about finding Carla Jean is because death finds us all, one way or another.

    Carla Jean returns from the funeral and sits at the dining room table. As she looks out the window, her look of sorrow and depression reflect her situation. She has no money. She has bills to pay. Her husband’s death has left her a widow with no means of support. This is what runs through her mind as she sits at the table, and is brought to the screen for the viewers’ benefit in her “conversation” with Chigurh. As she contemplates suicide Chigurh appears, their “conversation” is a metaphor for Carla Jean’s inner struggle as to whether to kill herself now or let her future existence be subject to rotten hand of cards she has been dealt (i.e fate). Chigurh is arguing for the latter, but loses the argument. She chooses to take her life now, at a time of her choosing (represented by her refusal to call the coin toss) rather than die later as a result of the fate her husband doomed her to, a lifetime of misery and poverty followed by death anyway. Carla Jean’s testament of free will rocks Chigurh’s world. All he can manage to say is “Call it” with more emphasis. She has upset “the rule he has followed”. His rules are then symbolically killed in the car crash. Chigurh’s rule set is killed but as death he is resurrected and continues on, walking down the street, passing into the tree of life, as death is and always will be a part of life. Death can never be killed.

    Carla Jean’s lesson learned from Bell was that in the contest between man and steer, nothing is certain, a lesson she bequeaths to Chigurh. He learns it the hard way, losing the use of his arm, just as Charlie Walser had in his contest with the steer.

    The fact that Chigurh left Carla Jean’s house without a weapon is further indication her death came internally (i.e. by her own hand) and was not caused by an external force (typically depicted in the movie as Chigurh shooting someone, strangling someone, or striking someone with a vehicle or cattle gun). If Carla Jean died from something other than her own hand, Chigurh would have departed with a weapon.

  317. Chumpy, 9 years ago Reply

    Let me get this straight: this whole thing is an “allegory”? And Anton represents “Death”? Why is it no one else here had this insight? Please, keep the new posts coming – this blog can finally evolve, as it should, into A Belated Celebration of Remarkably Clever People.

  318. Martin Leaf, 9 years ago Reply

    I assume you are being facetious Chumpy. Simcoe has made a good attempt to understand the movie. I take it from her writing style she is a high school student.

    The problem with Chigurh as death is that he does not kill the trailer park lady, he does not kill Moss, he does not kill Bell (despite the idea that Bell is dead after the Desert Sands Motel, but we don’t know it, and Bell goes to his uncle that is mad that he is “quittin”, even though he is dead, as well as the Uncle? huh ?).

    Chigurh does not even kill the raven, despite shooting at it, or Art the gas station owner, and Chigurh is even injured twice.

    Unlike Chumpy, I would urge you not to give up on your attempts to understand the movie. Another idea might be to read what other people are saying about the movie, or read some books or internet articles on film.

    Don’t feel bad, many people do not understand this film.

  319. CD, 9 years ago Reply

    Martin Leaf, your comment on Simcoe is quite condescending in that you assume from her writing style her age and therefore ignorance. Her post was far more well-written than yours!

    Chighur does represent death, as she so aptly pointed out, with his cold philosophy and lack of normal human conscience. Note he shares the same first name as the author of the Satanic Bible, Anton Levay. My first thought upon noticing this was that he must be the devil. But death is a far better conclusion in my opinion.

    Just because not everyone he comes into contact with dies, does not negate this idea. Death comes for everyone, but not all at the same time. The concept of the Grimm Reaper follows this same logic.

    To be honest, I have not seen the movie. I did, however, just finish the book, which was quick but excellent. According to the written work, Chighur does kill all his victims. I would also say that Sheriff Bell is alive at the end. The conversation he has with his uncle is probably what the title is derived from, and the novel takes on a whole other level politically in relation to the “good old days.” He also has an incredible confession about an award he received in WWII. This, combined with the lack of competence he feels in the shadow of his father’s life, help him to realize his whole existence after the war has been an attempt to make up for it by carrying out law enforcement, which he admits his best still wasn’t good enough (the same as in the war, in another country), hence there is no place for his philosophies to exist–No country for old men.

    These shortcomings of the old men in the movie combined with the downfall of traditional American patriotism (in Bell’s opinion due to drugs, the desire for such, and the major mistakes our country has made) also lend to the title. Brilliant novel. I can’t wait to see the movie.

  320. Martin Leaf, 9 years ago Reply

    There is style and then there is substance. Your contribution lacks substance because you have not seen the movie., so it is arrogant and cynical of you to even comment on the movie.

    As for the substance of Simcoe, her simplistic idea that Chigurh represents “death” would be a ‘B” or “C” for a high school essay, at best, but it makes no sense considering what the movie is about. Maybe after you watch the movie, you will have something worthwhile to add.

  321. Slickster, 9 years ago Reply

    Just saw the movie last night and loved it, including the ending… I sat up for 20 minutes just trying to figure out what happened to the money.
    There are some really good in-depth post on here about all the allegory stuff, but here are my quick and simple thoughts.
    1) Psycho killer got the money because he came back after the cops had left and he knew that Lewallen would hide it in the air duct.
    2) Tommy Lee Jones comes back to the hotel room because he knows the psycho killer will come looking for he money.
    3) You are expecting a kill or be killed confortation between Jones and Psycho Killer in the hotel room, but it fades out as Jones sees the vent cover on the floor …
    4) In next scene, Jones visits the old-timer Sheriff that had been shot and paralyzed.. (remember at the beginning his voice over was about how he like to listen to the old timers) and their conversation is primarily about Uncle Bob or whoever who was an old timer shot and killed by outlaws. Jones says “when did he die” and the guy says 1909 and Jones says, “No, I mean that night or the next day, how long did it take to die?
    Jones made a deal with the Psycho Killer in the motel room, letting him go so he could live. Now, however he retires and he is waiting until his actual deal. He tells his wife about a dream about his dead father, going up ahead of him and making a fire and waiting for him. Jones is going to join his father in death.
    4) Psycho Killer tracks down Lewallen’s wife and kills her because of his “principals”.. (Woody Harrelson’s chacter talked about it) He had given Lewallen a choice to let her live which he didn’t take.
    He also likes to do the coin flip of death because he likes to see how fate will play out. The only time he really gets rattled during the movie are when the old man in the store and Lewallen’s wife refuse to play his game…. after killing her (you know because he wipes off his boots on the porch from the blood) he gets hit by a car in a random act.

  322. Tom Heinz, 9 years ago Reply

    To Slickster and others….the least important part of this movie is what happens to the money. The money means nothing, and is only meant to be a vehicle for the i(phenomenal) nteraction of the others.

    I think Tommie Lee Jones is drawn back to the motel for the same reason Josh Brolin returned to the scene of the crime (ostensibly to give that guy water): they were fascinated by the surreality of it all.

    Forget the money.

  323. CD, 9 years ago Reply

    All hail Martin Leaf! Giver and taker of substance; grader of online posts; chat room GOD!

    You must be a sophomore in college.

  324. Norm Schrager, 9 years ago Reply

    - CD, Martin –

    I’m still tuning in to this enormous string after all these months… and I’m definitely staying out of this conversation. Just be peaceful to each other.

    Norm S. (Meet In the Lobby)

  325. CD, 9 years ago Reply

    Alright, Martin, I’ve seen the movie. Do my comments have substance now?

  326. Martin Leaf, 9 years ago Reply

    So you have seen the movie and your comments are the same as before you saw the movie ? Is that what you’re asking me?

  327. Tom Heinz, 9 years ago Reply

    To CD and Martin Leaf: CD, in your review you state you hadn’t seen the movie, and I have to agree with Martin that you had no business writing a review based on just reading the book.

    And Martin’s subsequent comment is key: now that you’ve seen the movie, are your comments still the same?

  328. CD, 9 years ago Reply


  329. Martin H. Leaf, 9 years ago Reply

    From Simcoe:

    “He is present at all on-screen deaths. Why? Because he’s a witness to death, but he’s not the cause of it. He’s the grim reaper with shroud and scythe. He’s death and he’s there to take the person, but he’s not the cause of the death.”
    Then in the same “review” by Simcoe:
    The fact that Chigurh left Carla Jean’s house without a weapon is further indication her death came internally (i.e. by her own hand) and was not caused by an external force (typically depicted in the movie as Chigurh shooting someone, strangling someone, or striking someone with a vehicle or cattle gun). If Carla Jean died from something other than her own hand, Chigurh would have departed with a weapon.

    Huh ?

  330. Tom Heinz, 9 years ago Reply

    Oh for God’s sake, Carla Jean didn’t kill herself. If Chigurh is death personified, he doesn’t have to leave the killing place with a weapon. And Chigurh isn’t present at all on-screen deaths; one of the most important points of the movie is that he isn’t linked to the initial drug massacre. It’s implied, but he’s not there.

  331. Mike, 9 years ago Reply

    Am I the only one who thinks that perhaps the sherriff somehow got away with the money?

  332. Tom Heinz, 9 years ago Reply

    To Mike: Yes

  333. Anton, 9 years ago Reply

    The arm never heal correctly, I got the money. As for the ending……Oh that was ART!

  334. Brad, 9 years ago Reply

    I agree with a previous poster. I think Ed Tom and Anton are the same person.

    A few comparisons/points to think about:

    1. Ed Tom and Anton’s names sound very similar
    2. Ed Tom and Anton both limp on their left leg
    3. Both characters have a old injury/injure their left arms
    4. Both characters step over/avoid blood getting on their shoes.
    5. Ed Tom admits god never came into his life because he had been “bad”
    6. Ed Tom knew the location of Llewelynn from Carla Jean. He was already at this location with his patrol care before Carla Jean even though she flew to it. Was he already close because he was Anton and chasing the money? or was it a fluke?

  335. Martin Leaf, 9 years ago Reply

    That good ole flying bus.

  336. Julie, 9 years ago Reply

    What about the three young men that Moss encounters after crossing the border – One of the young men seems insistent on knowing if he was in a car accident. He doesn’t just ask once. A car crash toward the end seems the only event that rattle Anton. Just an observation.

  337. Bama, 9 years ago Reply

    Did anyone else notice the recurring number 13? Moss stays in rooms 138, 213 and Wells mentions that the building numbers are off. As most people know, they do not have a thirteenth floor in most buildings. It skips to 14. At the end, Moss stays in room 114 with 112 next to it. Anton is clearly behind the door to the room when Ed Tom walks in. Hence, he is a “ghost” in 113. That’s why you don’t see him when the door is opened. But he is there. Count the cats in the second scene after that. 13! With an emphasis on the 13th. When Carla Jean’s mom dies, she is 58. 5 plus 8.

    Great movie. If you can’t appreciate the ending then you don’t realize what really is happening.

    When Ed Tom visits his relative in the wheel chair, he’s just been shot. Most likely in the left lung. That’s why he asked how long it took “Uncle Mac” to die. He died in the night. He’s dead when he is talking to his wife in the last scene.

  338. martin leaf, 9 years ago Reply

    Here is what that scene really means, based on a deleted scene. First, in the book, Art is married to the trailer park lady. Who is the boss in that marriage? The coens cut out a scene from NCFOM. Here is that deleted scene:

    Art is so overwhelmed by Chigurh, that he wants to be just like Chigurh (Stockholm syndrome). Art walks to the house out back , and his wife, the trailer park lady says “you had a rough day hunny”?

    Art: What business is that of yours?

    Trailer Lady : I didn’t mean nuttin by it..

    Art: You didn’t mean nuttin by it

    Trailer: Dinner is ready

    Art: We having the usual slop ?

    Trailer: If thats the way you want to put it

    Art: I have no way to put it, Thats the way it is, WIFE-O

    Art: What’s the most you ever lost in a coin toss ?

    Trailer: Can’t say


    Trailer: I’m not at liberty to give no information about my gambling…

    {This goes on }

    {Suddenly the toilet flushes, and Chigurh walks out of the bathroom}

    Chigurh winks at the trailer park lady, who is blushing, and says to Art: She picked the one right tool for the right job.

  339. Neil, 9 years ago Reply

    what a great movie! its so wonderfull to have a movie that has me guessing at the meaning of things!

    some points i’d like to put out there, all of which are only my modest opinion (and my bad spelling!)

    1st: it was not Chigurh behind the door of room 114 in the motel in El Passo. It was Moss. Chigurh did not wear a mustash, and the face shown behind the door clearly did.

    2nd: it was not Moss laying dead on the floor of the motel in El Passo. there are subtle differences in the details of the shirt on the dead man as compared to the last shirt we see Moss wearing. the face is a differnt man’s face also.

    3rd: it was Moss who was driving the car that side smashed Chigurh’s car after Carla Jean is (presumably) killed. Moss seems to have been killed in the crash. It was the resolution of the “special project” Moss promised to make of Chigurh when they talked on the phone. Moss’s basic incompetence had him crash into Chigurh’s car from the wrong side. (Moss’s basic incompetence had him return to the crime scene bringing water to an already dead man.) Chigurh’s basic competence had him get away from the sheriff early in the movie and also stumble away from the crash just before the end of the movie.

    4: Bell’s basic competence is shown in his perceptive monologes at both beginning and end of the movie.

    5: Carla Jean was the big hero to me thru out the movie. Her presumtive death at the end is reflected in Ellis’s monologe near the end of the movie.


  340. Tom Heinz, 9 years ago Reply

    To Neil,
    OKay, let’s settle down. It was Chigurh behind the door in the motel. Watch it again. There’s no mustache.

    Moss is killed in the motel by the renegade Mexicans hired by the mucky-mucky in the big office building (the guy who Chigurh killed because the mucky mucky gave the Miexicans another beeper-picker-upper).

    You don’t get to see Moss’ face, but his shirt is the same and….for the rest of the movie he’s gone, with Carla Jean saying “I just buried LLewelyn, and now I just had to bury my Mama.”

    It was clear that the guy driving the car that crashed into Chigurh’s car was a nerdy looking, eyeglass wearing man with no mustache.

  341. CT, 9 years ago Reply

    Does Carla Jean die in the movie? I don’t think we know. All we do know is that she refuses to call the coin toss.
    The guy laying in the floor with the shirt like Moss had looked more like a Mexican than Moss (they never showed a close up, so how do we know?) Are we sure that was Moss? Why do you think Chirgurh decided not to kill the Sheriff?

  342. Norm Schrager, 9 years ago Reply

    - CT –

    You could probably skim the comments here and find answers / opinions to satisfy your questions…

    The conventional wisdom is that, regardless of the coin toss situation, Chigurh did kill Carla Jean — he checks his shoe bottoms upon leaving the house, as if wanting to make sure he didn’t step in any blood.

    There’s no reason to believe Moss isn’t the guy. Period. In my opinion, the rest of the commentary on this is BS. It’s the story — the guy is killed.

    There are fantastic opinions on why Chigurh doesn’t kill Sheriff Bell, and I’d recommend you check them out above. Good stuff from fantastic readers and writers. Enjoy.

    -Norm S. (Meet In the Lobby)

  343. Jacob Ladder, 9 years ago Reply

    In my opinion, I think Uhaul missed it. Sheriff Bell is dead at the moment he steps over that pool of blood in the final motel scene. Notice the sort of slow motion way Tommy Lee Jones (TLJ) steps over the pool its not footage that slowed down it’s him stepping slowly, it’s a man taking the last step of his life, everything after that point is a dream sequence. This technique was also used in the last soprano’s episode. In the sopranos the entire show is always from Tony Sopranos POV, he is the protagonist, once he opens that door to the diner and sees himself eating at the diner, he is toast we never see him get shot like so many of the other characters in the show. TLJ is the protagonist; Anton is obviously the antagonist, his named even sounds like the word antagonist, maybe even Anton the atheist. Listen carefully to the words TLJ uses in his monologue at the beginning about pushing in all his chips and putting up his soul and being part of this world, it could be that the whole movie is his explanation to god. Like the movie Jacobs Ladder, Tim Robbins character is dead the entire movie is a dream sequence. But for sure Sheriff Bell is dead the moment he steps over that blood it just isn’t shown to us in the traditional manner, ask yourselves would Anton stand quietly in a room with a man walking a around with a chambered weapon with the hammer back, No. As far as where the money is maybe the Mexicans sped off with it, maybe Anton has it, I’ve heard of stories of people doing renovations on buildings and houses and tearing out a wall and finding a ton of cash stuffed inside of it, hidden for years. When TLJ is talking to his wife at the table in the end look closely at the pleasant smile she has on her face, talking about his father going ahead and making a fire for him and a dream about losing money. Listen to the words with his uncle about “things have always been this way; and it aint all waiting on you; and about this country being hard on people; about vanity and about getting a letter from his wife about family news; about while your trying to trying to get things back and mores going out the door; about god never coming into his life and not blaming him.” I suggest you turn the subtitles on and pay attention and read between the lines.

    • fakeperson, 1 year ago Reply

      Exactly. Sheriff Bell pushed all of his chips in when he stepped over that bloodline. Mortally wounded and prone on the floor he has not two dreams but at least four. The cinematography clues us to this as the texture of the carpet bleeds into the landscape at Ellis’ ranch. In the first dream Ellis tells him that “what you got ain’t nothing new” and “it ain’t all waitin’ on you”. Notice though, again through the cinematography, how the camera moves in slowly, very slowly, on both, when Ed Tom inquires of Ellis about Uncle Mac, “when did he die?”. The response he wanted was not the year, but the amount of time he suffered. There are no throw-away lines and no red herrings in this script – (the Coen brothers are not hacks and did not write the ending for “True Detective”). The second dream, with his wife, contained two sub-dreams. The first is of his father, the money, and the futility of life.The second, of his father waiting for him, moves him closer to acceptance. The encompassing dream – the wife dream – is where she tells him he needn’t help with her chores and there’s no need to go riding together. He can, he figures out, only ride on by himself. “And then I woke up”, and died. There are no morals to be derived from this story, there is nothing mystical nor is anything hidden.There is no struggle between “good” and “evil”. There is no allegory, no metaphor, no lesson to be heard.

  344. Chris, 9 years ago Reply

    It’s amazing to me the symbolizism and hidden meaning, and dream sequences and messages everyone on this site has been able to extract from what was a typical cat and mouse movie with a garbage ending. I think your all looking for something that isn’t there. This was a really quality movie for an hour and a half then it crumbles…..completely. But instead of admitting that it crumbles everyone is calling it art, and brilliance because it is the Coen brothers. Let’s call a spade a spade. This was a good movie for an hour and a helf with a brutal ending. One person in this whole trail hit the nail on the head when he said this movie ended when Brolin got killed. Actually I think it went downhill when Woody Harrelson got killed. It was setting up perfectly for a Good, the Bad, and the Ugly type finally that I was expecting to be AWESOME and it all just fizzled. It is the most disappointing ending to me in a long while. But at least I can admit it, instead of trying to act like there is some higher calling to this movie.

  345. Dan, 9 years ago Reply

    You captured one sensibility perfectly, Chris, when you acknowledge you were waiting for a Good, Bad and the Ugly type showdown – virtually everyone who was disappointed with the ending of this film pretty much wanted the same thing: a cool shoot-em-up ending between the main characters, not this drawn-out boring stretch where Tommy Lee Jones blathers on for 10-15 minutes with some old guy and his own wife about times long past and his obscure dreams.

    You would also probably acknowledge that the Coens are usually pretty intelligent filmmakers, and that they probably thought at least a little about whether to add yet another G,B & U-type movie to the pile of existing movies or move in different (and less familiar or popular) direction. Unlike the majority of their other movies, which they wrote themselves, this was based on a book. The book’s author, Cormac McCarthy, is a 75-year old westerner who clearly has little interest himself in recycling another G, B & U story, but uses the familiar money+greed+bad guys conflict to examine where men’s values and the overall value of human life is heading as we enter the 21st century. Expectations are subverted: the would-be ‘good guy’ is killed off, the ‘bad guy’ is wounded and hobbles off to kill another day and a good number of innocent and not-so-innocent folks are wiped out like flies. And like the movie to follow, it ends with the quiet questions and dreams voiced by Sherriff Bell.

    You are absolutely justified in not enjoying the movie, if you went in expecting a G, B & U-type movie (which may have been “awesome”, or not, in the Coens’ capable hands). But you should also grant freedom of thought for people who left the theatre thinking about how the movie didn’t follow their expectations, why the filmmakers chose to make this kind of movie at this point in time and what the future might hold for similar G, B & U-type movies and the humans who continue to play these characters. Or other possible meanings, as the case may be.

    Not everything has to be spelled out in print (or film) for it to have meaning. Nor does a movie have to meet your expectations for it to stick in your memory and make you think.

  346. Tom Heinz, 9 years ago Reply

    This is for Chris…I could be cruel and accuse you of being a Generation Yer who wants loose ends tied up neatly, and also uses bad grammar (your instead of the correct you’re). But I’ll just say you’re naive: the best art, films included, is all about symbolism. If you’re an escapist and use movies to feed that, yes, you’ll not like the ending of this movie. But if you’re a realist, life doesn’t get tied up in neat bows. The ending is a reflection, and good art leaves the meaning to the individual’s interpretion of it. Holllywood may be filled with self-absorbed egotists, but it’s also filled with talented, experienced film makers who voted this the best picture of 2007.

  347. Chris, 9 years ago Reply

    Tom and Dan, I’m glad I was able to get a reaction. Dan I can respect your email posting and agree that maybe I was a little harsh on some these people. Still don’t like the ending but respect your email. Tom……you’re right, my grammar was sloppy. Beyond that we don’t really see eye to eye. I didn’t say I need a perfect ending….you seem to think that because I thought this was a brutal second half to a film that some how I must have an IQ capable only of Arnold Shwarzenegger and Sylvester Stallone movies. Maybe I’m not quite ready for something as highbrow as this movie??? Well, your kind of making my point. It seems to me, in my layman opinion, that people are trying to force this movie into the highbrow artsy category but it isn’t. Did you read the postings on this site??? Several people said Bardem was a ghost, or the devil, one person said Bardem and Brolin were the same person or connected people because they both used screwdrivers, another said Brolin didn’t die but actually crashed into Bardem in the end in the car accident. And countless theories on the scene were Tommy Lee Jones and Bardem may or may not have been in the same room together in the hotel at the end, or oh wait Bardem was a ghost in the other room, or no,m it was Brolin dressed as Bardem, or he wasn’t in the hotel at all but it was a flashback?!?!? Maybe it is me, I guess I should just grab a six pack and watch Predator right? I can’t digest such symbolism?!?! Here is the thing, sometimes a movie gets a reputation or a buzz and people want to promote something as an art piece or a subtle work of genuis. And once that buzz gets going for better or for worse it is tought to shed that image. I think that is what happened here. I honestly think if the movie screen went blank for the last half hour of this movie. People would be writing how brilliant it was and what a message the Coen bros. sesnt with the blank screen and it must mean that Tommy Lee Jones was a blank slate of a sherriff who didn’t understand life in 1980 and the blankness represents the blankness in Javier Bardem’s soul and oh wow what an act of brilliance. Come on, I don’t need a picture perfect happy ending, hell I didn’t mind the Sopranos finale but just because I found this a flop doesn’t mean I am beneath comprehension of movies my friend.

  348. Norm Schrager, 9 years ago Reply

    Hey guys-

    Thanks for reinvigorating the No Country debate after about three months.

    Tom Heinz, I gotta appreciate your de facto “moderator” status on this post — anytime you wanna write for me buddy, let me know, no joke. (

    Regardless of your own personal analysis of the film, I must say: No Country holds up incredibly well upon multiple viewings, in my opinion. A real American gem.

    Talk to you guys again.

    -Norm Schrager (Meet In the Lobby)

  349. hudson, 9 years ago Reply

    Just saw the movie again only this time on TV. Can anyone tell me why they cut the “Call it Friendo” line from the television version?

  350. Norm Schrager, 9 years ago Reply

    - hudson –

    That’s not the first time we’ve received comments about elements of the film being different, but I’m not aware of any variations. Can any MITL regulars help out here?

    -Norm S. (Meet In the Lobby)

  351. Muris34, 9 years ago Reply

    Just sat through this film, and came online to find out who played one of the roles – and found the discussions on here much “what did that mean, and what meaning was the crushed wrapper on the counter in the gas station scene meant to convey” !
    To be honest, I found the whole thing a waste of my evening – a beautifully filmed was te of time I admit – but I think if this wasn’t a Coen brothers film no one would be kissing its ass or even care if it existed or not !

  352. Jimbo, 9 years ago Reply

    I just watched the scene where Bell returns to the motel where Moss dies. After rewinding and pausing it on various shots, I’m absolutely certain that Chigurh is NOT in room 114 ( the room Moss dies in) when Bell enters it for the following reasons:

    1. As Bell drives up, there is a shot of the 2 rooms roped off. The lock/handle on room 114 is on the left side of the door (from the outside). The lock/handle on room 112 (the door on the right) is on the right side of the door (from the outside). After the second shot of Chigurh eyeing the hole where the lock was, there is a closeup of the hole from the inside of the room. The hole is clearly on the left side of the door from the inside, meaning it would be on the right side from the outside. In other words, it is the lock from room 112, and Chigurh is in that room.

    2. When Bell flings open the door to room 114, I paused the DVD. It is absolutely, undoubtedly clear that Chigurh is not hiding behind the door. And based on the ray of light from the hole in the door in the two previous shots of Chigurh, there is nowhere else in the room he would’ve been.

  353. Lazarus, 8 years ago Reply

    I think Chigurh was not in the room when Bell went in, Bell only imagined Chigurh was inside. The images of Chigurh waiting behind the door was the representation of his fear, his reluctance of putting his chips forward on something he does not understand and it was this fear that ultimately led to his decision to walk away.

    You can clearly see the dread and apprehension on his face when he saw the lock busted in the manner Chigurh breaks in, and you can tell it was on his mind that Chigurh might be inside waiting for him to come in. His hesitation and drawing his gun for the first time in the film further underlined this. You can see when he opened the door, no one was behind it, as it stayed flat on the wall.

    Bell then checked the bathroom and when he saw that the window was locked, he sighed in relief because it meant he was never truly in danger. For if it was open, it would’ve meant Chigurh was there when he got there and decided to escape, which also meant that Chigurh alternately could’ve decided to stay and confront him.

    However, he then saw the vent was open and was opened with a coin, indicating that Chigurh was actually there. He was just lucky it wasn’t at the same time and they didn’t cross paths.

    It was apt that this motel scene came after Bell’s discussion with the town sheriff about Chigurh being like a ghost, sharing the same sentiments people have about ghosts i.e. real vs. imagined. While Bell imagined Chigurh was behind the door, he is very real and Bell could’ve easily encountered him.

    I think this motel incident, Bell’s reaction to the situation made him aware that he longer wants to put his life on a hazard. It was what they say the straw that broke the camel’s back; he longer wants to be part of “that” world. So it was only fitting that the next scene is when we find out he’s quitting.

    By the way, if what I said has already been said, excuse me. I just read half of the comments and decided to comment. :)

  354. Norm Schrager, 8 years ago Reply

    Trust me, nobody would blame you for commenting after reading half of everything here. This post is 350+ comments deep, and I sincerely hope there’s no one out there reading the whole thing.

    If there is, I thank them for their passion and patience…

  355. wygbe, 8 years ago Reply

    i saw no country 3 times and loved it. i then listened to the audiobook, wondering if i missed something. i have been listening to it again. what is getting me is the gross holes in the plot. it seems the whole story is driven be idiocy. moss is presented as a tough, resourceful, hard headed, killer viet nam vet. when he leaves his wife doesnt caution him about his own safety, but asks him not to hurt anyone. first, him going back to the scene is absurd, and out of character. the guy was almost a lock to be dead anyway. he had to know that someone would be coming after him. second, as soon as he got the money, he should have just got his wife and taken off for europe. leave everything behind – they had the money to replace it. third, once he went back and left his truck and knew they could id him, he should even moreso have left the country immediately. fourth, sending his wife to odessa was ridiculous, since she would be easy to locate there. him messing about in del rio was equally ridiculous. fifth, when he had the drop on chigurrh in the motel, how could he not kill him? the guy came to the transponder broadcast and was carrying a shotgun with a silencer. he was obviously there to kill him. leaving him alive with a weapon while you run away? come on… it goes on and on. when chgurrh killed the mexicans in moss’s room, how did the mexicans get there? it could not have been the transponder, since moss had already taken the money and suitcase. after chigurrh shot up the motel in killing the mexicans, why did no one call 911? once moss did get into mexico, why did he not take off south and vanish? why did he not tell his wife to leave the country, arranging for a plane ticket for her with all his money? i am sorry, but i have been forced to conclude that the story is preposterous, although the coen brothers did a great job of moviemaking. how did cormac mccarthy garner so much praise for such a ludicrous plot? he must be laughing all the way to the bank.

  356. Oedipus, 8 years ago Reply

    I believe Chigurh was in the hotel room closet. Immediately before that seen, the Sheriff of Desert Sands told Tommie Lee that the Chigurh character was a different kind of character, unlike the rif raff obsessed with money and drugs, this guy is very dangerous, having the nerve to kill the motel clerk (in the Texas border town) and then re-entering the crime scene a day later to murder and army coronel (Woody Harrelson.). Immediately after that seen, Tommy Lee is scene walking up to the Hotel where Moss was shot. The camara zooms in on the yellow tape that says crime scene. Why he did not kill Tommy Lee, I’m not sure, but it is consistant with the theme of the movie. Young people in the movie act like they will live forever. Some are bad and their line of work leads them to Chigurg, which to me symbolizes death. Others are not bad, like Moss, but their circumstances lead them to the same fate. Guys like Tommy Lee have lasted much long, mainly because of luck. The difference between the old and young people is that the old people know their lucky and the young do not. At least in some cases, the guy at the gas station early on in the movie apparently did not konw he was lucky. At the end, Tommy Lee says that he was quitting law enforcement because it has gotten to be too much for him – he’s over matched. This might indicate that he did not know he was lucky either. But Tommy Lee who was in law enforcement and should have come in contact with death quite regularly, came in contact with Chigurh again and escaped.

    I haven’t quite figured out the last scene quite yet. Chigurh gets hit with a car, was seriously hurt, gives a kid on a bke $100 for his shirt and then walks away. The two kids came in contact with death there. Perhaps this indicates that there is a point in a young persons life when he learns that it is profitable to take risks and this is what that scene represents. In the same way a drug dealer or criminal learns that the payoff can be large if you can pull off the score. Not sure why Chigurh got hit by a car and wounded, except for to facilitate the scene.

  357. Donald, 8 years ago Reply

    After seeing this movie for two or three times, I realize that it is a really good movie and its ending is particularly interesting becuase the movie makes the viewer think that the movie is about the cowboy running with the money, when actually the movie tries to show that it was about the cop and the killer

  358. mark j., 8 years ago Reply

    I just saw the movie from beginning to end for the first time. Previously I had seen it from after Moss takes the money. This is a profoundly bleak movie. There is no redemption, only death. Moss himself is an small-time amateur thief stealing from dead people a lot of cash that he thinks will solve a lot of problems in his life, The money, however, only leads to terror and death and later, the death of his wife. To me the movie drives home the old saying, “If it is too good to be true, it isn’t.” What Moss thought was an easy score turns out to be trouble for which he is not prepared. The hitman is like an avenging angel of evil and a warning that there are some activities in the world in which one should not participate.

    Sheriff Bell appears to a pitiable character. He is “fed up,” frightened and burned out. We feel for his plight and, for many of us close to retirement, understand it. It is time for him to move on. He cannot make sense out of his career in law enforcement and indulges in the “vanity” of opposing the new world he sees coming. None of us can escape what is coming, and for many, we shall never make sense of many of the events in our lives. I am reminded of combat veterans who near death and only then, give up their stories through interviews. Most of them shake their heads admitting that something went terribly wrong with the world when they were young men.

    Puzzlement, foreboding and a sense that our lives may not have made a difference are healthy and normal human reactions to what we see and experience every day. In admitting to ourselves tht we do not have all of the answers, perhaps we can come closer to what we really believe and cherish. For at the end of our days, that is all that we have.


  359. Norm Schrager, 8 years ago Reply


    This post has been up for over 2 years, and your commentary is some of the best we’ve seen. Thanks for joining us.

  360. Vicki, 8 years ago Reply

    How about the story Sheriff Bell told his deputy about the old California couple and the robbers that take their Social Security checks, after torturing them and then the male robber is next day seen running naked with a dog collar on……Shades of Abu Gahrib? Is this movie a comment on violence, $, torture, veterans, war? This country is haunted with these issue right now.

  361. Sean, 8 years ago Reply

    Did anybody notice that Chigurh’s initials are AC?
    AntiChrist anybody? Too far of a stretch?

  362. Brandon, 8 years ago Reply

    Just watched the movie for the first time and then read through these comments. I like the idea posted a few times here about Chigurh being in the adjacent hotel room and Ed Tom’s choice to enter Room 114 being like the coin flip. I also was intrigued by Jimbo’s analysis from February 16, 2009 regarding what side of the door the keyhole is on revealing what door Chigurh is behind. I just went back and looked at the scene again but I’m not so sure about these ideas. I don’t see how you can tell for sure that when we see Chigurh the keyhole is on is on the left side of the door (from the inside). If anything, to me it looks like if Chigurh is just behind the door, given the distance between him and the keyhole, it looks like it’s on the right side (again from the inside) meaning he would be behind the door for room 114. Anybody have any ideas why Chigurh would be in room 112? Posted above someone suggested that Moss had gotten two hotel rooms again and was planning to use the dual vent plan again. From what I can tell though, it looks like when Bell is sitting down he looks back over his left shoulder and sees the vent. Based on where the door is, I think the vent would be on the wall that separates Room 114 from the other adjacent room, the room to the left (maybe Room 116). Any other ideas why Chigurh would be in Room 112?

  363. teehache, 8 years ago Reply

    This movie is being over analyzed. Chigurh is not some phantom, ghost, justice. In the book, he lives at the end, he tells the guy he’ll be dealing with him from now on. He admires the guy’s painting. McCarthy didn’t fully develop this character with background. He’s a killer. A lot of his characters are like that. Plain and simple. Somebody even suggested “islamic cleansing” when he killed the cop in the beginning – give me a break already.

  364. Martin H. Leaf, 8 years ago Reply

    I said Islamic cleansing, and I will go you one better. When Chigurh opens the drawers in the Del Rio motel, it is “islamic drawer opening”. The camera goes through great pains to show Chigur’s bare feet perfectly lined up, then he proceeds with palms up (opening drawers).
    The next scene shows Chigurh bowing down in front of an upturned lamp (ostensibly looking under the bed).
    So we have ritual cold water hand washing, removing shoes and socks, feet perfectly lined up, palms up, and then bowing from a crouched position.
    All of the Islamic prayer rituals.

    All religious imagery, and all consistent with what McCarthy and the Coens were really portraying: Islamic terror’s war on the West.
    That is what both the book and the movie deal with extensively, although allegorically, and metaphorically.
    If you really want to understand the movie, you need to understand kaballah. Without that understanding, you miss alot of the movie (like the constant use of reflection and mirrors).
    Sorry but people who only see Chigurh as an ordinary killer, miss the entire point of the movie.

  365. Keith Jeffers, 8 years ago Reply

    Both characters, Sheriff Bell and Chigurh respect each other to co-exist in the end … as do good and evil . All other characters are finite; almost tnsignificant….hence their demise.

    “Carrying fire in the horn…the way they use to.” = The Projector

    “Out there in the cold and dark.” = The Audience

    “And I knew when I got out there … he would be there.”He = The Film Experience

    Goes to black….the audience sits in the darkness….the end of the film experience….without a backing music track = Only The Cohens

  366. noneya, 8 years ago Reply

    When Bells mother told the mexicans where they were headed the mexicans met the wife at the hotel her husband came with the money the mexicans shot him and the other people at the hotel .. took the money… Ed Tom was too late…. and yes the lunatic was behind the door…. I am correct on this.. go back .. rewind…

  367. ERic, 8 years ago Reply

    You know it’s a great movie when there are hundreds of postings. I read about the first 100. So noone will probably ever see this. Oh well, still fun to write about this great movie!

    No posting I read talked about the old sheriff talking to the other older guy at his house “I make a fresh pot of coffee once a week”. Those are the only two old guys in the movie, as I remember. And for what I remember, their conversation was pretty dull, talking about the old days and how violent everything is today.

    So “No Country For Old Men” is as simple as two old guys waiting to wither away. They can’t go back to what they did, and death is on the horizon so they just need to sit around and wait for it.

    The sheriff should have been shot in that motel room (and who was behind that door probably doesn’t matter). What matters is that when the sheriff went and sat down on the seat, he was waiting to be killed and put out of his misery of being old. I mean, when does any law enforcement go into a crime scene and just “hang out”? But he wasn’t killed. So he quit his job to wilt away like the other old man.

    My two cents.

  368. ed hardy, 7 years ago Reply

    No posting I read talked about the old sheriff talking to the other older guy at his house “I make a fresh pot of coffee once a week”. Those are the only two old guys in the movie, as I remember. And for what I remember, their conversation was pretty dull, talking about the old days and how violent everything is today.

  369. msw, 7 years ago Reply

    check out the vent in the el paso motel room…it it different than the del rio vent……the opening leading away from the vent is TOO SMALL to place the legal case in it. the money was taken by the mexicans….Chigur never got the money

  370. d, 7 years ago Reply

    Yes, msw, I noticed that, too! Chigurh removed the cover thinking that would be the hiding place as was in the previous motel room. Only the duct was round! Too small for the case of money. And the money remained in that case through the whole movie. I do believe it was on purpose to make us wonder of the location of the money after the tiny duct scene.(remember the first duct was huge) As with many other scenes in this movie, I think it was a loose end, never to be completely tied up.
    I wonder how much of this thread the Coen bros have read, snickering to each other?
    Great movie.

  371. Norm Schrager, 7 years ago Reply

    d –

    Yeah, we’ve wondered if the Coens have enjoyed this thread too…

    The studio included a link to this post when they were promoting the film for the ’08 Oscars, so I’m guessing somebody in the No Country for Old Men world read and enjoyed it.

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  373. Matt H, 7 years ago Reply

    What confused me most about the film (sorry if it’s been covered but its real late and I am tired so didn’t read all of the above) was that Chigurh knew Moss was in the hospital and “Woody” had informed him the money was on the riverbank………… Why didn’t he wait for Moss crossing back over the border? Or just go and look for the money? Instead he left both, only to go searching for them again later.

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  376. Chris, 7 years ago Reply

    I had this all settled in my mind until I read this thread! This is one of my top five films of all time. I love it. I came out of the cinema feeling so refreshed and alive. Its a work of art.

    The ending to me seemed straight forward, though abrupt. The Mexicans tailed the wife and the mother in law, discovered where Llewellyn was hiding, paid him a visit, shot him and took the money.

    Anton wasn’t able to kill Llewellyn so he shot his wife to satisfy himself.

    When the Sheriff imagines Anton in the motel room he is simply feeling, for the first time in a long time, an insecurity that makes him draw his weapon…and this is his breaking point. He wants no part of this any longer.

    The vent grate lying on the floor implies Anton had been there and not found the money- because the vent itself is round and the bag wouldn’t fit.

    The Mexicans got their money back, Anton got to claim a life and the Sheriff relented and retired…

    And, as most people here feel, it wasn’t about the money…it was a meditation on will, violence and moral codes.

    Just a remarkable movie.

  377. msw, 7 years ago Reply

    in the book Chigur does recover the money and returns it to an unnamed person.

  378. Kunle Fabunmi, 7 years ago Reply

    Considering Tommy Lee and Anton never met in the movie,it made me believe the reason Anton was always ahead was because he was actually a part of Tommy Lee’s character hence the reason he never found anyone in the hotel even though we see the shot of Anton behind the door.
    We are also thrown off by the Mexican getting the information on James brolins location from his(brolin’s)mother in law thus not paying attention to the fact that it was Brolins wife that told Tommy Lee his location so as to protect him.This would explain why the killer had gotten to Brolin before his wife reached him.
    Anton walking off injured at the end is also symbolic as it coincided with Tommy Lee’s retirement hence the reason he was never seen again or captured.All in all a beautiful movie

  379. Aleksandar, 7 years ago Reply

    Great movie, just finished watching it, and wonted to see what you others thing of this 2 dreams Tommy Lee had at the ending. Read a little post here, and I really had to write something.

    I just wonted to say that I agree with most of the posts here about society decline, but I just don t think that s the main theme in the movie.
    It s more about the person, the individual.Bell is faceing a defeat: he fights through the whole movie , one minute wanting to help Mosses wife, the other trying to stay away from that whole drug thing. In the end he realizes, finaly, that we do live in a f..kd up society, and as long as you fight it, and as long as you feel sorry for the times passsed, you just cant do nothing about it. There are no heroes which will save us, regardless those useless movies that pump our hopes, like batman, ironman, watchman… (it seems they cant sell a movie without a superhero in it). As uncle Ellis sais : you can t stop what s coming, aint all waiting on you, thats vanity. The surrender that eventually comes, the human being understanding how small and helpless he is. In the end he just leaves does new times pass, saving himself ! Thats real !

  380. Bob, 7 years ago Reply

    This is probably the scariest movie I’ve ever seen. The characters are easy and simple to figure out, a psychopath and a sheriff. The location is simple, rural Texas. And the two story lines are simple: a contract killler; and a sheriff reviewing his life. “What’s it all about…”, is the underlying thought throughout! Excellent, dark, and very intelligent.

  381. hosam, 7 years ago Reply

    One of the greatest movies of all times. Extreme violence and bloodshed, hidden messages all the way, just to establish for a very defeating feeling that old men who used to be very professional at what they do, feel when they are forced to retire. They lose skill, focus, energy; it is death for them. Absolute Death.

    It’s very deep, but very obvious at the same time, only men losing their job skill can really feel this movie.

  382. Martin H. Leaf, 7 years ago Reply

    Notice the twin towers burning at 48:18 in the blu ray version. The two other rooms in the Del Rio have pastoral pictures of rivers.

    1958 Bin Laden’s Birth year (not 1957)

    Don’t put it in your pocket – from Muhammed Atta’s will

    NCFOM – an allegory about the West’s existential battle with Islamic Terror

  383. Martin H. Leaf, 7 years ago Reply

    The movie is an allegory for the prototypical, primordial, archtypical evil of Islamic Terror, (which like Naziism, can only be explained in religious terms, ie Satanic), and its battle against the goodness of the West.

    Moss finds the money under the tree of knowledge of good and evil. If you look closely using blu ray, you will actually see the tree become more wilted after Moss takes the money. The much greener tree of life is next to it. Otherwise, the two trees are way out of place there in the desert. To further buttress this religious theme, the dead Mexican is in a religious submissive position, with head in reverence to the side, and palms up (even the hand with the gun), with his sole/soul affected. In the bible, money typically represents knowledge.

    Now here is the kicker: What fruit was “on” the biblical tree of knowledge?

    A. Pomegranate
    B. Apple
    C. Grape

    Extra credit:

    What is the pattern on the bloody shirt of the Mexican (use blu ray)?

    A. Pomegranate
    B. Apple
    C. Grape

    I cannot answer this for you, it wouldn’t be fair. The preceding hint is the best deal you’re gonna get.

  384. James Garnham, 7 years ago Reply

    I have read virtually all these comments and was greatly pleased seeing ERic’s comments a few up, I totally agree with you.

    I think TLJ knows he – Anton – is there, even behind the door, as we can see TLJ’s reflection in the barrel on the inside of the room surely the same could be true from outside? The door is flung open and appears that no one is there but I believe Anton is right up against the wall in the dark. As TLJ sits on the bed he knows whether before or in the moment, as he sees the air con grill and screws on the floor, he has a choice to make.

    His decision to retire comes immediately after this event, ie. ‘I got out alive so I’m quitting’. At his his uncles place, immediately after, the comment about his uncle letting go of the bitterness about the man that shot him appears to suggest to me that he is pondering the nature of quitting… Giving up pursuing and what that means for him, ultimately coming to the conclusion that he is Old and it’s time to hang his hat up, stop pursuing – mentally previous cases and physically current case – which in turn is why the film is called ‘No country for old men’.

    I believe the film to be all about choices and in the closing scenes where Anton is driving – I’m sure the traffic light is red then green and he makes a choice in his case one that doesn’t work out so good on this occasion. Do I look at the kids on bikes or watch the road.

  385. Martin L, 7 years ago Reply

    Bell was saved because God forced the evil demon out. It actually is similar to King Saul confronting Agag in the Bible.

  386. Martin L, 7 years ago Reply

    Notice the twin towers burning in the upper right of the painting of the Manhattan skyline as seen from the Hudson. This pic is only in Chigurh’s room. I wonder why ?

  387. Rickech, 7 years ago Reply

    Assumptions and inferences can be drawn for the rest of our lives because of the number of variables in any film…

    Reading most of the posts here has led me to conclude that there are many plausible competing hypotheses to the intentions of most of the scense. It is interesting to see how most of what we have all written usually tries to state what Bell, “Sugar”, Llewelyn etc. are intending.

    In actuality, it is what the Coen’s, McCarthy, the actors, the production staff, etc. thought would be fun to add. Many times on a whim. To simply analyze why we make one simple decision within our own life could take a lifetime because of the absolute complexity of what we are.

    The Coen’s et al. probably read some of these posts and are amazed by the inferences drawn that are brilliant, but never even crossed their minds. But, they might also realize that the inferences made are a result of more deeply seated emotions or congnitions that they conveyed unconsciously. It’s the analysis power of the numbers out in the viewing audience that might be even more powerful than the writers, directors, actors, whose numbers are small to squeeze out by inherent pressure of quantity, some of the more profound conclusions that can be read in this thread.

    The major points of the film surely were conscious additions of those involved, Coen et al. An amazing film like this requires such dedication to its analysis because of the questions left behind. This is the film’s and it’s maker’s gift. The ability and discipline to leave questions behind. Yes, they give hints… However, these hints have many possible explanations.

    This post is not going to reiterate specific examples in the film because you’ve spent enough time reading yourself if you’ve made it to this point. Applause to your dedication to find truth, and empathies to your obsessiveness. The point is that there are questions that a director etc. can leave unanwered which can only lead to a myriad of anwers, some of which can be exact opposites by their philosophical angle.

    Directors, writers, actors et al. leaving questions behind can sometimes come across as easy and become as cheap as leaving perfectly clear answers, that is, the “Hollywood” formula… The Coen’s it can be argued walked a near perfect line between the two with this film. None-the-less, questions were left behind and most of the anwers in this thread are probably anwsers that the Coens read and think, “hmm, yeah, maybe!?”…

    There is a liability almost, in creating characters that the Coen’s do, that inevitably causes them to lose control of them. That’s the beauty in their craft.

    Ok now about me, I think that I didn’t really draw any conclusions that I haven’t read about above. I didn’t even read ALL of the posts. I didn’t have enough time. But I read a third of the first posts, then read backward a third, missing the middle third. Many posts began repeating what had already been said. Although, I found it interesting how many people found small differences, and had unique comments even down to the bottom of the thread. I have no clue what all the “intentions” were of the Coens et al. It would be interesting to find out what They et al. remember were their intentions at the time. I’m sure that memory will and has changed even.

    That being said, it was a great movie. The violence in the movie is pretty simple, it’s reality. One of the most interesting observations that probably is one of those “conscious” decisions is the Anton Chigurh’s name and the analogy of Anti-Christ. Sorry I didn’t acknowledge that poster. All the religious inferences, eh, I don’t think that even if these were meant, that they were a first priorty.

    Ok, so the one thing that I didn’t read about yet, probably because I didn’t read the middle third of threads is why Coen’s had Moss keep the transponder for as long as he did. I’d have thought that he’d stomp on it right when he found it. But he leaves it on the bedtable next to him, still on. My assumption is that They wanted us to see that it’s kind of a, keep your friends close but your enemies closer thing. He could keep Chigurh baited in, he could maybe hear the reciever getting closer, a useful tool. So my opinion on this is that Coen’s et al. were showing that Moss was a YOUNG not OLD opponent who was still “in the game”. Of course, it eventually cost him his life to “be in the game”… So, I’d say the film points out wisdom causes us to search for peace. Why we lament and miss being “in the game” is an immature perspective that we keep even to the grave in most cases. I don’t think it’s clear whether or not Moss kept the transponder or if he left it on the bedtable before jumping out of the window… Chigurh didn’t confront “the old man” Bell because, it would have been “old fashioned” or “old time” or make Anton himself feel “old” to get in the ring with Bell. It’s like a sumo wrestler in the ring with a midget. What’s the point…

    Who freagin’ knows what all the Coen’s intentions were… Be nice to hear… I’ll bet that it’d be interesting to see that the debate would be the same even if the Coen brothers themselves were posting in this thread. Heck, they probably have! ;)

    I love the Coen’s. How fun it would be to be on set with these guys to collaborate creatively. Thank You Coen brothers for your dedication. You made Nicolas Cage my favorite actor for years! he he…

  388. Martin L, 7 years ago Reply

    A main principle of cinema is that the most important object is centered in the frame.

    God, which is the blue kingdom in the painting with a Gold Halo around it, is centered in the frame for an awfully long time:

    We see this same exact technique when Moss moves out of the frame, away from the open SUV door of the “aqua man”.

    The meaning of this series, and the “aqua door” series, is that something very important is centered in the frame. Here it is God, represented by the blue Kingdom, with a gold halo around it, and emanating from that, is the light and dark. The meaning is that all good and evil, emanate from God. Also, each one of us has our own good and evil within, including Bell.

    This series reinforces the ultimate meaning of NCFOM: That Islamic Terror is pure evil, ie Amalak, and is on this earth to battle whatever is Good.

    I can’t think for you: it wouldn’t be fair.

  389. Alex, 7 years ago Reply

    I loved this movie. It had an excellent plotline, and managed to do something very few movies can- it excited me! As for the ending, I have this to provide:
    There were 3 main characters, each of them dealing with the issue most old men do- a lack of closure. Thus, they search for it throughout the movie:

    Brolin’s character has settled for a life far less fulfilling then the adventurous kind he experienced in his youth. I agree with those who suggest his pursuit of the money was in fact, a pursuit of excitement.

    Bardem’s character starts off feeling invincible, and living a life more fulfilling and less, may I say “settled”, then the other men in this movie. However, I believe his failure to eliminate Brolin bothered him. This is why he kills Brolin’s wife (couldn’t kill the man, so i’ll kill his wife). This does not bring him closure, as he knew it wouldn’t, and no longer 100% focused as he once was, he endures a car accident. He recognizes his lack of invicibility at this point, and feels even weaker when having to pay-off a group of teenagers. This is the reason why he didn’t kill Jone’s character- he couldn’t! He doubted himself in that scene where Jone’s enters the motel room. He may have even feared Jone’s, and the possiblity of his own defeat.

    Jone’s character questions whether or not it is too late for him to pursue closure, and if he has already settled for the life he must live until death. In the end, he chooses to believe this truth, and gives up on any pursuit of true happiness.

    There is purposefully, a lack of closure found in this movie.

  390. Franklin, 5 years ago Reply

    Has anybody thought that maybe the sheriff and and the killer are the same person. The movie shows 2 different relections of the same person. Why does the sheriff bring up killing cows with an air gun but can’t remember it later. Why does he drink the milk that the killer was drinking just minutes before. Why does Carla jean recognize the killer right away. The killer wasn’t hiding in the closet which is why they showed the bathroom window locked. IT’S THE SAME PERSON. DUH!!!!!

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