No Country For Old Men (2007)

After having watched Big Lebowski, True Grit, No Country, and Fargo – all by the Coen Brothers – I understand better what draws me to their films: the stories and characters. What’s interesting is that most are actually film adaptations; so for the plot, credit goes to the authors. Still, props to the Brothers for always picking the sincerest stories and translating them perfectly into moving and talking pictures.

I digress, this should’ve been notes for No Country.

Read the plot here.
Watch the trailer here.

Simply put I like No Country because it was so close to reality, that it defied conventions of common movie plots (as summary, see Norbert Nox’s answer in Quora here – I agree to every letter).

But I shouldn’t think that the best fiction are closest to reality. An interesting article from the blog Overcoming Bias on Biases of Fiction supposes that “fictional folk are more extreme than in reality” because they need to convey the story, so as not to leave the audience second guessing. Thus fictional personalities are much more colorful, more expressive, and their motives are clearer.

Perhaps the Brothers have their way of balancing their characters’ saturated personalities with an anti-cliche plot. Ex: Anton Chigurh was a single-minded hitman, and I must agree that his personality was a bit extreme compared to reality. But him killing Llewelyn Moss and wife is anti-cliche as hell.

Anton Chigurh: Anywhere not in your pocket. Where it'll get mixed in with the others and become just a coin. Which it is.

Anton Chigurh: Anywhere not in your pocket. Where it’ll get mixed in with the others and become just a coin. Which it is.

You would also think that central to No Country’s plot is the money chase, but the film ends with no resolution on where the money went. Plus the chasee dead, and the chaser is I don’t know where. Was knowing where the money went important in the first place? Perhaps you could fill me in.

Then we get a closing shot of the Sheriff and his dreams about his Dad… Perhaps the chase scenes are just filler stories, and this is really about the Sheriff and his dad. Awesome analysis from Quora on what his dreams meant here.

I haven’t read the book so I’ve no persopective on what the author really wanted to convey. Nonetheless how the Brothers told the story was elegant, starting with the Sheriff’s sentimental monologue, and closing the film with him too, like a neatly wrapped gift.


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