1) No Country For Old Men is a dystopian look at modern man. The villain is driven by greed and has loyalty to no one. He kills at will to achieve his goal, and any of his victims’ morality or logic seem pathetically weak as they offer it up as reasons why he shouldn’t kill them, which he nearly always does. This killer driven by money seems to hint at a nihilism that is consuming humanity in the modern world: money – this empty, cold, sterile symbol – is the only thing worth anything in this world anymore. That, or a strict determinism that is also just as hopeless and terrifying. All we see the whole movie is people dying, all we hear are stories of people committing crimes, and all the characters are self motivated. Even the landscapes are bleak and forlorn.

 

2) No Country For Old Men by Cormac McCarthy is well within the authors wheelhouse. It is a bleak, sprawling meditation about American society, and its reflection of our humanity. McCarthy questions if all our modernity is good for us, and seems to present the case that it produces monsters out of people, such as Anton or the couple that tortured and killed old folks. McCarthy also ruminates on freedom versus determinism. The book is fairly easy to adapt, save for how to give the Sheriff the same sized role in the movie as he got in the book. In the book his time on the page is mostly monologues, which can be difficult to fit into movies, especially when they are long.

 

3)

http://philzine.wordpress.com/2007/11/30/no-country-for-old-men-a-critical-response/

A review of the movie as well as some thoughts about how directors and movies are critiqued. This thought provoking, difficult movie clearly had some reviewers getting existential.

 

http://www.charlierose.com/view/interview/8783

An interview with the Cohen Brothers, as well as user comments and reactions

 

http://www.newyorker.com/arts/critics/cinema/2007/11/12/071112crci_cinema_lane

A review of the film from the New Yorker. Anthony Lane was one of only a very small number of top critics that gave the film a bad review. His reasons seem to be somewhere between that he didn’t like the book as much as McCarthy’s “The Road” and that the Coen’s didn’t invest themselves emotionally in the movie: “The Coens are not so much investing their emotions in a cinematic genre—in this case, the Western revenge drama—as picking it up, inspecting it, and then setting themselves the task of constructing a perfect copy”. The result he calls “passionless” but it seems as if he missed the whole point of the book: that these times are passionless times.

 

4) No Country for Old Men is undeniably violent and yet it is somewhat reticent about two killings, that of Llewelyn Moss and later his wife Carla Jean. Why would the film-makers decline to film their killings when so many other killings in the film are graphically shown?

The greater themes of the story No Country are alienation, determinism, and the stage of the moder man. Llewelyn and his wife are the closest we get to main characters, with most of the story following their fleeing from Anton. The reason their deaths, compared to most of the other deaths, are not shown in graphic detail is a statement of how meaningless the everyman is. Llewelyn and wife are the everyday folk, just trying to get by, and their deaths are barely worth mentioning in the grand scheme of things. Just another body, another victim of fate, and the same sad story goes on.

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