No Country For Old Men Essay

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At the end of this conversation, Chigurh kills Wells.

I was sheriff of this county when I was twenty-five. Joel and Ethan Coen have been praised and condemned for their expert "craftsmanship" and their "technical" skills -- as if those skills had nothing to do with filmmaking style, or artistry; as if they existed apart from the movie itself.

As the two fall back onto the linoleum floor, the shock of the moment is amplified by the expression on Chigurh's face: His icy glare is aimed not at the man he's strangling but at the ceiling.

He's not even looking at the man he's killing, even as the handcuffs cut into the deputy's neck and Chigurh's own wrists.

It doesn't much matter what Chigurh is, and even less who he is.

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He's not a character (say, a compulsive murderer who acts to gratify his primal psycho-sexual needs). And it's either heads or tails and you have to say.

The author did a great job of creating a character that is hard to figure out.

There is not much said about Chigurh within the novel.

(See uncomprehending original-release reviews of "Barry Lyndon" and "Days of Heaven," for example, in which the "beautiful" was treated as something discrete from the movie itself.) When somebody claims that a movie overemphasizes the "visual" -- whether they're talking about Stanley Kubrick or Terrence Malick or the Coens -- it's a sure sign that they're not talking about cinema, but approaching film as an elementary school audio-visual aid.

When critics (and viewers) refer to the filmmakers' application of "craft," "technique," and "style" (can these things be applied, casually or relentlessly, with a spatula?


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