No Country for Old Men No Country for Old Men discussion

does the book explain things any better than the movie

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message 1: by Jason (last edited Aug 25, 2016 02:04PM) (new)

Jason Somewhat of a spoiler so be forewarned.

In the movie there's a scene where Tommy Lee Jones is about to enter the motel room.

I took this scene as if he was almost looking for his own death. He knows Chigure (sp?) is inside. Without giving to much away this is what I got from this part. His (Jones) relatives that were cops all went out in this blaze of glory. With his realization of the way things had changed along with being on the verge of retirement made him almost suicidal. Like the opposite of the "death by cop" theory. So he goes in hoping for this last great battle. Meanwhile Chigure, as insane as he seems only appears to kill for purpose. So even though he's inside the room he gains nothing from killing Jones so he remains hidden, and appears almost affraid.

Anyway, if the book explains it all and is worth the read following seeing the movie I will fit it in. If not I will go to another book by this author. Regardless, I loved the movie and thought the ending was exceptional.

message 2: by Alison (last edited Dec 23, 2007 10:52PM) (new)


I loved this movie. Here's my take: I thought Chigurh was hiding in the room. He had just gotten the money (from the opened vent), but hadn't gotten out yet. Enter Tommy Lee Jones. I do think this is meant to be an Old West type showdown evidenced by TLJ's shadow on the wall appearing very Old West-ish. But, for whatever reason, Chigurh chooses not to show himself. Maybe he just wants to make sure he gets the money, and is not interested in a fight. He gets the money, and TLJ lives. Josh Brolin's character and his wife both die.

At first, I thought TLJ actually backed down from the fight, which caused him to feel like he needed to retire. But, in retrospect, I don't think he realized Chigurh was there.

Phayvanh The Movie is Better Than The Book

I don't normally ever say this, but it's true! The Coen Bros did such a great job in taking a so-so book and realizing it into a captivating movie.

Don't bother reading the book, though the one thing it does better than the movie is make the sherrif's motives for even telling the story more believable, in his not wanting to take something as horrific as this to the grave. And it makes Llewellyn Moss (Josh Brolin) more of an impulsive, stupid, young trailer park dude.

I have to admit though, that Javier Bardem plays Chigurh the way I'd imagined the character to be.

Colleen Graves I thought the book was great! I just finished it today, and it is pretty much identical to the movie until the very end. It goes into a little more depth and explains the sheriff's character better. The book seems a little more haunting than the movie, and Chigurh is down right creepy. I think the movie and book are almost equal. (Oh, and there is no animal violence in the book, the drug dogs are not shot in the book.) If you've read Cormac McCarthy before, go for it. If you haven't, it might help you understand his style a little better before you tackle another one of his books.


At least in terms of the themes, the book is a lot more powerful, and the characters aren't so one-sided.

I don't think the movie was bad, but the book just delves deeper into the ultimate point, whereas the movie, I think, leaves some things unanswered.

Theimaginarygirl NO! I was actually hoping that the movie did a better job of developing the plot, characters etc... than the book did.

message 7: by Andrew (new) - added it

Andrew I'm pretty sure in the movie he got out before tlj came in the room. They show him waiting when tlj sees the lock, and then there's a pause. TLJ gets himself together, comes in anyway, (which the way it was shot seemed to me more the definition of courage than suicidal) and then when he gets in Chigurgh has gone out the window, and that's why tlj breathes that sigh of relief when he checks the window and sees it unlocked. Seemed to me that he bounced and pulled the window closed behind him.

message 8: by Pam (new) - rated it 4 stars

Pam I love the movie -- watched the DVD three times so far. I read the book hoping for more background and I did get some, especially about Anton's motivations.

I have another question related to the book. Toward the end, there's some stuff with a Mexican in a Barracuda (cleaning blood off a window at a car wash)), and a dead state trooper. The Mexican is convicted of killing the trooper. We don't see the killing. Ed Tom thinks the Mexican is innocent of this killing but when he visits him in jail, the Mexican laughs at him and says yeah, he killed the trooper.

Was this in any way related to the rest of the story? Was this Mexican involved in the shootout at the motel and was the trooper chasing him? Or was this just another example of the sorry state of the world, and another reason for Ed Tom to give up and retire?

Sharon The sheriff's voice over the opening scenes talking about the horror (same comments in the end of Lord Jim also) of life. Then he says, "But, we might as well get used to it" (paraphrased). Later, his deputy wonders about Moss:"Do you think he knows [the evil] he's up against?" And the sheriff says, "Well, he's seen everything we've seen, and I'm sure as hell scared by it," though we know the sheriff has seen more horror than his deputy or the reader. I agree that his ethics push him into the motel room, but also that he is vastly relieved when Ch. is gone. He doesn't want to take certain horrors to the grave, but I believe he also finally sees we can't "retire" from it[life] either--especially one often decided by a coin toss. But McCarthy leaves it open-ended. Just like his book The Road, there's no resolution, just tiny rays of hope in that men like the sheriff (and the son in The Road) actually exist alongside pure evil.
An Aside--the Mexican incident puzzled me also. It was like he was laughing at the whole question of justice or of good and evil. I think he's innocent of this killing, but is saying, "but, I would not hesitate to kill if I feel I must," so the question is moot. And the Coen Bros are amazing with the film. No music score. Sage and heat, and the build-up of tension in the store-keeper scene is a marvel.

message 10: by Adam (last edited Aug 30, 2016 02:04PM) (new)

Adam Carter I've not read the book, and was thinking about it. Having just watched the movie, I was wondering what others thought and googled my way here. Having not read the book, I have no idea how the ending was written.

With that said, here are my thoughts.

I think he is killed in the hotel room at night, returning to the scene of the crime. I watched that hotel room scene again on youtube, and there is a distinct point where he is obscured by the darkness completely, followed by switching on the light to the bathroom. It's possible the killer left, which is somewhat uncharacteristic of a man that has killed pretty much everyone he's come in contact with.

The following scenes with Tommy Lee Jones are symbolic of a journey on his way to an afterlife of sorts.

He visits the 'cat man', who's house is overflowing with cats. Nothing is put in the forefront in a story unless there is some use or meaning. Cats are often used as a specter of death in myth.

T.L.J. laments god never having come into his life, and doesn't blame him for not doing so. His uncle's death is described. His uncle 'knew the score'. That is, he was aware he was going to die. The date of the death isn't important, just the time of day. Night. The cat man also points out "You can't stop what's coming. That's vanity".

The next T.L.J scene is with his wife at the breakfast table, somewhat at a loss. He's deciding on how to spend the day. She won't join him though. She's not 'retired'. He also can't stay home. "Better not".

Then he recounts his two dreams to her. The one as a young man, who was wasteful. Then as an old man riding with his father. His father is carrying a horn with a fire in the cold night and he overtakes him. "He's was fixing to make a fire in the dark and the cold, and I knew whenever I got there, he'd be there"... fade to black

message 11: by David (new)

David Semeria @adamcarter I also believe the film leaves open the possibility the sheriff Bell (TLJ) dies in the hotel room. I imagine that leaving multiple interpretations of the film's ending is viewed by many as a stroke of genius. Personally I think it's a sign of artistic laziness. The plot should be clear to the viewer, whereas understanding the characters and their motivations should be the real source of ambiguity and analysis.

message 12: by Adam (new)

Adam Carter Maybe. I can't say whether it's genius or not. I will say though, if you want stories with a clear delineation of protagonist, antagonist and plot there's plenty of choice out there. I found it a bit refreshing, not to mention fun, speculating and thinking about the characters and meaning. How many stories can you say that about? Lazy plot or genius, I was entertained. Beats watching American Gladiator :)

message 13: by Vin (new) - rated it 3 stars

Vin I'd say its about even there. My friends swear the movie is better though in that regard.

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