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What is the obligatory scene in “No Country For Old Men?” - Question/Answer Now Playing

What is the obligatory scene in “No Country For Old Men?”

Jan 14, 2011

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What is the obligatory scene in “No Country For Old Men?” - Question/Answer Q & A Discussion

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eindianos: McKee-esque Value plus Cause
at Feb 02, 2011 - 1:48 PM
It felt like the movie had a variety of faux obligatory scenes, or at least as many as there were protagonists it offered up!
It was fascinating to experience. Just when we’re totally invested in Brolin, he ends up dead. Then a lateral protag is tossed over. Amazing.
After seeing No Country for Old Men and reading The Castle in the Forest, Norman Mailer’s book about Hitler/Evil, written on the eve of his 86th birthday—I felt elation. I know that’s crazy, but both delivered, in my own mind at least, the message that battles between good and evil or good and bad luck are cyclical, not either or. They compete, are fluctuating iota’s, variables that ebb and flow, allowing us to consider the possibility that any one of us might factor into determining the outcome.

The McKee–esque, Value plus Cause equation that I took home from the movie was something like this:
Evil (Javier Bardem) prevails, but could lose at any moment, even after the movie is over, because good and evil (or good luck/ bad luck) are cyclical, neck and neck and can change on a dime.
at Jan 16, 2011 - 11:31 AM
More lessons like this that talk about contemporary, popular movies! Look at all the discussion already generated by this since the 14th!

Movies like Inception, The Social Network, Dark Knight- why you think they work or don't work. That would be helpful. 
Anthony: NEW GENRE?
at Jan 14, 2011 - 9:27 PM
If Mc Kee had an 'advanced' class in breaking convention, this film will certainly be included. Bad Luck vs The Villain is not necessarily, quickly, understood. I wonder how many Academy voters did research on the film 'before' voting it Best Picture?
I wonder if this scene could have been better foreshadowed earlier?
It's like Chinatown: however, that film had a more satisfying ending even if the deeper subtext wasn't understood.
Bass wrote
at Jan 14, 2011 - 5:08 PM
I felt that Tommy Lee Jones' sheriff does have the obligatory scene (which would be him and Bardem face-to-face), and indeed crisis decision, when he goes back to the motel where Josh Brolin's character was killed. He goes back, having worked out that Bardem will be there because Bardem has done it before; just waltzing into a crime scene. Jones' goes to the door and sees that it has been blasted with the air-gun like the ones to Brolin's trailer and he knows Bardem is in there. Jones' crisis decision then comes: whether or not to open that door. If he opens that door, he's going to die. Jones is terrified of Bardem, and specifically the meaningless death that awaits him. As he says in the opening scene, "I don't want to push my chips forward and face something I don't understand. A man would have to put his soul at a hazard. He'd have to say, 'Okay. I'll be part of this world.'" This is that obligatory scene - Jones putting his soul at a hazard and facing Bardem.

He opens the door, but he is too late. Bardem has taken the money and left. Jones has no more chances to get him, and he's so inconsequential to Bardem, that Bardem doesn't even need to kill him for pleasure.

We get the car crash so our hope of "Maybe bad luck will get him" doesn't linger past the credits and into the car park; we know it won't. And then we return to Jones, retired, still haunted by his oncoming death and his inability to have served any real purpose of good and justice in this world.

But I would say that Jones confronting Bardem in the motel is the obligatory scene and crisis decision. I would also say that Jones is the central protagonist of the story, and that the confusion in audiences (and writers) surrounding this movie is simply this: Brolin's character was so engaging that many people assumed he was the central protagonist, and when he dies off-screen, people were left bewildered as to where to put their emotional core. It's certainly how I felt until I watched it a second time and realised that Jones is clearly the protagonist of the story. It's just that he is so impotent and reactionary, he can feel like he's a bit part.

Anyhow - every time I watch this film I love it a little more. It's marvelous.
henrymann: The Terminator reimagined
at Jan 14, 2011 - 12:50 PM
I wonder if the makers of No Country had in mind to remake The Terminator just without all that pesky technology or those pesky rules of storytelling.

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