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No Country for Old Men: That Pesky Ending

Photo of Anne Thompson By Anne Thompson | Thompson on Hollywood November 27, 2007 at 6:52AM

I'm having big debates about No Country for Old Men, especially the ending. If you've read the Cormac McCarthy book, you know that the Coens have done a very faithful adaptation, which McCarthy admires. [SPOILER ALERT] The duo was attracted to the very things that make the movie unconventional: a major character dies, and the forces of good don't triumph over the forces of evil at the end.
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No_country0518I'm having big debates about No Country for Old Men, especially the ending. If you've read the Cormac McCarthy book, you know that the Coens have done a very faithful adaptation, which McCarthy admires. [SPOILER ALERT] The duo was attracted to the very things that make the movie unconventional: a major character dies, and the forces of good don't triumph over the forces of evil at the end.

At my book group Tuesday night (where we had a spirited discussion about Flaubert's Sentimental Education) we agreed that the Coens' No Country for Old Men will persevere and endure and may even land an Oscar best picture nom because it is about where we are now. The point of the movie is that the good sheriff played by Tommy Lee Jones with sad weariness has never seen so much implacable evil and does not know if it is possible to conquer it. Is Javier Bardem's Chigurh real, or a ghost? I think he is very real. And he represents all the evil in the world that will not stop, will not rest.

Alec Baldwin blogs about the movie and Javier Bardem at The Huffington Post. Nora Ephron hilariously debates the movie with her partner in The New Yorker.

Glenn Kenny lays out the movie's issues with the ending at Premiere.com. Now I'm really confused.

[Originally appeared on Variety.com]

This article is related to: Awards, Directors, Headliners, Stuck In Love, Oscars, Javier Bardem, Bloggers, Critics


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Thompson on Hollywood

Born and raised in Manhattan, Anne Thompson grew up going to the Thalia and The New Yorker and wound up at grad Cinema Studies at NYU. She worked at United Artists and Film Comment before heading west as that magazine's west coast editor. She wrote for the LA Weekly, Sight and Sound, Empire, The New York Times and Entertainment Weekly before serving as West Coast Editor of Premiere. She wrote for The Washington Post, The London Observer, Wired, More, and Vanity Fair, and did staff stints at The Hollywood Reporter and Variety. She eventually took her blog Thompson on Hollywood to Indiewire. She taught film criticism at USC Critical Studies, and continues to host the fall semester of “Sneak Previews” for UCLA Extension.