Yesterday was Easter. Pam convinced me to spend a good part of the afternoon watching No Country for Old Men. I wasn’t hard to convince, since the Coen brothers are favorites of mine and most of the films I have watched over the last few years featured talking animals or vegetables. Our Zoe is five.
I’m going to write my take on the film while attempting to leave out any specifics that would ruin the suspense for those who haven’t yet seen it.
Now, I’m no film or literary critic. Still, I’ll argue that from my angle the only way to interpret the film is to think of it as what I’ve taken the liberty to refer to as Christian noir.
Consider, though the movie is essentially realistic, the bad guy is not human. He’s too evil and/or not well enough developed (intentionally, I believe). He is a dark spirit, or as the sheriff says, a ghost.
And consider, two sheriffs from different towns talk about the incomprehensible wickedness that has overcome at least their part of the world during the past twenty years or so (the ‘60s and ‘70s). The bad guy, in my view, is the incarnation of that wickedness. (Or in Christian terms, Satan loosed upon the world in the last days).
The sheriff, while talking about his career, explains that he used to believe God would show up by the time he reached the age he is now. But, he says, God hasn’t shown up. I’m presuming the sheriff is referring to the Christian version of God, because given his appearance and what we know of his background, that seems his most likely heritage.
So, he may still be waiting for God to show or he may have given up. Then, in the final scene, he tells of a dream he had last night. The dream is a cowboy’s vision of heaven. The message the film sends me is, not only Texas, but the whole world has proven to be no country for old men, or for any who have grasped the truth, that we haven’t the power or insight to stop the tide of evil. Our only hope, or salvation, is in God showing up and giving us a dream.
Now, years after watching the film, I read the book and find that the film did it justice, which is pretty rare.