Sunday, March 16, 2008

Psycho Savant



So I finally got around to watching No Country For Old Men and have to say that Anton Chigurh is quite possibly the most frightening villain I've ever seen.  Forget blood-sucking vampires and cannibalistic serial killers. At least Dr. Lector could develop a fondness for people from time to time.

But this Anton character, well he's something else entirely. There's something terrifying about a brilliant, methodical sociopath who marries his own brand of judgement with a complete lack of empahty for his victims. And no, the weird haircut and deep voice did not help a bit.

The best victims get from Anton - if they're lucky - is a 50/50 chance to live based on the outcome of a coin toss.

I originally wasn't going to watch this movie; so many today are over-hyped and this one was hyper-hyped. But the book got such glowing literary reviews that I couldn't resist, especially when I learned that the directors stayed very close to the story.

 I also was a bit curious over the controversial ending. Critics - including several friends of mine who've seen it - bitched and moaned about how the finale left the story hanging, how it lacked the climactic showdown between Chigurh and the character he was pursuing, Lewellyn Moss.

But they don't get it. The ending was perfect because the story wasn't about Anton or Lewellyn. It was merely a backdrop for the subtle undercurrent that was the real story - a changing society that forces an aging lawman to realize that he's no longer dealing with criminals, but a criminal society that can't be stopped or defeated because it lacks both reason and conscience.

Anton represents a living, breathing embodiment of the wave of senseless violence, circa 1980. Over two decades later, the message of the movie seems almost prophetic when you look at the savagery of this culture.

There's so much random danger out there. We can do the best we can to protect ourselves, but still, daily we face a flip of the coin by just going out the door. Call it...

26 comments:

laughingwolf said...

you're right... saw the thing, not what i was hoping for... begs a sequel i'll miss....

Morgan said...

I don't think it really needs a sequel. The story that was supposed to be told as told. The days when crime as about good guys vs. bad guys is long over. Now, in the movie Ed Toms father makes a good point - to a certain extent there has always been an evil bigger than just one criminal. But Ed Tom sees that it's gotten way, way out of hand. Anton is a personification of the pervasive threat of the Criminal Mindset and now no one is truly safe no matter what sheriff is in town.

Thoughts?

I'd love to have a good, intellectual discussion of this movie. It really, really intrigued me.

And before anyone asks, no I don't embrace victimhood or live in fear. But I am well aware that - especially as a woman - it is a lot scarier to be civil to strangers this day and age. You just never know...

Andrea said...

Well hell. I'd love to discuss it too, but I haven't seen it yet. It's in the queue though.

I read true crime, so I hear ya on the female angle. We just watched "Roman" (not as good as "May") and when my husband mentioned how creepy it was that the stalkerish guy knew this girl's checking-the-mail routine, I told him that's what it's like to be a girl. You're watched.

Ice said...

All this talk about this Country Men movie and I haven't even heard of it.

God, get with the program, Courtney.

Okay so I've been rippin' up Utorrents, maybe I have to get that movie then... :)

Good weekend, sweetie?

Morgan said...

Andrea,

My husband wasn't as bugged out by the movie as I was, but I think it was because as a woman I feel a little more vulnerable. I don't hide out in the house or anything, but I am very aware of the dangers of even taking an afternoon walk these days. On Saturday I went for a two-mile stroll and a pickup went past. I didn't recognize the truck or the driver - a big guy- who slowed down and scoped me out. I live in a rural area and was between two houses, and moved closer to the ditch so I could hop it and run if I needed to. But it occurred to me that if this guy were truly intent on harming me, I'd just be out of luck. I'm not sure if I could outrun someone who is a foot taller and a hundred pounds heavier. I know I'd be no match for him.

Another car came around the corner and the truck sped up and left. I don't know if the guy in the truck was a predator or was just enjoying the view, but either way I felt lucky. Maybe I should take a gun, but I'd rather rely on luck as crazy as that sounds. I don't want to arm myself when I leave the house; I mean, what's the point? If I'm that scared I shouldn't leave the house.

My other neighbor takes karate lessons, carries a gun everywhere and can cite the latest rape statistic. She's afraid of everything and at thirty-something still lives at home with mom and dad. I'd rather be murdered than live trapped by my own fear.

But the danger is real and you are so right - guys generally don't see the world the way we do. It is unnerving and the fear could be crippling if you let it.

But do watch the movie. It won't make you feel any better *grin*
But it is a really interesting bit of cinema.

Morgan said...

Ice, I had a low-key weekend. My little girl is under the weather so we stuck around the house. I groomed all the ponies on Saturday and collected enough hair from their shedding coats to make a whole new pony.

On Sunday I wrote a bunch of porn, but then again that's what Sundays are for.

Next weekend should be better. My friend April is hosing a pirate-themed Easter egg hunt. Arrrrggh.

Ice said...

See, now, how bloody productive... and this was a low key, nothing weekend? Brushing the ponies so well that you could make a whole new one?

...and SUNDAY'S writing PORN? You truly are amazing. I think I should re-think my Sunday's...

;)

Ice said...

Oh, BTW.

Two "eye" commenters.

What is it about the eye?

Nice pic, Andrea ;)

Morgan said...

Hey, only the coolest chicks comment at the Token Hippie. Here the "eyes" have it!

Andrea said...

Right back atcha, babe :)

And Morg, I actually think you have the right idea about going on luck. There are so many variations on a possible outcome anyway, trusting your intuition is as good a method as any. And one mustn't be ruled by fear. You could board yourself up in the house, but then you have those home invasions/abductions to consider. Like "Funny Games." And speaking of, are you going to watch this one too? The trailer is a huge mindfuck.

Victoria said...
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Morgan said...

Andrea, I DO want to see that, if nothing else to watch Tim Roth play a victim role. I've had a film-grudge against him since seeing him as the Distasteful Rapist Fop in one of my favorite films, Rob Roy.

Per luck, I think you are right. I'm a bit of a klutz, and arming myself would probably do me no good. I'd end up shooting myself in the foot or something. My current strategy would be to gouge out an attacker's eye with my iPod Shuffle. I'm quite sure that would stall him till he could readjust his grip. :-(

And as politically incorrect as this sounds, I never worry at home. I'm married to a man who makes his own bullets. I feel completely safe when he's around. I'd pity the person who tried to break in when Larry's home.

laughingwolf said...

hey now, i'm neither a cool chick nor an eye... guess me comments're nada? :P lol

Morgan said...

You're my Wuffie-wuff! My cuddly pup! You're the Top Dog? You *know* I love you.

Feel better? I hope so. I'd hate to have to come over there and jab you with my iPod.

thimscool said...

Hmmmn. I'm thinking that you should get yourself an nice protective dog for those walks, if nothing else. A cell phone is also good.

But think again about a handgun, carried prominently on your hip. It's a nice little signal not to screw around with you.

thimscool said...

Check out my baby!

Victoria said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Morgan said...

Dogs are a hassle. If you take one, instead of worrying about being attacked by people you have to be worried about being attacked by another dog that's freaked out by the one you're walking. That's why I don't take dogs with me anymore.

I think the gun would make me look ridiculous and paranoid. Of course, being raped and thrown in the ditch is arguably more ridiculous, but the day I have to strap on a gun to walk is the day I just give up entirely and refuse to leave the house.

The cell phone is a good idea. In fact, tonight when Larry asked me if I'd been taking mine when I walked and I answered no he freaked out on me a bit. The cell phone is now no longer an option; I'm apparently required to take it.

In other news, that baby is the cutest thing ever. When they laugh like that, it's just the sweetest thing. You, Luke, are a lucky man. Rosemary is adorable, and Atticus really looks a lot like his dad. Which makes him adorable, too.

laughingwolf said...

aww thx morg... wuffy wuvs ye, TWO ;) lol

but hey, ye know to let sleepin wuffs lie... or is that lay? :O lol

take wuffs on yer walks, they're upright... at least much of the time... and usually big enuff to scare most other critters, two-legged or otherwise.... :D

Morgan said...

Sounds like a fantastic idea. But I'll need you to send me your neck measurements. For the collar, of course. :-)

laughingwolf said...

no way, josee :P

not into bdsm... 'sides, wuffs run free ;) lol

Morgan said...

Ummmm...I don't remember saying anything about BDSM.

Jana said...

I loved the shear poetry of the violence. He was honest, forthright, and not so much evil like the blood-sucking variety, more like evil born and bred. He knew what to do, he did it - period. I loved the ending - there was no way to beat that guy, and Lewellen even though he THOUGHT he was going to get a showdown, it just wasn't going to be. I smiled a bit when the villain walked out of that car accident, wrapped his broken arm in a shirt and strolled away. Ahhh-victory. You're right about the undertone of the violence in society, I was a teen in the 80's and think it all started with the microwave oven and Disco Music!
Glad to see you back by the way!!

Jana said...

About being scared to leave the house - I have been in situations where I felt like I could be victimized, but I always try to put up the biggest toughest front I can manage, I don't go out alone after dark - even in this quiet country area I live in...There's a lot of violence out there just waiting for some random chance, and I try not to be that chance. There was a big article in some magazine laying around at my daughter's house- had to do with random acts like opening the security door on a apartment building for some guy carrying a package and couldn't reach his key...didn't she watch Silence of the Lambs!!???

Morgan said...

Hi Jana! Good to see you.

I think you described Anton perfectly. The scary thing about him was that there was no reasoning with him, just like there's no reasoning with Evil. Evil - like Anton - plays by its own rules and it doesn't care whether we understand them or not.

Per the tough front, you are right about that, too. I've read studies that say a woman who walks with confidence is less likely to be attacked than one who looks afraid. I don't mind making direct eye contact and if someone stares I just give them a hard stare back. You'd be surprised how some of them look away; I think some guys think the can intimidate you just by looking

Kinggame said...

I thought it was one of the best films I have ever seen. Seriously. I loved the ending as well. While a slow film I was riveted to my seat, and when it all went black my heart was pounding in my throat. Incredible. I sincerely believe it to be the best individual film of the decade.