*spoilers* from No Country For Old Men follow, obviously
I've seen No Country For Old Men three times and it remains, for the most part, an unnerving experience. Certain moments within Anton Chigurh's (Javier Bardem) relentless demonic pursuit of Llewelyn Moss (Josh Brolin) are only truly terrifying the first time through but others seem to fester like open wounds becoming more troubling with repeated viewings.
No Country... has a much lower body count than many casually destructive action films but the deaths hurt more. That the subject matter seems to be the inevitably of death, life's unavoidable defeat (such a nihilistic author, that Cormac McCarthy) obviously contributes to the disturbance. So does the movie's occasionally merciless sick joke tone...
oh, hell's bells they even shot the dogThe first two murders (a cop and an unfortunate driver on the highway) come courtesy of Chigurh and aren't given much if any context in the larger narrative. I'm not counting the deal gone wrong that sees several dead people at once --one only mostly dead "agua"-- since these killings took place offscreen and I can't tell how many victims there are.
More loss of life follows: a dog (the only onscreen kill not committed by Chigurh) and two 'managerial types' that the big boss must be displeased with. He's not one to articulate his reasons --but god, that's a harsh on the job performance review.
Five dead so far.
And then comes the first of the two long motel sequence (about 45 minutes in) which combined undoubtedly won the film its well deserved Oscar nominations for sound. Llewellyn has the money and three Mexican drug runners and Anton are all in hot pursuit. When Anton bursts into the room where he thinks Llewellyn and the money are he blows away two of the Mexicans with his creepy pressurized weapon. Upon entering the already bloody bathroom, we see the 8th victim of No Country For Old Men. He hides in the shower shaking from fear.
And a very peculiar thing happens.
Chigurh pulls the shower curtain closed before the kill. This brutal murderer who gets off on killing or performs it with bored ease, averts his gaze (for the one and only time) from his own in-progress atrocities. Why? It's a troubling incongruity in this disturbing film.
previous episodes of 8th
...character intro in Showgirls
...use of magic in Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix