“I truly consider myself non-sexy which is fine for me. I don’t have any problem with that. Sometimes I would like to have Brad Pitt’s body, but that’s not something that obsesses me in a real way. And second, I truly believe that what I would like to portray on-screen or on stage are human beings, and human beings usually are not as handsome as movie stars. But most times being handsome on-screen or being handsome for real life has to do much more with your vanity and your profound need to be liked by the rest of the people, be loved by the rest of the people.”
I had an interesting thought earlier on a line/the psyche of a character from No Country For Old Men. I read the novel way before I saw the film and let me be the first to say it’s one of the most accurate adaptations of all time. The character that will haunt my dreams forever is Anton Chigurh. One scene in particular that’s been stuck in my mind lately is the coin toss scene. Anton simply asks the gas station attendant “What’s the most you ever lost on a coin toss?” While this scene simply takes a few minutes the impact it has is very deep. Anton is a cold blooded killer and simply tossed the coin and was ready to kill this random person based on the flip of quarter.
When asked what the most he ever lost on a coin toss, the man doesn’t know how to answer. He doesn’t realize the amplification of the situation. It got me thinking. What really is the most people have ever lost on a coin toss. Shotgun in the car, who shoots the basketball first, who wins a candy bar, etc. All of these things in the long haul are meaningless but we use such a primitive method to decide them because we’re all selfish. No one wants to see someone else win or go ahead of them. This man doesn’t realize that he is putting his life up in more than one way. Every time he has had a coin toss he’s putting up his livelihood in some way or the other. He always has something to gain but also lose. This time he just happened to get very lucky and win his life back.
Although psychotic, Anton is quite philosophical in a way. I suggest that everyone read the novel to get deeper into his character.
“No no. No. You don’t understand. You can’t make a deal with him. Even if you gave him the money he’d still kill you. He’s a peculiar man. You could even say that he has principles. Principles that transcend money or drugs or anything like that. He’s not like you. He’s not even like me.”
Carson Wells (No Country for Old Men dir. Joel & Ethan Coen, 2007)
I saw Cormac McCarthy & Ridley Scott’s “The Counselor” on a flight recently. It had been really poorly reviewed, but I wanted to see a film where Cormac McCarthy had personally written the screenplay, rather than written a screenplay-length book (No Country for Old Men) for the purpose of being immediately turned into a screenplay by the Coen Brothers.
Anyway, most of the reviewers are wrong. However, I ABSOLUTELY don’t recommend it because it’s a hateful, nihilistic film. It is nothing other than a subtraction from the good of the world and you’ll be less of a person for having viewed it.
BUT - it is a well made film. Where The Coens’ NCFOM meanders on its way to hell, The Counselor is a bullet train. It’s a faster ride, on rails, to the same shithole Cormac McCarthy, a brilliant man who paints exclusively in black these days, wants you to die in. The script, filled with proper soliloquies, is more like a play than a film, which surely turned some morons off, but against Ridley Scott’s tableaux - and this is his best work since Gladiator - it is striking and aesthetic harmony is indeed achieved.
Regardless, fuck No Country for Old Men and The Counselor and The Coens and Ridley Scott, and most especially Cormac McCarthy. It isn’t enough for me that they’re all wildly, preternaturally skilled in their chosen disciplines. I just don’t understand why an artist would want to spend their time and talents in a world like that. No nuance, no possibilities, just hate and fear and constriction. I reject it!
Clearly this is me talking around the edges of my own personal manifesto(s), and I’m not “correct” in what I’m talking about here. It’s just how I feel and I wanted particularly to tell every reviewer who lauded NCFOM and slammed The Counselor to please SPARE ME as, seen from space, they’re remarkable similar. The only significant difference is that The Counselor doesn’t have a Tommy Lee Jones character roaming around saying, “Well geez, this sucks.” Perhaps that makes it the more compassionate film as it has led me to become that character and write this ridiculous post.
The beautiful Spanish actor finally graced the silver screen in America after what was already an impressive career in foreign cinema. And he did so in an historic manor. Anton Chigurh is a character of virtually no description in Cormac McCarthy’s eponymous novel. His actions are described with a Hemingway-esque brevity. The Coens’ award-winning adaptation adds nothing to the character. Bardem showed up on set with some ideas in mind and they kind of just let him fly with it - this goes against everything else I’ve heard of the Coens, a meticulous duo to say the least. Bardem’s haircut alone is a cinematic feat. Anton Chigurh is the epitome of evil, and some - myself included - would go so far as to say that Chigurh is an embodiment of the devil himself. He is a force as unyielding as water who leaves everything up to his own twisted definition of fate.