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)