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No Country II-3- Anton Chigurh. 
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Post No Country II-3- Anton Chigurh.
3- Anton Chigurh, an assassin and a sociopath.

1- Would you like to give examples of what you find most striking about Chigurth's behaviour?


2- What do we learn about him from Carson Wells ( a rival hitman and ex-partner of Chigurh who is also on the trail of the money) ?



3-
I'm going to quote from a review of the film written by Jonathan Rosenbaum in the Chicago Reader.

I'll try not to do this if I can avoid it, and leave discussion of the film to a thread after the discussion of the novel.

Note: "The Silence of the Lambs": Ted Tally's screenplay was based on Thomas Harris's 1988 best-selling novel of the same name.

Quote:
One reason I tend to dislike movies about psycho killers is that I can't respond to them with the devotion I feel is expected of me. I'm too distracted by the abundance of these characters on-screen when they rarely appear in real life, and by how popular they seem to become whenever we're fighting a war. What is it about them that people find so exciting? Reviewing The Silence of the Lambs over 16 years ago, I was troubled by the way the thriller tapped into "irrational, mythical impulses that ultimately seem more theological than psychological," and how critics who loved it seemed "better equipped to regurgitate the myth than to analyze it." (...)
The waves of love that went out to Lecter, epitomized by the five top Oscars the movie received in 1992, were a mix of giggly fascination, twisted affection, and outright awe for his absolute lack of remorse. This was during the first gulf war, a time when we were grappling with our own feelings about killing masses of people on a daily basis. I suspect Lecter represented a savior of sorts, a saintlike holy psycho who made us feel less uneasy about wanton slaughter.

We may not feel the same kind of affection for the real psycho killers in our midst, but they do inspire similar fear, fascination, and mythologizing. Seung-Hui Cho was clearly crazy when he slaughtered 32 people at Virginia Tech last April, but he was also smart enough to know there was no question that if he sent a media kit off to the national press they'd use it. He might have had more power to get himself onto the cover of Newsweek than the editors would have had if they'd wanted to keep him off. (...)The picture of human nature in No Country for Old Men is by contrast so bleak I wonder if it must provide for some a reassuring explanation for our defeatism and apathy in the face of atrocity. I admire the creativity and storytelling craft of the Coen brothers, but I can't for the life of me figure out what use they think they're putting that creativity and craft to. As I left the screening in Toronto, all I could think was, "America sure loves its mass murderers."

(emphasis mine)

http://www.chicagoreader.com/features/stories/moviereviews/2007/071108/


No Country For Old Men is a successful novel.

a- Do you think the character of Anton Chigurgh accounts for much of its success?


b- The modern sociopath character is asociated with American literature.

Any commments about Jonathan Rosenbaum's Review?


c- (How can I phrase this nicely...?): Do you see a link bewtween the American public or readers' psyche and the appearance of psychopaths in novels and films who become very famous characters?


d- Here one can try analysing the fans who then love the same books and films in the rest of the world.


4- Here are more quotes about Chigurh:

Quote:
Chigurh isn't caught red-handed . His deeds don't catch up to him; he simply fulfills his character-as-destiny, expressing the essence of who he is . (...)Chigurh exhibits the occasional glimmers of personality -- pride, arrogance, annoyance, determination -- but he never succumbs to fits of dudgeon. He kills not from anger, or even for money, but because it is his nature.


http://blogs.suntimes.com/scanners/2008/01/three_kinds_of_violence_zodiac.html


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Last edited by Ophelia on Thu Mar 27, 2008 1:45 pm, edited 2 times in total.



Wed Mar 19, 2008 9:59 am
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Hello,

Americans love violence. Americans are violent. Do we love sociopaths? Yes, I think so. The American movie sociopath is the post-modern American Sheriff of the movies of the old west. Post-modern in the sense that he reflects that there is no right or wrong. Just circumstance, timing, and skill.

I think it is tied to the unique American worldview that an apocalypse is a certainty. Maybe not the "Apocalypse." Rather civil unrest, envriomental failure, terrorist attack, etc. The sociopath is the boogie man in every Americans closet. He is not waiting for Mom to to turn off the lights, instead he is waiting for the power companies to fail. Then he will spring forth an every red blooded male will have to be as tough and as violent as one to survive.

Steve



Mon Mar 24, 2008 8:33 pm
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With regard to the Jonathan Rosenbaum review, his assertion that 5 Academy Awards for "Silence of the Lambs" is tantamount to "waves of love" for Hannibal Lecter is laughable. This man sounds very angry. His connection between "Lecter-love" and the first Gulf War is absurd. America was not grappling with it's feelings over killing masses of people on a daily basis (if indeed we were). Where was this moron in 1992? I was loading UPS trucks with working class Americans of every possible stripe. Trust me-- there was no emotional grappling going on-- far from it! Lecter helped assuage our Gulf War guilt? There was and is no guilt. What an isolated idiot! We may be fascinated with serial killers. It may be unhealthy. But it ain't Gulf War guilt! A lobotomy would be too kind for this man.

I must confess, Steve, that I don't quite get your post. That America has a unique view of certain Apocalypse means what? The sociopath in the closet............ hmmmmmmmmm...... Post-modern absence of right and wrong......... I think you need to elaborate.

One of the things that distinguishes Anton Chigurh as a sociopath for me is the use of weaponry. McCarthy equips him with a cattlegun powered, I think, by an oxygen tank. Consequently his victims are reduced to the level of animals and dispatched like cattle in a slaughterhouse. Conversely his moral adversary, Sheriff Bell, elevates animals to the level of humans when he rescues a dead bird from being pulverized on the road and when he instructs his deputy to remove their horses from a horrendous crime scene-- "Let's take the horses out yonder a ways, Bell said. They don't need to see this."

The lines are clear in this profoundly American novel: right and wrong.



Wed Mar 26, 2008 10:27 pm
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Kenneth wrote:

The lines are clear in this profoundly American novel: right and wrong.


I only watched the movie...have not read the book.

I think that this story is not about simply good and evil. It is about how life changes around you and there is no longer a way to know what is going on at all. Yes, good and evil are a big part of the theme, but it is mainly about change and how we can, or cannot, learn to deal with it...and trying to find a way to still be releveant. And maybe too that we cannot hide from the changes that are going on around us...they will find you.

Chigurh is a very compelling character. He is ultra violent, and thus to me he was the contrasting element in the film. I heard that many thought the film was gratuitous in violence...I do not accept that. The violence was the basis for us to assess the other characters/elements of the story. Without that, we could not understand the Sherrif, Moss or Moss' wife.

Mr. P.



Thu Mar 27, 2008 9:11 am
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Movie related (unless it is in the book too):

What are we to make of the ending, where Chigurh pays the kids for the shirt? And was he looking at those kids prior to the accident with an intent to kill them?) This is the same thing (buying a shirt) Moss did with the older American kids just before crossing the Border.

Different but same in character?
Weakness in Chigurh?



Thu Mar 27, 2008 9:50 am
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Mr P wrote:

Quote:
What are we to make of the ending, where Chigurh pays the kids for the shirt? And was he looking at those kids prior to the accident with an intent to kill them?) This is the same thing (buying a shirt) Moss did with the older American kids just before crossing the Border.

Different but same in character?
Weakness in Chigurh?


Good question.

I know for a fact that the second shirt episode is in the book, so I imagine the first one is as well (?).

Ch IX, p 261:
Chigurh: "What will you take for this shirt?"


I wondered what to make of this.


In chapter X, after he has decided to quit, Bell traces one of the boys and hears about the shirt: p 292: "David gives him his shirt".

Bell doesn't seem to be interested in the shirt. He has stopped believing he could catch Chigurgh I think. He asks for a description.

"He was medium height. Medium build. Dark hair."

----------


I'll ask the question that follows in the next posting.


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Thu Mar 27, 2008 1:44 pm
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Your comments, Mr. P, about coping with change are extremely relevant Not having read the book you may be interested in the opening lines which represent the beginning of an on-going diary of sheriff Bell. He talks about a killer he busted who was executed, a man with no remorse, ostensibly no soul: "I thought I'd never seen a person like that and it got me to wonderin if he was some new kind." Later Bell says, "But he wasn't nothin compared to what was comin down the pike.'

Yes, change in a big way. For Bell, Anton Chigurh becomes a "true and living prophet of destruction." He's a ghost , a spirit, Satan on earth. Is Chigurh a man? It's a question that rears its head throughout the book. For me, yes he is a man. Bell should know that this kind of evil is a walk in the park compared to what he himself helped eradicate in the 1940's.

The change of garb thing is very interesting. Moss and Chigurh do this while coping with terrible injuries. They are both extremely vulnerable at the time. But it must be said it enables both to survive.



Thu Mar 27, 2008 11:46 pm
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After reading Kenneth's post I returned to the first chapter of the book.

The scene with the deputy page 5 to 7 is difficult to understand -- Chigurgh kills the deputy although he is handcuffed-- but then Chigurgh explains it in the end.

p 174, during the conversation with Wells,Chigurgh says:

"An hour later I was pulled over by a sheriff's deputy outside of Sonora Texas and I let him take me into town with handcuffs. I'm not sure why I did this but I think I wanted to see if I could extricate myself by an act of will. because I believe that one can. that such a thing is possible. But it was a foolish thing to do. A vain thing to do."


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Fri Mar 28, 2008 4:23 am
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Chigurgh: 5- Do you think he is invincible?


Chapter 5, Wells and "the man on the seventeenth floor" discuss Chigurh:

p140.
The man: I'd like to know your opinion of him. In general. The invincible Mr
Chigurgh.
Wells: Nobody's invincible.
Man: Somebody is.
Somewhere in the world is the most invincible man.
Wells: That's a belief you have or what?
Man: No. It's called statistics.
(...)
Wells: He's a psychotic killer but so what? There's plenty around.


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Fri Mar 28, 2008 6:41 am
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6- Is Chigurh really different from other monstrous killers?


Sheriff Bells compares him to other killers he knows, but he doesn't mention Mafia men.
If you think of organized crime in Asia for example, they've had very efficient and totally ruthless hit men operating for centuries.

Can Chigurh be "more heartless" than them?

And if he was worse personally, could he be the harbinger of a new race of bad men, as the Sheriff seems to think? (I have a difficulty with this, I tend to think the human race has already produced every possible type of human monster).


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Last edited by Ophelia on Fri Mar 28, 2008 5:11 pm, edited 1 time in total.



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Kenneth wrote:
The change of garb thing is very interesting. Moss and Chigurh do this while coping with terrible injuries. They are both extremely vulnerable at the time. But it must be said it enables both to survive.


I was thinking about this while dozing off last night. This is what I came up with:

Moss is terribly wounded when he offers to pay for the shirt. He makes his offer for the shirt (in the film $100.00). The young americans are all physically able young men and Moss is weak. They know Moss has cash on him, they could have controlled the situation. The young men try getting snarky with Moss and trying to up the ante for the shirt and the beer he also requests. But Moss holds firm, and one of the young men caves in in the face of the courage Moss is showing and tells his friends to just give him what he wants for the original $100. Moss uses the shirt to HID his wounds to deflect attention from himself.

Chigurh is also hurt bad, but nowhere near as bad as Moss. He seems very helpless when interacting to the two very young boys (which in the film it looks like he was going to maybe kill - as he sized them up in his rear-view mirror). He feebly ASKS the boys what he can give for the shirt. He did not make a solid offer, but asked them. He should have been in control in this situation, considering who he is, but he was not. Where Moss used the shirt to HIDE his injuries, Chigurh used the shirt to nurse his injuries, to prop up his weakness.

What do you all think about that assessment? What does it mean?

Mr. P.



Fri Mar 28, 2008 8:39 am
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Mr P wrote:

Quote:
I was thinking about this while dozing off last night



I can just imagine the "sweet dreams" we in the BT fiction forum are going to have after pondering all this...


The shirt scene with Moss and the three boys is in chapter IV, page 115.

You must be right, Mr P, in looking for the parallel between the scenes.
The book gives me a different impression though.
So, since it is said the Coen Brothers followed the book closely, they must have had a good reason for making things different.

The boys are not bad, just drunk.
Moss says "Excuse me" three times, including
"Excuse me I wondered if you would sell me a coat."
He offers $ 500, and the only difficulty is the boys think he is kidding them and he will just take the coat and vanish.


Quote:
Chigurh is also hurt bad, but nowhere near as bad as Moss. He seems very helpless when interacting to the two very young boys (which in the film it looks like he was going to maybe kill - as he sized them up in his rear-view mirror). He feebly ASKS the boys what he can give for the shirt. He did not make a solid offer, but asked them.


I also wondered about this when I read it, but came to different conclusions.

Chigurh asked, the boys were surprised, and one said he would just give him his shirt for free (as he was injured).
Chigurh applied his usual logic: when he asks a question, he means to have an answer. When the question is "how much", the answer had better be in dollars, he doesn't talk to pass the time.
Probably, the way Chigurh's mind works, " What'll you give for...?" is Chigurhese for "Would you mind letting me use...?" , and he will not change it because some human beings of no consequence speak a different language.

Actually, I got the impression that if he had not been so wounded, the boys' impudent lack of logic and inability to focus on the question might have been their death warrants.


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Fri Mar 28, 2008 11:13 am
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I agree with Ophelia that Chigurh can't be worse than the parade of notorious monsters the 20th century coughed up. A new race of bad men? I don't think so. Sheriff Bell thinks so because, frankly, he's burned out. He also attributes supernatural powers to the man. This is helpful to the Sheriff because it let's him off the hook and helps justify his retirement. He retires in the middle of a multiple homicide investigation involving a dozen or so murders, at least 9 of which take place in his county.

In Chapter 9 he says: "He's a ghost. But he's out there. You wouldn't think it would be possible to just come and go thataway." Well, it wouldn't be possible to come and go thataway if any of the law enforcement people involved used their noggins. At the motel where Moss, the Mexican and the girl were all shot to death the room was not even searched for evidence. The Mexican's Barracuda and Moss's truck were on the lot. There was no evidence of any other players. The money HAD to be on the premises. A cursory search would've turned up the money bag and a careful stakeout would've netted Chigurh. But Bell returns after the fact, too late, and says, "We been out-generaled." Ed Tom Bell, you are no general.

So Chigurh is neither a new breed of bad men nor a ghost nor a cohort of Mammon. He is a man, intoxicated with blood lust who, like the crack addict, feels invincible. He "comes and goes thataway" because he must and because there is no one competent enough to stop him.

Which begs the question: Why do the bad guys like Wells and Chigurh speak perfect English while the good characters all use hick-speak?



Sun Mar 30, 2008 10:44 pm
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Quote:
Which begs the question: Why do the bad guys like Wells and Chigurh speak perfect English while the good characters all use hick-speak?


I nominate this best remark so far! :clap2:


How come I didn't notice, when I was so often battling with the style?


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Sun Mar 30, 2008 11:57 pm
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I don't think Anton Chigurgh makes the book a success - I think it's Moss who carries it off - his personality is delightful - and I like Bell too - don't care what they say about him.

I am, however, glad to see he's gonna' quit being the sheriff - he ain't tough enough to be a sheriff in that kinda' place.



Tue Jul 29, 2008 3:26 am
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