A Great Movie With A Terrible Ending – ‘No Country For Old Men’

No Country For Old MenBefore I start this review, I need to inform you that I’m a bit biased… I’m a person that needs the END of a movie to be good in order for me to deem the movie a success.  I’m not saying it needs to be a happy ending by any stretch, but the ending needs to tie the movie up.

That being said, this movie was great (so great in fact that it won an Oscar for Best Picture), but the ending was fucking terrible and ruined the entire experience in my opinion.  I’m sure there is some movie mastery going on here that I’m supposed to “get” but if that’s the case then I completely missed it.

The story is actually very interesting — Llewelyn Moss (Josh Brolin) runs across a drug bust gone bad and then all hell breaks loose.  The killer in this flick (Javier Bardem) is INCREDIBLE and definitely deserved to win his Oscar for Best Supporting Actor.  The movie contains some great action sequences and the killer’s got some intense weaponry as well.  Certainly worth seeing the movie just for his performance.

All told though, I just can’t get past the ending.  To me, it seemed that the movie was going along great for about an hour and a half and then the writer just plain ran out of ideas and had to end the movie.  No conclusion, no closure, no ending.

Sad sad sad.  I’d have to give this one a thumbs down based on the last 15 minutes of the movie.  Great cast, great action, better weapons… crappy ending.

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6 Comments

  1. The final moments of this film are some of the most haunting and thoughtful I think I’ve ever seen. Instead of giving us an action-filled and typical violent showdown between the main characters, we instead get the killer (representng escalating modern violence) walking away merely injured but not destroyed. Meanwhile, we find the old-fashioned retired sherriff (representing the days lawful days of old) in a state of reflection and ultimately pessmistic fright that there is no stop to what’s coming – an uncontrollable society filled with brutal violence.

  2. ferguson –
    thanks for such a thought provoking response. i wrote my review shortly after viewing the movie and really hadn’t had a chance to think about it much. while i still think that the ending of the movie could/should have been better i can see what you’re getting at here.

    please don’t take what i said in my review wrong either — i do NOT require a happy ending (seeing the killer die or even be brought to justice). i suppose if we DIDN’T get the ultimate good vs. bad shoot em out, i would have at least like to see tommy lee’s character give that speech to anton near the end.

    thanks again for the response
    chewie

  3. Sorry you didn’t like the ending of NCFOM. For me it was about as poignant as one oculd hope for. We had just seen a taunt, engaging thriller played out before our eyes and then, without warning, it ends. Seemingly without resolution. And that’s what I found to be so powerful about it. The ending represented a nihlistic world view in a manner that drove the message home verbally, visually, and viscerally.

    Verbally, we heard that the sheriff (who at this point was us, the viewer) can’t control what’s coming. And what’s coming? Darkness. The sheriff (again, us) had a dream (a hope, a vision, a desire) that someone had gone ahead of him in the dark to make a fire and warm the place up and bring light to the dark. But then he woke up; meaning–to me anyway–that he “woke up” in the sense that he realized that no one was goign before him to make a fire. No one was going before him to warm things up. The future was dark, and there was nothing he could do about it.

    Visually, well, that’s easier, the screen simply went dark before we expected it to. Before things were resolved. Just like the screen of life goes dark before we expect it to.

    Viscerally, the film left us uncomfortable Thinking. Disturbed with what we’d seen. Just like the nihlistic point of view.

    That’s why, for me, the film was a masterpiece.

  4. I hated the ending too. I don’t buy this “nihilistic point of view” nonsense. It may well explain what the film maker was thinking but as a story the movie feels unfinished. I refuse to applaud leaving a movie unfinished as being a brillliant artistic statement.

    We don’t see Llewelyn Moss die. We’ve been following him all this time and empathizing with him but then he dies suddenly. Worse yet he doesn’t die by the hand of the principal villian. He never gets a chance to go after the villain like he said he would. Don’t tell me this is clever or artistic. It’s poor story telling.

    And Tommy Lee Jones never faces the villain. The sherif never confronts the bad guy. The hero never confronts the villain. That’s not clever or artistic. It’s just stupid.

    At the very least I would have liked to see Tommy Lee Jones react to the death (I think she died) of Llewelyn Moss’ wife.

    Loved 90% of the movie but then the writer trashed it.

  5. While we are following Moss around for much of the film, we want to root for him as the “good” guy but he’s not the good guy. While we think he’s good for going back to give water to the dying Mexican and because we’ve sympathized with him, he still takes the cash and runs. He is given a chance to save his wife but instead he saves his own life and tries to run with the cash, meet up with his wife, and kill the “bad guy”. That is so cliche. Anton represents “death” and while Moss tries to run from him, it eventually catches up to him even if it is not Anton.

    The movie isn’t about heroes versus villains, good versus bad. The story is really about Tommy Lee Jones’s character. It’s about how the world is becoming more violent and how someone with good intentions like Tommy Lee Jones can’t make a difference in this new world (notice how he arrives at Moss’s trailer after Anton has visited, missing him by mere minutes. Also how he arrives seconds after the Mexican gangsters have killed Moss). How cheesy would it have been to have Tommy Lee Jones and Anton have a final showdown at the end of the movie? This movie is trying to be as realistic as possible and in reality the good guys don’t always win. The movie is about chance, desinty, and fate, not a good versus bad storyline

  6. Realistically however good always comes face to face with evil. Evil continues to exist but good is the predominant theme in mainstream society. If anything the writers have a bleak outlook/faith in modern society whilst advocating strict adherance to general rules which once broken lead to debts of biblical proportions I.e: In the case of Moss an inescapable death.

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