A quick little chime in from HE reader James Kent on No Country For Old Men and the whole funny ending thing: “I saw it this past weekend and it’s a great film. And you are spot on — it is one of those movies you can’t emerge from and talk about right away. You need a couple of hours to digest the thing. Did I love the ending? No. But does that diminish the love I have for the film? Absolutely not.
“Look, if the Brothers Coen had found a different way to resolve the film in some awesome, slam-bang way…who knows? Maybe it would have a more short-term, this-film-kicks-ass-but-much-else type feeling. But because it is so unsettling and unresolved it will last a lot longer in the history of film.
“And what the fuck do people want anyway? How many horror movies end with the killer still alive, primed for sequels 1 through 5? Well, by the end of this film our boy Javier Bardem is still on the loose. But isn’t that the point? Evil lives on in this world. It isn’t fair, or it is about as fair and arbitrary as a coin toss.
“This is one of those second-time-arounders. Once you know how it ends and you understand what role Tommy Lee Jones plays in the film, you go back and you listen to the script more. That’s when the end of this film will have a real punch. Gee, imagine that — a film worth seeing a second time! How many films work on that level?
“Did I want Josh Brolin to have the that like he did? No. Did I want him to engage in an awesome showdown with Javier at the end of the film? Hell yeah. In lieu of that, did I want Tommy Lee Jones to show up, Marge Gunderson-style, and pull Brolin’s wife out of the woodchipper in the nick of time? Most definitely. But that is what we get time and time again. And let’s face it, we’re never really happy with that.
“Actually, if you want the Hollywood ending — Tommy Lee Jones saves Josh’s wife, kills Bardem…or wait….we only think he’s killed him. It’s only in the last scene when the audience has received its tacked-on happy ending that Bardem shows up in some gas station or hotel and you know it isn’t over. So screw all of those who dislike the ending.”