People have been screwing up their No Country for Old Men capsule plot descriptions in a small but important way for weeks now. The Age‘s Chris Mathieson, in a 12.26 interview with Javier Bardem, provides the latest example.
He starts with the usual: “When antelope hunter and Vietnam veteran Llewelyn Moss (Josh Brolin) stumbles across a drug deal gone wrong, he finds a succession of bodies and a bag containing several million dollars,” blah blah. Then the wrongo. Matheison says that Moss dooms himself and his wife, his young wife, Carla Jean (Kelly Macdonald), to a fugitive existence “once he takes the money.”
Nope. Moss and Carla Jean could have moved to Prague and started their own country & western apparel store if he’d listened to his head instead of his heart. The basic deal is that Moss screws himself when he returns to the carnage in the middle of the night in order to bring a jug of water to the bleeding, dying guy he’d spoken to a few hours earlier. Undone by a humane, not-very-bright impulse that Moss admits is “somethin’ dumber than hell but I’m gonna do it anyway.”
Which happens because of another dumb thing — i.e., Moss not bringing a canteen of water with him on his hunt. What guy hunting antelope over miles and miles of parched, desert-like terrain doesn’t carry at least a quart of H2O? Llewelyn, that’s who. “I ain’t got no agua.” So Llewelyn and Carla Jean’s fate is sealed because of two dumb mistakes, which essentially boils down to one — Moss’s absurd denial of the necessity of water on a desert hunt.
The initial dying bad guy scene would be a lot more believable If Moss had pointed to his empty canteen and said to the dying man, “I ain’t got no agua left.” That would have worked.