America: No Country for Old Men
Every once in a while, a movie comes along which captures, as a metaphor, the times that we are living through. That film is "No Country for Old Men." It's based on a novel by Cormac McCarthy. The flick is the creation of the Coen brothers, Joel and Ethan. It is a gem of a movie--grim in effect and dark in vision. In it, the villain, a sociopath, (think "Bush-Cheney Gang") is winning; and the good guy, the Sheriff, (read "The People"), is ready to call it quits!
"The evil...in man...is of gigantic proportions." - Carl G. Jung
Baltimore, MD - On Saturday, Nov. 24, 2007, my wife and I went to the new movie theatre in town. It's called, the "Landmark," and it is located in the Inner Harbor area, just south of one of my favorite neighborhoods, "Little Italy." The film we chose to see was "No Country for Old Men," produced and directed by the talented Coen brothers, Joel and Ethan. It is based on the best selling novel, penned in 2005, by Cormac McCarthy. The movie is full of blood, violence, mayhem and a very nasty villain, Anton Chigurh, played by Javier Bardem. He is so menacing, that he would give Jack the Ripper the chills. But is the film more than a good thriller? Alex Baldwin, the actor, said of the flick: "It's a metaphor for Iraq and the post-9/11 world." (1) I think he's right!
The movie, set in the state of Texas, near the border with Mexico, in the early 80s, is all about a heroin deal going really bad and a missing $2.4 million. (Wasn't our would be Emperor, George W. Bush, once a governor in Texas?) From the opening scene to the end, there are dead bodies all over the place. And, nobody, even the Sheriff, Ed Tom Bell, (Tommy Lee Jones), with his huge cowboy hat, can seem to stop the one-man-death machine--Chigurh. The latter is hell bent on recovering the loot from a not-too-innocent Llewelyn Moss, a Vietnam Vet. He was out hunting and stumbled onto the scene of the carnage--eight bodies riddled with bullet holes--and the money. Moss knows he's doing wrong, but the temptation is too much for him. He takes the money and-- the chase is on. Josh Brolin does a terrific job with this role.
This film has some of the best character actors in it, I have seen in recent years. There are a treasure chest of solid performances, including one by the underrated actor, Woody Harrleson. (2) He's a hit man himself on the trail of the psychotic Chigurh. Harrelson is splendid in the part.
The single thing you won't forget about "No Country for Old Men," are the eyes of the mad dog killer--Chigurh. Here is a man without any soul or conscience. For him, everything is permitted. The gun decides all questions for this amoral predator. The Sheriff, in considering all the killings, and the role that narcotics is playing in his society, says: "We're looking at something, we haven't seen before...The old rules don't seem to apply." He wonders if the fight can be won against this kind of bad guy, and if civilization, too, is headed for destruction.
How many people must have pondered that same kind of thought watching a mostly cowardly U.S. Congress allowing a half-demented President Bush, and his fellow coconspirator, V.P. Dick Cheney, take us illegally into Iraq and destroy a country of 27 million people? Then, without catching their fire-spewing breaths, these same malicious and reckless warmongers are talking openly about the U.S. nuking another innocent target- Iran! The fact that we have now lost 3,876 troops in the Iraq conflict, wasted trillions of our tax dollars and contributed to the deaths of an estimated 1.2 million Iraqis doesn't seem to have registered with these two disgusting characters. In the film, the sociopathic Chigurh kills for the money. Bush and Cheney slaughter because they supposedly want to bring "Democracy" to Iraq, via an invasion and occupation, whether the Iraqis wanted it or not. (3) I'll leave it to you to decide who is the more certifiably insane and criminally culpable.
Actor Baldwin in reflecting on the film's basic theme, (Good vs. Evil), and the criminal, impeachable antics of the Bush-Cheney Gang, put it this way: "This country is coming apart and the people are in a lot of pain about it. Eight years of these lunatics raping everything they see has been exhausting. Americans are exhausted. Our system is breaking down, slowly and people are, when they get honest about it, frightened about what that means, short and long term. Iraq is a mess and they botched that so badly. Now, some say Iran is next. How can that be?" (1)
How frightened are the American people? Well, for the first time in my life, I'm hearing folks talking openly about leaving this country! It's always said in a joking sense, but are they only kidding? I don't think so. I believe they are articulating their deepest fears. A full fledged police state is only one incident away, and in their hearts, they know it. And the wise guys who "manufactured" 9/11, I'm confident, have another "incident" in mind for us. The economy is also tanking, with the out sourcing of jobs continuing unabated and the dollar in sharp decline. Meanwhile, the Bush-Cheney Gang has deliberately chosen to bring us a "War Without End," where torture of citizens is on the books. (4) Impeachment of Bush and Cheney is off the table, but torture is on the books. What does that tell you about America in 2007?
The grim and satanic-dominated vision of society offered in the Coen's movie--they wrote the screenplay--has Sheriff Bell wondering what's coming next, and if, the battle he is involved in, as a representative of the law, (read Society), can even be won. How do his thoughts apply to us? Well, Bush and Cheney, and the powerful, grasping War Party interests that they pimp for, are still rolling along, unchecked, as the body count in Iraq rises. They can thank a mostly complicit Congress, the connivance of many in the Establishment Churches, and in the Corporate Media, as well, for the fact that they are both still in office, and that the police state framework they have constructed for us is ready to strike. (5)
So, finally, here's another dark thought for you to digest: Unless, the people in this country wake-up soon, begin to fight for their liberties, and insist that this Congress find its backbone and immediately initiate impeachment actions against Bush and Cheney--Cheney first--a lot more Americans are going to be wondering, like Sheriff Bell--Can this fight be won?
4. Naomi Wolf's "The End of America: Letter of Warning to a Young Patriot."
©2007, William Hughes, All Rights Reserved.
William Hughes is a video and print journalist. His videos can be found at: http://www.youtube.com/profile?user=liamh2.
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