Thursday, January 31, 2008

Spoiler Alert

I've got a lot on my mind recently. Digging through the swamp that is my past and trying to find some meaning in it, some literary arc that might put the present in some kind of perspective. I've been searching for devices I can call upon that symbolize the changes I've made. I've been trying to recall what people have said and when, so I can pinpoint the many moments that lead me from there to here. its all part of a school project I'm working on. I don’t think I would do this unless I had to.

But moving on, below are some reflections on a movie. If you plan on seeing No Country for Old Men than skip this post, I don’t want to spoil anything for you. I will say it’s a great movie and recommend that you go see it. I am a big fan, for what its worth.

I went to the movies and watched it, even though I downloaded the torrent a few days before. You just shouldn’t watch a film like that on a 12” laptop screen. Its almost as much a crime as downloading the movie.

In any case, the movie dealt with a lot of the same themes i've been mulling over when tackling my life story. Most notably: the theme of fate.

I've long been a believer that when a life is looked at as a whole, you can see a mans fate coming from a thousand yards away. The patterns of his existence, the meter of his movements, are the easiest tell. When Tommy Lee Jones character says that a group of thugs who were gunned down “died of natural causes,” he is speaking directly to what I'm trying to put forth. A man decides his fate long before he realizes it. In life, there is rarely a death that can go unforeseen.

And when Javier Bardem’s character [essentially, the embodiment of evil] tells an unsuspecting gas station attendant to “call it” when flipping a coin, he places this mans entire fate on a quarter of a dollar. When the man asks what he stands to win, Bardem simply replies, “everything.” Then he notes the year the coin was minted, 1958, and says that the entire lifespan of that coin led to them, there, and there was no other purpose for it. It wasn’t just 25 cents, it was a life’s destiny.

Later in the movie, when Bardem’s character tells a widow the same thing, to “call it,” she challenges his philosophy, refusing to call it and saying “that coin don’t have no say in my fate. Its just you.” Her doom is in the hands of him, Bardem, and the evilness he brings to her. Bardem holds the coin on his knee, his hand covering the face of what may come, and muses, “I got here the same way the coin did.” He has his fate, she has hers.

Now I'm using the term fate here very loosely, because I don’t really believe in any divine will. I don’t believe in destiny. I think people can change paths, that they are not confined to one road in life, but all roads lead to somewhere, no matter which one your on. the characters in this movie all lead inevitable lives. And there is something nasty about fate. It seems immovable, stubborn, unforgiving in its consequence. Josh Brolins character changed the road he was on when he picked up that satchel of money. He knew it, Javier Bardem knew it, and Tommy Lee Jones knew it.

I couldn’t tell you what my fate is. In fact, at the moment, I have no idea where I'm going in life. but that is beside the point, what is at hand here is a great movie that deals in the epic concern of minor decisions. I could write more about it, and maybe go further in depth on just what the hell I'm on about in this post, but I have no time and it’s of no matter anyhow. I will say though, that no performance will match Daniel Day Lewis this year, but its hard to deny that, save There Will be Blood, no movie can match the sad beauty of No Country for Old Men.


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:gray matters: by jkg is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License.
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