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=============== About this video ====================
The coin-toss is Anton Chigurh's way of delivering his brand of justice, or is it? Maybe it's just him delivering a message.
In this video I analyze the two coin toss scenes from No Country for Old Men. The first at the gas station and the second at the end. What's the difference between the two, and how do the Coen brothers deliver that message using camera angles, blocking, cinematography and movement?
Note: I say Carla didn't "toss the coin", I mean't 'call', not toss.
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========== Disclaimers and Disclosures ===============
Footage is taken from Youtube, so is of poor quality. It's impossible for me to rip high quality content (it's illegal) of every movie for this. This video uses low resolution clips from movies only for informational and educational purposes under fair-use.
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I agree with most of what you said, and it was impressive. I don’t believe that you giving the coin toss no meaning is accurate. For example, Anton is a man of his word and takes that so seriously that he goes after Llewellyn’s wife even after he was killed and with her coming back from her moms funeral! He told the gas station owner that he stood to win everything. There is no way that if that came up tails that guy would have lived. I understand the guy was not in his way directly and he had no feasible reason to end his life, but if you listen to the conversation, he was perturbed at the fact that he inherited the gas station. Although he is evil and all of that stuff, he is also a man of principle. Some of it is very dark Principle but it is still principle none the less. He didn’t feel this man had any value or much reason to deserve a life because things were handed to him. Anton I knew just from this conversation that this man did not work his way to the top, engaged in meaningless banter, and barely had a back bone. These are all things that Anton does not respect. When he let the woman that wouldn’t give him Llewellyn‘s job location live, it was because he respected her. He had no respect for this man and he was most definitely a victim whose existence became dependent on a 50-50 chance. Because he wasn’t in his Way directly, he gave him a chance to live but he was done if he lost that toss. The girl was given a chance for different reasons. He respected the fact that she knew he was there and instead of trying to run she just sat down and spoke with him. She was tough and he respected that. So when she bargained, he gave her a 50-50 chance and said that was the best he could do. If she called it right he would have let her live just the way he let the gas station guy live. She lost because she refused to play, and made Anton feel vulnerable and accountable by forcing him to face the fact that he’s the one doing the killing and the coin has nothing to do with it. And while that may be true, she would have had a 50% chance of living if she decided to play. This is why he gets into a near fatal car accident in the next scene, because her refusal to play created a vulnerability for him and he was no longer a special coin, but just like all the others.
Nice analysis but I'm not convinced. I think the coin toss does matter and that Chigurh views himself as an agent of fate. Also, I think he's much more emotional than is understood. He is irritated with the gas station attendant, I suppose because he despises "small talk". His reactions are emotional. However, when the coin is correctly called, he shows great relief. Even though he was irritated with the attendant, he didn't really want to kill him - though he would have. It's almost as if he wants to celebrate with the attendant. "Well, you were lucky today" is what he seems to want to say. Also, the entire reason he goes after Carla is emotion. His decision to kill her - or to bother with her at all - is an emotional decision. It is because Llewelyn got the best of him and this is the only revenge he can get now. Ironically, in the end, his foolish decisions make him into an "old man" who, perhaps, is no longer suited for this harsh game.
Wrong. The coin toss IS fate. The attendant chose well. The stout woman wasn't killed because Chigur hears a toilet flush , so knowing someone is near , he decides it's too risky. The accountant at the office is killed off camera. Lewellen's wife chose poorly.Just my opinion.
Great analysis. Interesting to note that the characters in NCFOM had no arc. It shows, through talented eyes of the Cohen brothers, that you can tell a story without any of the characters really changing.
Hey man, that was really some great analysis of my favorite film!
Thank you very much!
I thought I had this film figured after the second time I saw it, but I keep running into more great videos and critiques (like this one) which help to enhance my love for it.
We don't know whether he shot the accountant or not. I assumed yes because he could identify Anton. Everytime the camera goes to Anton in the friendo scene his hair is combed differently. Bangs are sticking out, then gone, then back then gone......
Hey man! Huge fan of your channel. Have you ever considered doing a video on the cinematography of Bill Pope. He's made great action films like the Spider-Man trilogy, The Matrix, and Scott Pilgrim, Baby Driver his most recent. Would love a breakdown of his techniques :) thanks!
Thank you for this look at movement. You ask about looking into DPs. How about Anthony Dodd Mantle? He has a lot of innovative camera work, and, especially in T2/Trainspotting, I'm very interested to hear about his work with the production designer and the use of background moving images. Are they added in post or during the filming?
I think it's important to remember that when using a coin toss to decide an outcome, the decision isn't made when you choose heads or tails, it is made instinctively when you toss the coin. You know by the time the coin lands which side you are hoping for. I'm going to go ahead and say that the coin toss is important to show that he's contemplating changing his mind and that the coin toss forces him to decide. The decision, however, is do I listen to the coin or ignore it.
interesting review good effort but totally incorrect and shows you didn't understand. he would have killed the propietor he respects people withbcodes who adhere to them. respects the spoken word. his origin is extremely mysterious (I believe you that there's no mystery or something else wrong need to re watch but it was related to that but false non the less) your reading the wrong thing.
the proprietor would have died. for disrespecting the spoken word. and for inquiring about his origin. if you were insinuating he didn't kill the guy in the office asking. did you see me. lol. he's obviously killed that guy. and finally
the wife, Carla: game is not pointless. thank god you saw he checked his boots. which is something he does throughout. changes his socks. any time he kills he changed socks of check his shoes. that's why the boot check indicated he killed her. he killed a guy on the highway potentsilly exposing himself. its stated had kill louellen just for inconveniencing him. you did okay but also not in other portions. good ... decent work g
wolfcrow are you saying I'm totally incorrect cause its in quotes do is this something I said lol. and who in the office. you said he. its a she... just a small discrepancy. and book and script. lol c'mon. two totally different interpretations. and does the book implicitly state chigurh doesn't kill the store clerk. or maybe he doesn't go to the store at all. but see how ibcan accept being if I am and apply that and am willing to learn beneficial skill gonna be trust me. or just only say thank you to good comments any comment giving advice on improving or debating with you. get angry and condescending or sarcastic toward them. its how you toward being a week rounded individual. peace out
"he would have killed the propietor" - you didn't see it but you claim I am wrong.
"he didn't kill the guy in the office" - you didn't see it but you claim I am wrong.
" that's why the boot check indicated he killed her" - actually no, the novel is pretty explicit here. The original script doesn't even have a coin toss here.
"totally incorrect" - :)
wolfcrow I don't totally understand what you're saying. can you elaborate. and yes many things aren't told to you with good film making. they're shown and jnfered. these were easily infered. such as the way carlas death isn't shown but u know she's dead but you know she was based on him checking his boots. although neglected to mention this was set up the entire film to let you know it was meant to let us know she died. but like you said its your personal oppiniom he wouldntn have killed him. but you say he only kills for a purpose meanwhile it IS told to us he kills for unorthodox reason. for instance were told he'll kill louellen whether or not he returns the money just for inconviencing him. that doesn't serve any purpose. Antoine is not capable of mercy. he does not have a sense of humor were told. he in my opinion would have killed the proprietor but didn't because he won the coin toss. he kills people like caddle. literally. the has no regard for human life. much as he leaves the other women at the trailer park alive for sticking to her code and not flinching. and not wasting the spoken word. he kills those who show fear. he kills the guys inspecting the robbery show down area. for no reason. he just kills for strange reasons. whoever . for trivial reason. doesn't care about endangering his work but his mystery is endangered.
also if you're doing stuff like this. not to condescend i had to learn this lesson myself. u shouldn't take criticism personally. just take it into consideration and maybe it'll be bull shit. or maybe its a helpful bit of info you should listen to. if nothing else good luck
While I love your analysis, I must respectfully disagree on your point that the coin toss is meaningless (inasmuch as Chigurrh has already made up his mind). Rather, it is an expression of a worldview which the proprietor does not understand, and which Carla understands but disagrees with. Cormac McCarthy's novels are built on such philosophical conflicts. In a nutshell, it's about free will:
Chigurh does not believe in free will. He sees himself as an agent of "fate" (i.e. the inevitable outcome of a series of physical processes), not very different from the coin itself, which - though practically unpredictable - nonetheless lands either heads or tails based on theoretically knowable starting conditions when it's tossed.
In the gas station, Chigurh really does not know if he is fated to kill the old man. That's WHY he tosses the coin. When he goes to assassinate Carla, he offers her the coin toss as an alternative to simply killing her, trusting that the coin's "decision" is no different from his own - "I got here the same way the coin did".
Carla, on the other hand, believes in free will. She thinks it's Chigurh's decision, period, and that this decision is the product of a mind possessing free will - not just a long chain of physical processes leading to an inevitable outcome.
Far from meaningless, the coin is a way of having this philosophical discussion in a way that is organic to the story. It's a beautiful and subtle bit of writing.
A key to understanding it, in my opinion, is in the difference between Carla's behavior in the film vs. the book. In the book, she simply falls apart, knowing she's going to die. She is not calm; she does not argue about free will vs. determinism. Those themes are very much present in the book, but needed to be compressed and simplified for the screenplay. The Carla/Chigurh dialog in the film is a brilliant bit of adaption in this respect - bringing these themes out in a more cinematic way, by having Carla voice them, if a bit indirectly.
Alas, this is just my opinion, and I could be wrong. But I don't think I am. :-)
All that said, thank you for the time and love you lavish on these videos. I appreciate them!
Chigurh kills the Gas Station Clerk at the beginning of the film. It's very easy to miss but there is a scene later on where Anton is looking for coins to open the vent in which Moss hid the money. When he does this we see a bloody quarter.
Great analysis of a GREAT movie. Thanks for making. Please keep on making such videos, I have been learning film-making by watching such videos .This is my favourite movie of all time. Could you please do a video for "Road to Perdition (2002)". That film is really one of the best cinematic film. Will wait for your next video.
Hi Sareesh thanks for uploading the video! It was great as usual. I was just wondering, are you are a fan of Andrei Tarkovsky's work? I think his movie "Mirror" is incredibly beautiful and I'm interested in your thoughts on its cinematography. Thanks again!
Exactly 2:16 how could you watch that movie and say that he lived by the coin toss call it fate,chaos or whatever but person living or dying on the flip of a coin is what he lived by and when he thought the old gas station owner got nosey and might have something to say to the police later Anton pulled out his coin to settle it and when the old man won the toss it infuriated Anton that he didn't fully respect the coin toss because his life was just saved don't put it with the rest of your coins save it value it keep it as a souvenir he wanted the old man to value the coin as he saw it he could have been dead Anton had no problem taking life especially when it wasn't his fault they died,but the luck of calling heads or tails by the people he killed.So yeah I believe Anton would have killed the man
Love what you do - but I think you missed something very important here and that is the third coin toss. Ed Tom lets you know it is coming and he doesn't want it to at the beginning of the movie. You even include the audio. "I don't want to push my chips forward...". Coins (of which chips are a form) appear throughout the movie and the Coens don't put in meaningless things and then show them to you. These are choices - and the outcomes of those choices are unknown. It is chance and chance in the end determines when we all meet our end - whether we want it to or not.
When Ed Tom is at the hotel - about to head back into the room where Llewelyn was killed - he pauses and the Coens show us two doors - each with a blown out lock. Ed Tom is flipping a coin at this very moment. You nailed the shots part. Go back and look at the shots here as well. Ed Tom is being forced to deal with the very thing he said he didn't want to. He is having to push his chips forward here and possibly having to deal with something he doesn't understand. The coin that Ed Tom finds at the end is an acknowledgement that he tossed it (he does not go to the next room and check if Anton is there - he flipped the coin and knows he won - you don't flip it twice on purpose) as well as tying him to Llewelyn (whose choices brought both he and Carla to have to flip the coin). He could have chosen either door. This outcome was chance. The consequence of him having won this coin flip informs the scene with Ellis as well as the closing scene/rest of his life.
Anton has no mercy - but he also doesn't believe he has anything to do with whether or not he kills the people he does. It is an outcome/consequence THEY have brought on. As he says to the shop keeper - "I can't call it for you. Or it wouldn't be fair.". The man of course says he hasn't wagered anything. Anton of course says "You've been putting it up your whole life". Just like the rest of us. Sometimes we are trying to be deliberate, sometimes we are just acting and reacting. But life is a string of choices of which we never really know the outcome.
There is nothing different about the shopkeeper from you and I. Better believe he would have killed him. In a heart beat - and without a second thought. In the coldest blood possible. You can't escape death and think it would have thought twice about taking you.
Anton has mercy, it's just that it's 50/50 at best.
Anton's actions are fairly rigid, that's what makes him so effective at his job. He has every action/reaction mapped out in advance. The people like the gas station owner and Carla fall into somewhat of a gray area for him, hence why he leaves it up to the coin toss. They're more like speed bumps instead of true obstacles like Wells / Moss. Carla isn't directly involved, she was just a bargaining chip, but in order to live by his code it's a matter that has to be followed up on. In following with the rest of the rigidity of his code the coin toss is a succinct way to wrap up anything that enters into that gray territory.
Good stuff as always Wolfcrow, thanks. A comment about your comment on the gas station window being gelled with ND: In several other interior scenes I noticed the windows were blown out or nearly so, i.e. outside details grossly over exposed. On Roger Deakins' site he talks about letting windows blow out if there's nothing outside the viewer really needs to see to move the movie along. That's interesting and a good point to young film makers and videographers, that often times no need to constantly fret over your dslr or gh5 not having the dynamic range of Hollywood cameras. Even Alexas, Reds, and celluloid have limitations.Suggestion: Hope you entertain the idea of doing analysis video on film technique/style of Michelangelo Antonioni. He did not like the established shooting techniques of Hollywood type films, and used shooting techniques that at times were opposite to maistream Hollywood. Example, most of his films have very little over the shoulder shots during dialogue scenes. Thanks.
Great analysis, wonderfully done. However, I feel like Anton would've killed the clerk if the outcome of the coin toss had been otherwise. This hitman operates to a tee, not killing the poor guy would go against his psychopathic principles. If someone has to be murdered, even for the slightest reason, death will come. There'd be no way to stop it, that's Anton chigurh; he doesn't joke around, neither does he need to prove he can do whatever he wants, he just does what he's told to do and what he feels like doing (he will never disrespect fate).
+wolfcrow What makes you think he doesn't murder the accountant? The scene cuts before the accountant gives an answer to the killer's question. We don't know what answer he gives, if any, and we don't even know if there's a "right" answer to the question - that is, an answer that would see the accountant walk away with his life.
On my first viewing it struck me that the accountant is in a catch 22, at least possibly, which I thought was the point of cutting the scene at that moment.
If he says "no [I don't see you]", the killer might hear a cowardly evasion or the accountant not showing sufficient acknowledgement his existence (the way Anton thinks is basically incomprehensible to everyone else, so who knows how he might interpret it?). But if he says "yes [I see you]", he's admitting that he's a witness to the murder moments earlier, and needs to be dealt with. It's a nightmarish moment in the film, and it just leaves the audience to speculate on the outcome - I wouldn't exactly be optimistic about the accountant's chances here.
Thomas d'Auteuil maybe but I could see both ways. I could see Yours but I also see that it's all about control and power for him. He might have been ok letting that guy go even if it was tails, just because he made the call. He prided himself on being fate incarnate.
Great review. An added part of info into the story, is that it is loosely based on the real story Jamiel Chagra (perhaps the name Chigurhr is more than a coincidence) of El Paso, TX of the same era. Interestingly, Woody Harrelson's father Charles (in real life of course) was hired by Jamiel Chagra to kill Judge John Wood back in 1979. An interesting story/connection to look up. El Paso, Texas has always had the interesting gunfighters of the Wild West, and really hasn't changed much since.
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Bricolajul a ajuns in Romania in urma cu aproximativ 10 ani, insa in Statele Unite si in statele occidentale acest concept este mai vechi, si isi are originile la inceputul anilor ’50. Bricolajul se refera la capacitatea oamenilor de a crea sau repara diverse obiecte fara a apela la ajutor specializat.
Primul catalog de bricolaj pentru renovarea locuintei a aparut in 1968. Acesta a nascut conceptul de bricolaj care sta la baza lanturilor de magazine din zilele noastre. De la covoare si perdele, pana la mobilier si prefabricate, bricolajul se refera la tot ce inseamna renovarea unei locuinte in aceasta acceptiune.
Pe orlo.ro gasesti toate cataloagele de bricolaj, de la cei mai importanti comercianti. Catalog Dedeman, Catalog Praktiker, Catalog Baumax, Catalog Bricostore, Catalog Ambient si altii.
In Romania retelele de magazine pentru bricolaj sau extins rapid, cel mai important comerciant din acest segment este Dedeman, care a pornit din orasul Bacau si a ajuns sa detina magazine in cele mai importante orase din tara.