An addendum to my last post. Charley Varrick and No Country for Old Men have similar plot structures i.e. normal guys/who live in the desert who come into dirty money that isn’t theirs and must evade the law and the criminals the money belongs to in the form of an odd ball hit-man. There are of course many obvious differences in details but where they diverge is in their opinions of fate.
No Country is most vocal in its opinions of fate in the form of Anton Chigurh. Life is a continuous road that brings you to where you are at that moment (he means this in reference to meeting with him, he is the Agent of Fate.) Every character in No Country moves around trying to counteract one another never intersecting. It is in trying to force this intersection that the characters never meet. The fundamental rule of the world of No Country is unforced intersection. It’s what brings Llewelyn to the site of the gun fight that just happened and brings in the killers from the cartel that actually finish him later on. Anton’s last moment is the random car accident at the end. Fate is random here because its impossible to track. I wish I could say that better? I hope I’m getting this across. The story itself is a fragment, where we come in late and leave early and there is no resolution. I haven’t quite worked out how that fits with random fate but I’ll get there.
Varrick on the other hand is a paragon of free-will, force of will, and tremendous foresight. As I wrote in the earlier post, Varrick’s ending is one that re-contextualizes the whole of the movie. Once the entire film has been seen you can pinpoint from exactly what point Varrick, both the character and the movie, go into action. Every thing that seems like either a reaction or a wrong action is revealed as action. The forces of law and crime are no match for the crafty individual the proudly self-proclaimed “Last of the Independents.”
So I guess that actually is my point too. It’s not just a difference in the opinion of fate that is at play here but the individual vs fate or the individual vs forces from the outside. All the characters in both movies are independents, the only difference is whether or not that gets to be okay.
-Daniel Von Egidy, 2011