Gun Fights & Cinema
The Legacy of The Coen Brothers
Today we take a look at a team of brothers that have made films with boldness and intensity as well as films filled with clever plot twits and lots of frivolous humor. The Coen brothers films are always well written with colorful, larger than life characters. Weather they are going for comedy or dark and gritty the brothers deliver award winning cinema that have been and will be absolute classics. Some of my personal favorites from them are The Big Lebowski, Raising Arizona, Fargo and of course, O Brother, Where Art Thou? I've watched these movies to the point I have certain lines and scenes committed to memory. It was extremely difficult to choose just three films from these men so I decided to focus on the ones where weapons played the biggest parts. For a full list of their films go to https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Coen_brothers_filmography
. So let's take a look at these films, shall we?
#1 Raising Arizona - Released in 1987
Out in Tempe, Arizona in the quiet suburbs, a young man named Herbert 'H.I.' McDunnough lives his life as a petty criminal with a fairly prominent love for robbing convenience stores. He is constantly in and out of jail but is repeatedly paroled because he never uses live ammunition in his robberies. Each time he returns to prison, he is booked by young policewoman named Edwina 'Ed'. H.I. flirts with her during the booking process until one day when he comes upon her crying. She confesses she lost her fiancé who ran off with another woman. H.I. angrily retorts, saying that the man made a serious mistake and his valiance creates a spark in Ed. An unlikely romance blossoms and H.I. proposes to Ed once a free man again. They begin a new life in a trailer home.
H.I. gets a legitimate job working in a factory while Ed continues her police work until they decide they want to have a child. Whilst in pursuit of completing her family unit Ed learns that she is infertile and their attempts to adopt are foiled by H.I.'s criminal history. Ed is devastated and H.I. feels helpless until a small ray of hope emerges: a story appears in the paper celebrating the birth of the 'Arizona Quints', quintuplet sons born to local furniture magnate Nathan Arizona and his wife Florence. Figuring that the Arizona's have what seems to be a surplus of children, Ed and H.I. resolve to take one of the babies as their own.
So, one evening, with Ed urging him on, H.I. takes a ladder and scales the Arizona house to the window of the nursery. Though the energetic babies prove troublesome at first he manages to keep four in their crib and takes whom he believes is Nathan Jr. Though Ed has some reservations about upsetting Nathan Jr.'s mother, she and H.I. are overjoyed to finally have a family. Upon taking a family picture, Ed makes H.I. swear that he will be a caring and supporting father. That night, H.I. suffers a nightmare about a demonic figure he fears he's brought upon himself as Florence discovers that the quint missing the next morning.
Nathan Sr. enlists the local police to investigate his son's disappearance but the officers seem inept at conducting a proper investigation. Frustrated by the poor functionality of the police, Nathan Sr. is approached by an intimidating man named Leonard Smalls, a bounty hunter armed with a pair of shotguns and a pair of baby booties. He rides to the Arizona estate on his skull-laden motorcycle and offers to find the baby for twice what Arizona is offering as a reward, but Nathan Sr. refuses after Smalls demands a high price of $10,000. When Nathan Sr. accuses Smalls of kidnapping his son himself, Smalls leaves, intent on finding the baby anyway to sell on the black market.
Meanwhile, we are introduced to H.I.'s prison buddies, brothers Gale and Evelle Snoats, as they emerge screaming from the rain-soaked mud outside of prison. After cleaning themselves, and with too much hair grease, they arrive at H.I.'s trailer for refuge. H.I. is excited to be reunited with his old buddies but Ed sees them as a bad influence and doesn't want them to stay more than a day or two. The brothers are somewhat suspicious when they see the baby, leading a bumbling H.I. to struggle with a story to explain his spontaneous birth.
H.I. and Ed attempt to ease into 'normal' married life and invite H.I.'s supervisor,Glen, and his family over for a picnic. The outing becomes more than H.I. can bear; Glen's children, most of them adopted and disheveled looking, are rude and seem to take pleasure in breaking things around the apartment or scribbling on the walls while Glen's wife, Dot, bombards Ed with all the things, all though excessive, she needs to do to keep Jr. healthy. On a walk around the trailer, Glen, already an annoyance with a penchant for horrible jokes, reveals to H.I. that he and Dot are swingers and suggests a wife swap. Infuriated and stressed, H.I. punches Glen in the face and demands that he leave.
H.I. keeps this from Ed, however, as they go out that night to run some errands. H.I. leaves Ed and Jr. in the car while he enters a large convenience store and proceeds to put pantyhose on his head before he takes a bag of diapers off the shelf and a gun out of his pocket. The store owner, however, flips a silent alarm before Ed sees H.I. from outside. Enraged, she yells at him before driving off just as the cops arrive. H.I. flees the store and a hilarious chase throughout the neighborhood ensues as the trigger-happy owner and a policeman chase H.I. Hearing gunshots, Ed resolves to drive back to fetch H.I. and picks him up, though there is now planted a seed of doubt that H.I. could ever change his ways.
The next morning,while Ed is out, Glen arrives at the trailer and tells H.I. that he's fired and blackmails him into cooperation by threatening to go to the police. Although Glen is not a smart man he had deduced the baby's true identity. Gale and Evelle overhear this from within the trailer and decide to take the baby to claim the reward themselves. They attack H.I. and leave him tied to a chair in the trailer before leaving. Gale and Evelle decide, at this point, to rob a convenience store. However, during their escape, they discover that they've accidentally left Nathan Jr. behind in his car seat outside in the parking lot.
Ed returns to the trailer and she and H.I. immediately pursue the Snoats to rescue the baby. Clad in her police gear, Ed admits that it was irresponsible of her to take the baby in the first place but all that she cares about is getting him back. She doesn't care if she and H.I. even stay together, she just wants Nathan Jr. safe.
Meanwhile, Leonard Smalls follows up on a lead of a recent prison break and tracks Gale and Evelle to Ed and H.I.s trailer. There, he finds clues of Nathan Jr.s presence and blazes a trail into town.
The pair decides to rob a bank while they're at it and take Nathan Jr. with them to a hayseed bank in town. Though their lack of coordination inspires some confusion from the bank patrons, the robbery goes successfully otherwise. However the brothers soon realize that they've left Jr. behind in his carseat, again.
As they speed back into town, a canister that was placed in the money bag explodes, covering them in blue dye and disorienting them. H.I. and Ed catch up to them and demand to know where Nathan Jr. is. Gale and Evelle confess and Ed and H.I. race into town. Unfortunately for them however, Smalls has beaten them to Nathan Jr. and he latches the baby's car seat to the front of his motorcycle. Ed manages to retrieve Nathan Jr. from his car seat while H.I. distracts Smalls, enduring a brutal beating in the process. However, just before Smalls can finish H.I. off by shooting him, H.I. manages to pull a pin from a grenade on Smalls vest. The resulting explosion obliterates him while Ed and H.I. return home.
They decide to return Nathan Jr. to his real parents and sneak into the nursery where Nathan Sr. finds them. Thinking them a kind couple who have found Nathan Jr., he offers them the reward but Ed and H.I. want nothing of it and admit that they are leaving one another. As he watches them admire Nathan Jr., Nathan Sr. deduces that they are the ones who took the baby in the first place. However, he is sympathetic to their wishes to have a child of their own and advises them to stay together before giving up hope completely. He assures them that he won't call the police and they are allowed to leave.
That night, back at their trailer, H.I. has another dream. He dreams that Gale and Evelle voluntarily return to prison. He dreams that Nathan Jr. receives a football as a Christmas present one year from a loving couple who wish to remain anonymous and is watched by said couple as he grows up, becoming a football star in high school. An elderly couple is seen living happily together as their children and grandchildren come to visit them for a holiday meal. In a final voice-over, H.I. surmises that, if it wasn't Ed and himself he was dreaming about and if that isn't wishful thinking, then it must be of a couple who come from a land not too far away, someplace like maybe Utah.
This movie is fun, cleverly written and was made in the early years of great actors like Nicolas Cage, John Goodman and Holly Hunter. The characters were complex but appealed to the very simple parts of us, the yearning for family and comfort of being a unit. It appeals to our base desires but does it in a way that tickles your funny bone as well. Let's take a look at the weapons featured in this great movie about felonies and family.
Hi (Nicolas Cage) keeps a Smith & Wesson Model 10 in his nightstand. It is also used by Evelle Snoats (William Forsythe) to rob a convenience store and by Ed (Holly Hunter) as her duty sidearm.
Smith & Wesson Model 10 Revolver - .38 Special
Hi checks his Model 10 when talking to Ed.
Evelle holds up a convenience store
Ed holds her Model 10 up to Evelle's face.
Leonard Smalls (Randall "Tex" Cobb) also carries two Rossi Overland shotguns slung across his back.
Rossi Overland Shotgun - 12 Gauge
Smalls aims his Rossi shotguns.
Smalls with Nathan Jr. for a brief moment. We can see him riding with his shotguns in place.
I love this movie, I could watch it 100 times and still be entertained. Grab your popcorn, your peanuts and your Pabst Blue Ribbon and get ready to laugh as you enjoy Raising Arizona.
#2 True Grit
Mattie Ross, a 14-year-old from Yell County, Arkansas, and is determined to avenge the murder of her father. Frank Ross was killed by his hired hand, Tom Chaney, after trying to dissuade a drunken Chaney from shooting a fellow card player who had allegedly cheated him. Chaney stole Ross's horse and fled the town. Enraged that no one bothered to pursue or convict Chaney, Mattie decides to take the investigation into her own hands.
Leaving her mother and two younger siblings at home, Mattie travels to Fort Smith where her father was killed. She identifies his body for the undertaker. Although she is young, Mattie is extremely quick-witted, confident, a fearless bargainer and down right tenacious. She sells her father's now useless string of ponies back to the reluctant seller, and acquires three hundred and twenty dollars from the sale. Renting a room at a Fort Smith boarding house, Mattie resolves to hire a U.S. marshal to pursue and catch Tom Chaney. After consulting the local sheriff, she settles on the marshal described as the meanest: Reuben "Rooster" Cogburn. After trailing Cogburn to a saloon, she attempts to hire him but is immediately rebuffed. Mattie makes a second attempt after a court hearing at which Cogburn was questioned, but Cogburn turns her down again, doubting that she actually possesses the fifty dollars she offered him as a reward for Chaney's capture.
A Texas Ranger, LaBouef, takes a room at the boarding house and consults Mattie about her endeavor. LaBouef had been tracking Chaney for several months after Chaney had killed a Texas senator in an argument. He offers to combine his knowledge with Cogburn's to track Chaney down. Mattie rejects his offer. The following day, Mattie buys back one of her father's ponies to use on her journey, naming him Little Blackie. She speaks with Cogburn who has decided to accept her offer. However, he initially refuses to let Mattie accompany him as she had planned. After Mattie threatens to report him to the sheriff if Cogburn leaves with her fifty dollars, he seemingly gives in and instructs her to be ready for the journey the next morning.
Mattie takes her father's clothing and gun and rides her horse to Cogburn's lodgings in the morning, only to find he has left without her (with LaBouef), and left her a train ticket back to Yell County. Angrily, Mattie follows his trail to a nearby river, spying the two men on the opposite bank. After the ferryman refuses to take her across, Mattie rides Little Blackie into the water and the two swim to the other side. Cogburn seems impressed by Mattie's gumption, but LaBouef is clearly irritated by her domineering attitude. After an argument with Cogburn, LaBouef abandons the mission, taunting Cogburn for being "hoorahed by a little girl."
Mattie and Cogburn continue the journey, forming something of a kinship as they travel. Cogburn picks up the information that Tom Chaney is not too far ahead of them, and that he may have joined up with another outlaw, Lucky Ned Pepper. Seeking shelter from the cold, the two discover a cabin at nightfall. Cogburn recognizes the pair of inhabitants as outlaws tied in with the Ned Pepper gang, one of them badly shot in the leg. Suspecting Ned and his gang will arrive at the cabin soon, Cogburn offers to take the injured man to a doctor and to give them some escape time if they provide information. The injured man, desperate for medical attention, begins to talk, but is stabbed by the other man, who is then shot dead by Cogburn. As he dies, the man with the injured leg admits that Lucky Ned is expected at the cabin that very night.
Cogburn and Mattie hide in the bushes near the cabin, waiting for the gang to arrive. They first see Le Bouef approach the cabin, continuing the search alone. However, the Ned Pepper gang arrives moments later and lassos Le Bouef, dragging him behind a horse. From cover, Cogburn shoots two of the gang members and the others flee. He and Mattie take an injured Le Bouef into the cabin. Cogburn drinks heavily throughout the night and is incredibly drunk the next morning. He and Le Bouef argue over each other's shooting skills, but a focused Mattie attempts to keep the two men on task.
After setting up camp in the woods that night, Cogburn becomes increasingly frustrated with their mission, claiming he has been led on a wild goose chase of sorts. He bows out of the agreement, and LaBouef leaves again, though he has gained a new-found respect for Mattie. Both men agree that Chaney's trail is cold, and that continuing the search would be useless. A dejected and sullen Mattie falls asleep.
The next morning, Mattie goes to a nearby stream for water and notices a stranger there watering his horses. Shocked, she realizes it is none other than Tom Chaney himself. Chaney recognizes her and does not initially act hostile until Mattie pulls a revolver and attempts to take him into custody. An angered Chaney approaches with his rifle and Mattie fires, but only grazes his arm. Chaney drags her to the opposite bank, where the rest of the Ned Pepper gang has set up camp. Cogburn, having slept in the woods through the night, hears the commotion but by then it is too late to retrieve Mattie.
Lucky Ned Pepper, familiar with Cogburn, shouts across the stream to him and bargains Mattie's life for ample escape time. Cogburn agrees to not pursue the gang if Mattie is not harmed, and appears to ride away over the hills. Pepper is impressed by Mattie's strength and moxy, and assures her that she won't be harmed. While Ned and the three other gang members leave to address finances, Chaney is ordered to stay with Mattie and to leave her somewhere safe. Chaney tries to get out of the assignment, but to no avail. Mattie, despite Lucky Ned's assurance otherwise, fears that Chaney will kill her once they are alone. After the gang departs, Mattie offers to give Chaney an affidavit if he sets her free. Chaney refuses, saying that all he needs is Mattie's silence. He attacks her and holds a knife to her throat, but is knocked unconscious by La Bouef, who had been waiting in the area and heard the gunshots. He explains that he rode back to the woods, met with Cogburn, and outlined a plan for Mattie's rescue. He says that Cogburn himself has arranged a showdown with Lucky Ned.
As Mattie and Le Bouef watch from a hilltop, Cogburn comes face to face with Ned and the three other gang members. Having pursued Ned on and off for some time, Cogburn gives Ned the choice of being taken back to Fort Smith to be hanged, or to be killed on the spot. Ned taunts Cogburn, and Cogburn charges his horse. Holding the reins in his teeth, he fires revolvers with both hands, killing the three other men and mortally wounding Lucky Ned before his horse takes a fall and traps him underneath. With his last moments of strength, Ned prepares to kill Cogburn. From the hilltop, Le Bouef proves his shooting ability by making a 400 yard shot, shooting Lucky Ned off his horse before he can take down the marshal. Moments later, Le Bouef is knocked unconscious by a now-awakened Tom Chaney, who attempts to grab Le Bouef's rifle. Mattie intercepts and gets the gun herself, proudly shooting Tom Chaney at last.
Though her goal is completed, the blast from the gun sends Mattie stumbling backwards into a deep pit. She calls for help, but Le Bouef is still out cold. Cogburn appears and begins to scale the side of the pit with a rope to rescue her, but Mattie's left hand has already been bitten by a rattlesnake. Cogburn retrieves her and temporarily treats her wound, but knows he must get her medical attention quickly or she will die. A revived Le Bouef hoists them out of the pit, and Cogburn and Mattie ride away on Little Blackie.
After miles of running, Little Blackie begins to suffer from exhaustion and eventually collapses. Knowing they cannot stop their journey, Cogburn shoots the horse and continues on, carrying Mattie himself. They soon reach a general store and Mattie is taken inside.
Twenty five years later, 40-year-old Mattie looks back on her adventures. Her arm, being so damaged by the snake bite, had been amputated . She explained that Cogburn had departed by the time she came back into consciousness. After arriving home, Mattie had written to Cogburn, inviting him to visit her and collect his fifty dollar reward, but he never responded or appeared. The adult Mattie learns that the elderly Cogburn is a performer in a traveling wild west show, and finally exchanges letters with him, arranging to meet once again to swap stories. Arriving at the fairgrounds, Mattie is told that Cogburn had died three days earlier.
Mattie has Cogburn's body moved to her family plot. She reflects on her life; she never married, and kept her no-nonsense attitude over the years. She never heard again from La Bouef, but holds him in her memory.
In typical Coen Brothers fashion this film takes us through a story that is both unusual and intriguing. We develop a strong bond to Mattie and her stubborn skills in the vintage era of rough and tumble untamed America. Through harsh landscapes we watch the layers of Cogburn peel back to reveal a man that is the epitome of true grit. The cinematography is brilliant and even as a remake does the story justice. Let's take a look at some of the weapons used in this Western film.
Mattie Ross carries her late father's 2nd Model Colt Dragoon, as described in Portis' book. It was waiting for her at the boarding house with his watch, knife and other of his 'traps' that Chaney hadn't stolen. The gun used in the film is an actual percussion Dragoon, while the 1969 film used a cartridge-converted Colt Walker. It can be surmised that the Walker was used in the 1969 film due to its even more imposing size in contrast to Mattie's small stature.
Deputy US Marshal Reuben J. "Rooster" Cogburn also carries a pair of revolvers in holsters that fit over his saddle horn. According to Keith Walters, these revolvers are 2nd model Colt Dragoons as well, despite them being referred to as "Navy Sixes". He uses them both in his famous charge at the end.
Little know fact: In both movies the Dragoon misfires at a critical point. The book explains this; while drunk, Rooster had used it to shoot a rat. Mattie insisted he re-load the two cylinders fired, which he did using defective old caps from a box under his bed - and still drunk. Jeff Bridges doesn't shoot the rat, and John Wayne used his Peacemaker, so viewers of both movies may get the unfair impression that Dragoons were simply unreliable.
Original Colt Dragoon 1st Model - .44 Cal. Designed to address some of the problems encountered with the Colt Walker.
Mattie holding her Dragoon
Mattie pulls the Dragoon.
Rooster, reins in teeth, charges while dual-wielding his revolvers.
True to the book, Tom Chaney (Josh Brolin) carries a Henry rifle. As in the original novel a length of rope is tied to both ends as a makeshift sling.
Henry 1860 - .44RF
Chaney with the Henry slung over his shoulder.
La Boeuf (Matt Damon) uses a Sharps 1874 Cavalry Carbine throughout the film. Mattie is later seen using the Sharps. It is a weapon of uncanny power and precision.
Sharps 1874 Cavalry Carbine - .45-70.
Le Boeuf drawing a bead on "Lucky" Ned Pepper with his Sharps.
Le Boeuf setting up with his Sharps as Mattie looks on.
This film is based on a book as well as a remake that starred John Wayne, originally. The Coen Brothers did an amazing job of keeping the integrity of the plot lines, the acting is stellar and it's filled with action and captures the Western spirit. I highly recommend grilling some steaks, getting some cowboy beans going and settling in for an entertaining evening at home.
#3 No Country For Old Men
Released in 2007 this movie had a feel too that was riddled with anxiety and a dark panic that you could feel all around the. The presence of our villain archetype could be felt throughout the film.
As we begin down this twisted cinematic road we open with a shot of desolate, wide-open country in West Texas in June 1980. In a voice-over, the local sheriff, Sheriff Bell, tells of the changing times: in the old days, some sheriffs never wore guns, as did his late father, who was the sheriff before him however they are absolutely necessary in the modern day and age.
As it proceeds along we cut to a desert highway, Anton Chigurh is arrested by a deputy. They return to the empty police station, where the deputy calls Sheriff Bell. He tells the Sheriff about an odd device in Chigurh's possession (a captive bolt pistol). The deputy thinks it may be an oxygen tank, but it is actually a device used to kill cattle in the slaughter house. The deputy has his back to Chigurh, who sneaks up behind him and just as the deputy hangs up the phone, uses the handcuff chain to garrote the deputy. After cleaning himself up in the station bathroom, Chigurh steals a squad car and once on a desert highway, uses the car's lights and siren to stop a random motorist driving a Ford sedan. This is how we meet a most merciless and loathsome villain. He politely asks the man to step out of the car. Chigurh then asks the man to hold still and presses the captive bolt pistol attached to the compressed air tank against the puzzled driver's forehead. He squeezes the trigger and it fires the bolt directly into the man's skull, killing him. Chigurh drives off in the man's car.
Elsewhere in the desert, Llewelyn Moss is hunting pronghorns, as he usually does. Setting the sights of his hunting rifle on one, he fires, scattering the animals. Walking to where the herd stood, he notices a trail of blood. Realizing the pronghorn left in a different direction from the blood trail, he spies a wounded pit bull hobbling away. Retracing the dog's trail, Moss comes upon several pickup trucks parked in the middle of the wilderness. Mexican criminals and pit bulls lie dead on the ground, a mortally wounded driver is the only one that remains alive.
The driver begs Moss for water in Spanish, but Moss says that he has no water. Moss asks the man who's left standing but doesn't get an answer. He carefully takes the man's submachine gun off the seat and an ammo clip from his shirt pocket. Under a tarp in the bed of one pickup, Moss sees what appears to be a substantial amount of drugs.
Moss manages to track the only criminal to have escaped the shootout to a tree where he finds the man has died. He finds a large catalog case filled with two million dollars and a .45 caliber pistol. He takes the money and gun. He returns home where he hides the submachine gun under his mobile home. His wife Carla Jean is very unhappy with him for being gone all day and he refuses to tell her where he found the pistol and catalog case. She pries again and asks what's in the case but blows it off when he offhandedly tells her it's full of money.
Moss wakes up in the middle of the night, deciding that he should take water to the wounded driver. He arrives around dawn and parks a short distance away on a rise. He carries a gallon of water to the scene of the shootout, but sees that the wounded man has already been killed by a shotgun round to his head.
Looking back to where he'd parked his pickup truck atop the rise, Moss dimly sees in the predawn light another truck now parked alongside his. Two men get out and appear to slash his truck's tires. He tries to hide behind under one of the trucks, but is fired upon by the men who are now approaching in their truck, using bright searchlights. From the dawn emerges more gunmen, disabling his truck and fire on him and hit him in the shoulder. As Moss tumbles towards the river, the two men send a pit bull after him. Evading continued gunfire, Moss dives into the river and swims downstream, eventually crossing to the other side with the pit bull gaining on him. On the opposite bank, Moss frantically ejects an empty shell from the .45, reloads the gun, and kills the dog at the moment it leaps at him. As he bandages his wounds, Moss realizes he is facing dangerous individuals. He returns home and makes the decision to sends Carla Jean to stay with her mother, where he believes she'll be safe, in Odessa. Moss takes it upon himself to travel separately with the money.
After filling up at a gas station in the dead man's Ford, Chigurh goes to pay for some candy from the gas proprietor. The proprietor tries to make polite conversation out of simple friendliness, but Chigurh is upset at the inane small talk, and the owner finds himself in a strange, tense confrontation. The man is genuinely perplexed by his customer's anxiety, and tries to defuse the argument by saying he needs to close the station, which only further irritates Chigurh due to it being still midday. Chigurh requires him to call the flip of coin to decide whether the man is to win everything, apparently whether the man will live or die. The clerk guesses heads and Chigurh gives the man the coin. He tells him not to mix it with any other coins. The scene is thick with tension and a sort of bad juju.
Later that night, two well-dressed men take Chigurh to the site of the failed drug deal. He removes the VIN tag from Moss's truck door and examines the corpses. The well-dressed men give him a tracking device which he can use to find the catalog case of money, which has a transponder hidden in it, although it has not received any signals any time recently. Chigurh picks up a pistol laying next to one dead men and proceeds to kill both of them.
The following morning, we find ourselves back with Sheriff Bell and Deputy Wendell who 3+respond to a report of a burning car, and recognize the Ford belonging to the dead motorist. They follow tire tracks to the shoot out site, where Sheriff Bell recognizes Moss's truck. He and Wendell carefully look over the scene and then decide to call in federal authorities.
Chigurh appears at Moss and Carla Jean's trailer and uses the captive bolt pistol to break the lock. The trailer is empty but hurriedly vacated, but he finds in the unopened mail a phone bill that reveals the couple has made a lot of calls to Odessa, TX. He tries to intimidate the trailer park manager into revealing where Moss works and seems to contemplate killing her, but when he hears noise in the adjacent room, he makes haste.
Moss puts his wife on a bus and reassures her that he will call her in a couple of days. He takes a cab from the bus station to a motel, where he rents a room and hides the money case deep in the heating and cooling ducts using the clothes bar from a closet.
The next morning Moss purchases a tent for its poles, duct tape, wire cutters, and a 12 gauge shotgun and ammo at a local sporting goods store. He returns to the second hotel room, where he saws off the shotgun barrel and stock. He returns to his first hotel and rents a second room immediately behind his first room. It shares the HVAC duct with his first room. In the second room, he uses the tent poles, duct tape, and coat hangers to fashion a hook that he uses to retrieve the catalog case full of money from the HVAC duct.
Chigurh is driving past the motel when the tracking device goes off. He finds the motel, and by the frequency of its beeping he deduces which room the signal is coming from.Chigurh rents a room and takes off his boots so he can quietly walk up to the room where the signal is coming from. He uses his captive bolt pistol to break into the room. Chigurh finds three Mexicans in the room and kills them with a silenced shotgun. The Mexicans' gunfire alerts Moss in the opposite room. Chigurh searches the room for the case, finally noticing the HVAC duct. He opens it to see the tracks where the case was dragged. Moss escapes into the dark with the money and hitchhikes out of the area.
After this scene we open up to a high-rise office building in Dallas, where a bounty hunter named Carson Wells arrives in a businessman's large office. The businessman is upset by Chigurh's recent killing spree. He wants Wells to contain the situation. Wells tells the businessman that he has had past dealings with Chigurh and would know him by sight. Wells also compares Chigurh to the bubonic plague and calls him a psychopathic killer. The businessman hires Wells to control the "situation" with Chigurh and to retrieve the money.
In a border town, Moss rents a room in an older, rundown multistory hotel. Unable to sleep, he is apparently trying to figure out how Chigurh tracked him down to the previous motel. He searches the case and finds the transponder that Chigurh has been using to find him. He hears suspicious noises and calls the clerk who had checked him in at the front desk. The clerk had told Moss he'd be on until the next morning at 10 a.m., but he doesn't answer. He sees the shadow of feet under his door, but then the hall lights go dark. Chigurh shoots out the lock with the captive bolt pistol, hitting Moss, who fires his shotgun into the door. Moss then drops the case out the second story window and follows it. Chigurh shoots at him from the window but misses. Moss is wounded in the side by the door lock.
Moss stops a pick-up truck driver and tells him to drive him out of there, but Chigurh kills the driver. Moss ducks down and drives the truck around a corner, crashing into a vehicle. He hides behind a nearby car, watching in a store window for whoever is following him. He shoots and wounds Chigurh. Wounded himself, Moss drives the pick-up to the nearby Rio Grande where he buys a jacket from some passing youths on the border bridge, and he also tosses the money case into some brush along the bank. He covers his bloody shirt with the jacket and, posing as an everyday citizen waves the bottle of beer drunkenly at the half-sleeping Mexican border guard as he stumbles past to cross over into Mexico; the sleepy guard is unconcerned with his identity. In the morning he is wakened by members of a Norteño Band who he pays to take him to a hospital.
Sheriff Bell continues to be disturbed by what he saw in the desert and the apparently deteriorating state of morals in the world. He goes to visit Carla Jean in Odessa and asks her to put him in touch with her husband. Almost absentmindedly, he tells her how a local farmer was nearly killed by an animal he was trying to slaughter, and how slaughterhouses now used compressed air guns to kill cattle immediately. In the border town, Chigurh, wounded in the thigh by a buckshot round, sets a car on fire as a diversion and nonchalantly steals medical supplies.
Carson visits Moss in the Mexican hospital and suggests that he just hand over the money so Carson can protect him. Moss refuses and Carson tells him in which hotel he is staying. On the way back across the border, Carson sees the catalog case from the bridge. Back at his hotel, the same one at which Moss was staying, Carson is confronted by Chigurh. Carson tries to strike a deal with Chigurh for his life but when the phone rings, Chigurh kills him. Moss is on the phone, and Chigurh tells him that if he brings him the money, he won't kill his wife, though he can't do the same for Moss. Chigurh lets Moss know that he knows exactly where he is and, instead of coming to kill him in the hospital, he is going to go to Carla Jean's mother's house.
Moss leaves the hospital and retrieves the case. He calls Carla Jean at her mother's in Odessa and tells her to fly to El Paso to meet him. Chigurh meanwhile goes to Dallas where he kills the businessman for hiring not only Carson but the Mexicans as well. His truck breaks down and a chicken farmer with a flatbed full of chicken cages stops to help. Chigurh asks where the nearest airport is. The farmer names El Paso.
The Mexicans who have been watching Carla Jean in Odessa follow her and her mother to the airport. One of the Mexicans helps her mother with her luggage and she tells him she and Carla Jean are going to El Paso. In the airport, Carla Jean calls Sheriff Bell and tells him where Moss is staying in El Paso.
Sheriff Bell is driving up to Moss's motel when he hears automatic gunfire and sees a pickup truck speeding off. At the motel, Sheriff Bell sees a large number of empty shell casings on the ground by the pool, where a woman is floating dead. He then sees Llewelyn Moss dead in the open doorway of his room. The money case is missing.
All Sheriff Bell can do is comfort Carla Jean when she arrives. Later that night, Sheriff Bell and the local sheriff have coffee and bemoan the declining morals of American society. Afterward, Sheriff Bell returns to the motel and nearly misses being killed by Chigurh who had been searching the room for the money case.
Sheriff Bell visits his uncle, Ellis to tell him he's retiring because he is too disturbed by the violence he's seen. Ellis tells him he's being vain and relates the story about how Sheriff Bell's grandfather had died: shot by 8 outlaws, he bled to death in his wife's arms on his front porch as they watched. Meanwhile, Chigurh visits Carla Jean, who has just buried her mother. She understands why he's there but still finds it meaningless. Chigurh flips a coin but Carla Jean refuses to play his game. Carla Jean dismisses Chigurh's game, saying that he's the one who decides on whether or not to kill her, not the coin. He is unmoved, however, insisting on his lack of a free choice in the matter. During this exchange, we see two boys ride past the house on bicycles. Chigurh leaves the house and stops to check his boots, apparently for blood.
At Sheriff Bell's house, he recounts a dream he had about his sheriff father. Bell dreamed that he and his father were riding a mountain pass in the night. His father, carrying a horn with embers inside that glowed like moonlight, rode ahead into the darkness and disappeared. Though he couldn't see anything in the dark night, Bell dreamed that he kept riding forward since his father would have a warm fire waiting for him.
This film is violent but brooding and intelligent. All the actors delivered amazing performances and Josh Brolin continues to be on of my favorites. The most unique weapon in this movie has got to be the captive bolt pistol so we'll take a look at that as well as the major gun fight in the street from the hotel.
Chigurh seems to prefer to use a Captive Bolt Pistol on his victims when he can. He also uses it to blow out door locks. The Captive Bolt Pistol is a pneumatic gun that fires a bolt into the brains of cattle to stun them before slaughter. Like the name suggests the bolt never entirely leaves the gun, it is shot out by air (or a blank) and then retracts back into the gun by return springs. Though not a "firearm" it is a gun and does play a big role in several scenes. Anton most likely chose this weapon because it requires no ammunition, is almost completely silent, and leaves no physical evidence (bullets and/or empty casings).
Chigurh's captive bolt pistol
Anton Chigurh (Javier Bardem) uses a sound-suppressed Remington Model 11-87 Semi-Auto shotgun with a short barrel in four shooting scenes in the movie. As with many other firearms, this gun is anachronistic because the Remington 11-87 was not designed until 1987 and the film takes place in 1980.
Remington 11-87 shotgun edited to resemble gun in film - 12 Gauge
Chigurh aims his Remington 11-87 at the closet.
Chigurh aims his Remington 11-87 at the last man hiding in the bathtub. Note 11-87 on the receiver.
Llewelyn Moss (Josh Brolin) uses a 12 gauge Winchester Model 1897 pump shotgun for a large part of the film, and uses it to wound Anton. He originally buys a long barreled 'Field' shotgun, and subsequently saws off the stock and saws down the gun barrel to roughly the length of a 'Riot' version.
Winchester no longer makes this model, and those still in circulation are considered collector's items. The actual firearm used in the film was a clone of the Winchester 1897 made by Norinco. In the DVD special features, the armorer mentions that the fact that in the book it says that Moss cocks the hammer on the shotgun, clued him into the fact that it was a Winchester Model 1897.
Winchester Model 1897 Field Shotgun - 12 Gauge
Llewelyn Moss checking the Winchester Model 1897, while the clerk gets 00 Buck shells.
Llewelyn Moss fires his sawed-off M1897 in a promotional image.
Winchester Model 1897 Riot Gun - 12 Gauge
Llewelyn with his Winchester Model 1897 as he flees the motel.
Dark and thrilling, this film is always great to watch. Grab your friends and family or do a Coen Brothers movie marathon on your own but definitely settle into the weekend with some great entertainment.
Which film in the Coen Brother franchise is your favorite???
Labels: action films, award winning, cinema, coen brothers, dark comedy, directors, films, gun fights, guns, movies, no country for old men, raising arizona, shooting, shootouts, thrillers, true grit, weapons