The Sheriff Bell In No Country For Old Men As A Western Sheriff
The Sherriff Bell in No Country for Old Men is a western Sherriff. What’s significant about Sherriff Ed Bell?
Sherriff Bell is an elderly Western hero character, which is symbolic of an old tradition, who serves a very small population in the ‘Wild West’, but an evolved landscape with new strains of crime which mystify him.
Sherriff’s attitude of the retiring lawman at the start of the film, who is withdrawing from an evil which he cannot understand or address, reflecting the film’s millennial worldview with ‘no hope for a viable future, only the remote possibility of individual detachment from it all.
Sherriff Bell is such a significant character in No Country for Old Men is because he represents morality throughout the film. How Sheriff Bell represents this theme is by his disapproval of modern-day crimes and his inability to fight them. This is shown at the beginning of the film when he narrates how crime has changed.
Another reason why Sheriff Bell is so significant in this film is due to that fact that the movie is about him as he is the narrator and the protagonist of the movie, even though you don’t see him as much as Chigurh and Llewelyn. The title of the film is based on him. He represents the old-timers and how they are unsuitable in modern society of evil and corruption.
The complete opposite to the Sherriff is the Chigurh. Why is the villain such a meaningful character in this film?
Chigurh is such a meaningful protagonist in the film as he is not your typical western villain. Firstly, his choice of weapon isn’t a gun which is seen in a typical western film, he uses a bolt pistol to kill people. He also likes to play with fate by using a coin. He uses the coin to decide if he wanted to kill someone or not. This is shown at the gas station when he asked the man to choose head or tails.
I wanted Chigurh to be a character for the audience to interpret. He could be a murder that only murders people that engage in immoral behaviour. For an instant, he kills Carson Wells, a bounty hunter, the cartel bosses who hired him, Carla Jean, who was complicit in criminal activity and attempts to kill Llewelyn, who stole blood money from the cartel. Meanwhile, he leaves the two boys near the top unscathed. He doesn’t kill indiscriminately, rather the people he kills all already partook in immoral activity.
Why was it important to include messages about The American Dream & Morality?
The American Dream is shown within all the main protagonist. Llewelyn symbolizes the people, who want to measure their dream of a far better life whether or not they need to face enormous danger. Here, as a reflexion on our societies, the sole thanks to achieving the real happiness seems to be for him the wealth. The cash leads the world and pushes people to try and do ridiculous actions. With Chigurh, he symbolises the evil we rarely see in films. He’s paid to recover the money stolen by Llewellyn and he’ll do everything for that. He’s totally frightening because he got principles in good or in bad and he seems to be unstoppable. He has no regrets, no feelings and just wants to success what he has decided to try and do. But with Sheriff Bell, he shows morality. By trying to understand the society in the seventies and stop the way things go but loses all hoi illusions and eventually retiring.
No Country for Old Men is a Western film with a twist. How has good versus evil been portaged differently?
I didn’t want this movie to just do the classic American Western film with the good guy always wins against the bad guy. No Country for Old Men is a modern take on the western genre. The theme of good versus evil is portrayed differently in this film. Sheriff Bell in particular struggles with the form of evil that is portrayed in contracts with normal human senselessness which is shown by Llewelyn taking the drug money which leads to Bell trying to save Llewelyn and Carla Jean Moss. In order for Sheriff Bell to catch Chigurh, he should start thinking like him, which is thinking like a cold-blooded, soulless killer which is the complete opposite of Bell. What is the controversial part of this film is at the end when Chigurh is never caught and never brought to account for his crimes. Bell finds it impossible to reconcile what he learns of an attribute during this investigation together with his desire to form a positive difference in his community. As a result, he retires, unable to deal with the changes within the criminals that he sees usurping the world around him. There’s no real legal justice anymore: no possibility of righting an evil so disturbing and wrong. Bell finds that he has no role or no role that he will accept, in such a world.
You mention about the ending of the film before. What was the message you were sending to the audience?
The ending show Chigurh, the villain, triumph by walking away from the car accident he was in. The movie initially makes us believe that we’ll see the ‘Good Guy’ defeating the ‘Bad Guy’ and walking away into the sunset with the bag of money. Soon we realize that nobody was ‘good’ which they were merely after the drug money. We don’t even get our hero-villain showdown, and a 3rd party kills off Llewelyn off-screen. Sheriff Bell was the ‘good’ sheriff and only survived because he was outmatched and ought to the crime scenes too late. No Country for Old Men ends with Bell recalling his dreams about his father and indicating that he’s the old man there isn’t a rustic left for. Over the years, he has lost the flexibility to know crime and its nature and has accepted defeat.