No Country for Old Men Ending Explained & Plot Analysis

After watching the movie, do you have more questions than answers? Let me help you find the hidden meaning behind No Country for Old Men and also explain what the movie’s ending means.

The film “No Country for Old Men” is an outstanding picture of the Coen brothers, which made a huge contribution to the development of cinema and became its classic. The film has gained well-deserved love from the audience and positive reviews from critics for its tense atmosphere, plot and understatement, thanks to which, after watching, everyone indulges in philosophical reflection and speculation.

What is No Country for Old Men about?

According to the plot of the film, an ordinary worker Moss, who went through the Vietnam War, stumbles upon a gangster shootout in the desert, finds a bag of money there and decides to take it with him. This act will lead to a wave of brutality, as both American and Mexican criminals are after the cash.

The voice-over that tells us the whole story belongs to the old Sheriff Bell, in whose city a cruel and ruthless killer is operating, leaving dozens of corpses in his wake.

The third main character of the film is the killer himself – his name is Chigurh. Considering him a psychopath or possessed would be a mistake. Chigurh does not enjoy what he has done, he only does his job as a mercenary. The killer is looking for what Moss appropriated and no one will stop him. He kills anyone who gets in his way, asks unnecessary questions or refuses to help.

Chigurh embodies absolute evil, there is not a drop of compassion, humanity and conscience in him. He considers himself the “hand of fate”, makes people act the way he needs and play by his rules. Before killing, he gives his victim the opportunity to make a choice, the result of which will be either life or death.

But Chigurh thought too much of himself, he was overly arrogant and did not expect that Moss, who took the bag of money, would be so stubborn. The mercenary gives him a choice: to give the money and then Moss’s wife will remain alive, or Chigurh kills them both.
Moss refuses to make a choice. He hides the loot and intends to get rid of the pursuer. But he dies in a shootout with the Mexicans, who take the cash.

Then Chigurh comes to the wife of Moss with the intention of killing her. She explains to him that there is no point in this, because the Mexicans took the money. But the killer does not care, he had an agreement with Moss and Chigurh is obliged to bring his plans to life in accordance with his personal code of honor.

But before killing him, he gives Moss’s wife a choice – toss a coin that will determine whether the woman will live. Fate turns out to be on the side of evil and Chigurh does what he came for.

The meaning of the film “No Country for Old Men”

The film No Country for Old Men constantly contrasts the old and the new, the past and the present. The three main characters represent three times: Sheriff Bell is the past, Chigurh is the present, Moss is the future.

Sheriff Bell is a character from the past, he does not understand how the new world works and does not realize what America has become. His attempt to find Chigurh and save Moss is the final task he decides to take on before he retires. But the sheriff can’t cope, he can’t catch the killer and realizes that it’s time to retire.

Chigurh symbolizes the present, the same ruthless, not amenable to the laws of the past and the future. He literally decides the fate of other people.

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