This may be the first movie I’ve seen where it was as obvious as it was, but it seems to me that there are almost as many “open ended” scenes and plot lines as there are those that get resolved in a convincing way.
Some superficial examples (to which I hope others will add for a more comprehensive list):
We don’t really know whose body Ed Tom is looking at in the morgue. We see Ed Tom’s face and must deduce from his expression (coupled with the editing sequence of scenes) that this is most likely Llewellyn.
We don’t know what happened to Carla Jean, and must assume from Anton’s checking his boots on the way out of her house that he’s worried about blood or some other unwanted evidence.
We don’t actually hear Carla Jean’s mom tell the Mexican in the suit just where in El Paso they plan to stay. We are left to deduce that from the events that follow that encounter.
There are other scenes that lead me to believe that the Coens were prepared to do in the editing room what they might have done in the script’s dialog but decided: 1) the way they put it together would make multiple viewings (or using the replay features on the DVD) almost a requirement; or 2) they weren’t committed to any particular plot line and could arrange the scenes any way they wanted, in terms of resolution.
We are left to imagine (after the particularly gory details shown at the beginning) all the gore and mayhem in later instances where it’s fairly clear that Anton must have killed at least three other people that were alive when last we saw them.
I’m all for having to figure things out and to have to go back and catch telltale signs and bits of dialog that clarify what really must have happened. But this is the first time I was acutely aware of how I was being toyed with.
Don’t get me wrong: I’m glad the Coens and Bardem got their Oscars, and I thought Tommy Lee and Woody did as good work as any I’ve seen from them. And Barry Corbin is a pro. And Kelly Macdonald continues to impress, and all that. And I can’t quite decide if I need to own this movie instead of just renting it again (or recording it to tape off the eventual cable channel), but I know I’ll enjoy seeing it again after some time has passed.
Anybody else get the ideas I’m talking about?
Does anybody else see parallels with The Usual Suspects? Pulp Fiction?
(I thought this deserved a separate thread rather than just hijacking the big one that’s in progress elsewhere.)