No Country for Old Men: Coens prepared for multiple plot possibilities?

Agreed. The thing I love about the Coens’ movies is that they’re non-linear without being ambiguous. I’m often surprised in a Coen film, but I’m never lost. It doesn’t all make sense in the end, but if you pay attention, you understand the important stuff, and they make you think about the rest.

FWIW, in the book:

The beer girl is a fifteen-year-old runaway hitchiker whom Llewelyn picks up because he needs help doing things like driving and fetching supplies, and also because he’s genuinely worried about her. He doesn’t have sex with her and repeatedly turns down her advances. Along the way, L (Typing his name is starting to get difficult.) tries to impart his cowboy wisdom and warns her not to keep hitchiking. Of course in the end, his concern for her only winds up getting her killed. The Mexicans track them to the hotel and use her as a hostage to get her to put down his gun. As soon as he does, the Mexicans shoot the both of them dead. To make matters worse, his wife assumes that he was cheating on her with the hitchiker.

Me, too! Once the dust has settled on this (if it hasn’t for the folks who make movies and have already made their own decisions on how much of this movie to emulate (or just plain rip off) in their next venture) I anticipate movie-making to endorse the Coens’ approach much the way that Tarantino was idolized after Pulp Fiction and we saw all sorts of lame attempts to do similar things until now – can you believe it’s been 14 years? – nearly every movie tries to have some snappy “real life” dialog to bump up the edge to the violence.

It may be that we look back on 2007 as the last year when anybody felt the need to explain things. How would that be?

One other Coen movie to see is Miller’s Crossing which has its fair share of NCFOM misdirection and chicanery. Gabriel Byrne, John Turturro and Albert Finney for starters. A fun ride!