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No Country for Old Men {2007}.

No Country for Old Men, a 2007 existential noir western thriller by Joel and Ethan Coen, examines the dilemma of Llewelyn Moss {Josh Brolin}, who somewhat inadvertently ends up in the crosshairs of, among others, sociopathic assassin/operative Anton Chigurh {Javier Bardem}, a most singular character with a ruthless code and nihilism to spare. Sheriff Ed Tom Bell {Tommy Lee Jones} wants to help Moss, but, though plenty smart and resourceful, he realizes with the likes of Chigurh, whom he wryly and despairingly describes as a ghost, he’s in over his head; he’s dealing with a new kind of human. New, yet as old and implacable as the unforgiving landscape.

It is the uncanny accomplishment of the Coens to have rendered an extraordinarily nuanced environment where everything means something, yet nothing means anything. The interface of chance and inevitability is front and center.

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Hitchcock’s Psycho {1960}.

The plot of Psycho, directed by Alfred Hitchcock, pivots on the fulcrum of a red herring. Janet Leigh’s character fears that she is in imminent legal danger, and suffers from a troubled conscience, when in fact something far, far worse, something having absolutely nothing even remotely to do with events up to that point, awaits her.

When he dines initially with Leigh, the reaction/mood of Norman Bates {portrayed iconically by Anthony Perkins} changes rather drastically, from chipper, to utterly incredulous, to overtly hostile, to a resigned world-weariness, to a last attempt at joviality. He appears to be friendly and caring, if a bit troubled and mercurial.

When the dogged, unswerving Milton Arbogast {Martin Balsam} calmly dissembles the slowly dissolving structural integrity of Norman’s version of events, he opts to do nothing less than trot out the heavy artillery, proclaiming “If it doesn’t gel, it isn’t aspic; and this ain’t gelling.” Stunned silence proceeds to take over the entire universe, and Bates is duly provoked.

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πΆβ„Žπ‘Ÿπ‘–π‘ π‘‘π‘–π‘Žπ‘› 𝑆𝑧𝑒𝑙𝑙: π‘€π‘Žπ‘Ÿπ‘Žπ‘‘β„Žπ‘œπ‘› π‘€π‘Žπ‘›.

The sadistic war criminal Christian Szell {portrayed brilliantly by Laurence Olivier} gets up to some nefarious goings-on in Marathon Man…until Dustin Hoffman finally captures him (…on film).