[NOTE: This post is about the film "No Country for Old Men" and is brimming with SPOILERS. Do not read this if you have not seen the movie.]
In a previous post, we talked about an element of “No Country for Old Men” that had led to misunderstandings. Now we address something where there truly are several possible explanations: Sheriff Bell and Anton Chigurh in the motel room. Were they there at the same time? What is the deal with that scene?
First, the events leading up to it. Bell arrives at the hotel just as the Mexicans are fleeing the scene. (They learned where Moss was by talking to his mother-in-law at the bus station, you’ll recall.) Bell sees numerous spent bullet shells next to the wall outside the swimming pool, where Moss was standing the last time we saw him; floating in the pool is, presumably, the woman he’d been talking to. Bell hurries to Moss’ hotel room, where a wounded Mexican is crawling away and where Moss lies dead just inside the door.
It would appear the Mexicans arrived while Moss was still talking to the pool girl. Moss was carrying his rifle (in a case), so he was able to return fire on the Mexicans before fleeing to his room. With one of their own having been hit, and with the money not sitting in plain sight, and with Moss fighting back, the Mexicans aborted their mission and took off.
Bell informs Moss’ wife of her husband’s death, then goes to the morgue, then has coffee with the local sheriff, who tells him the money was not in the hotel room. He guesses the Mexicans must have taken it, but Bell points out that they were speeding away pretty quickly.
During this time is when Anton Chigurh visits the hotel room. When Bell returns after having coffee, the lock has been blown off the door. He stops outside the door. We can see the reflection of something off the shininess of the blown-off lock, but it’s impossible to tell exactly what we’re seeing, whether it’s Bell’s own reflection or the reflection of someone inside the room.