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Christian Analysis of American Culture (CAP Ministry)
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Entertainment Media Analysis Report
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(2007), R [R*] (1hr 56min)

Final Score
Analysis Date
Date Posted
Influence Density
April 6, 2008
April 9, 2008

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(While the Scriptural references are certainly not subjective, my commentary may be and sometimes is somewhat subjective.)

If Scriptural references appear, the full text appears at the end of the Summary / Commentary.

(2007), R [R*] .. .Maybe "Christian" should mean "no-R" ...

Cast/Crew Details Courtesy Internet Movie Database
Production (US): Paramount Vantage, Miramax Films, Scott Rudin Productions, Mike Zoss Productions
Distribution (US): Miramax Films
Director(s): Ethan Coen, Joel Coen
Producer(s): Ethan Coen, Joel Coen, David Diliberto, Robert Graf, Mark Roybal, Scott Rudin
Screenplay by: Joel Coen, Ethan Coen
Cinematography/Camera: Roger Deakins
Music: Carter Burwell
Film Editing: Ethan Coen, Joel Coen
Casting: Ellen Chenoweth
Production Design: Jess Gonchor
Art Direction: John P. Goldsmith
Viewed on Buena Vista Home Entertainment DVD

While we do not particularly care to conduct analyses of R-rated films, it is necessary to do so for a few R-rated films to maintain the mathematical integrity of the CAP analysis model since the verification and validation of it was completed by actual use on G, PG, PG-13 and R-rated films (NC-17/X films will not be analyzed by the CAP Ministry). In other words, how could I otherwise say, for example, a PG-13 film earned a score in the range of scores earned by R-rated films (a "R-13" film) if I do not analyze a few R-rated films?

Further, the "R" is nothing but a signal to parents. And for some youths "R" is a lure. By analysis of hundreds of R-rated films over the years, I cannot remember a single one that did not have underage youth in the audience ... except this one. I viewed it from DVD with none of my kids in the "audience." By the way, "underage kids" includes at-home teens.

If our analysis of R-rated films will cause even one parent to prevent his/her underage child from watching a R-rated film then we will have done our job. And it is working. More and more parents are thanking us for this service because it tells them the truth about the content of films which advertisers, promoters, the MPAA, trailers/previews can't or won't tell so mom/dad might be in a better position to make an informed moral decision whether an unseen film is fit. I sometimes wonder if a film is unfit for kids why is it fit for adults? Isn't that which is sinful for a child also sinful for an adult?

Maybe "Christian" should mean "no-R" but it doesn't. If that were so, "Christian" should mean also "no PG-13" since we (and Harvard University scientists four years after us - see Harvard Agrees with Us) have proven the "ratings creep." Indeed, the CAP analysis model revealed before Harvard scientists that most PG-13 films should have been rated R (see R-13). If you think Christians stay away form R-rated films, someday ask your Christian friends where they go after the after-church lunch. You might be surprised. Maybe what we do will help change that.

The bottom line? I do not enjoy watching R-rated films, but I will. Occasionally. In fact, after more than 1200 films I don't particularly enjoy watching films. However, I do greatly enjoy 1) helping mom/dad make an informed moral decision and 2) applying God's Word to noted behaviors. And I will do so as long as Jesus wants me to do so. At the last prayer I received no signal that He wants me to stop. Rather, I sense He wants me to accelerate and expand, but that depends on you. Ask Him what He wants you to do.

Aging sheriff Edward Thomas "Tom" Bell (Tommy Lee Jones) is getting fed up with "the way things are." The way law enforcement in changing. The way criminals do their deeds. The way general apathy and disrespect are rampant. Now there (the latter) is a true reflection of real life. But maybe it is films like these that make real life the way it is?

Along comes two characters that become the final straw that drives Tom into retirement: a local out-of-work welder Llewelyn Moss (Josh Brolin) and a psychopathic drug dealer and murderer Anton Chigurh (Javier Bardem)

While on a hunting trip, Moss discovers a gathering of pickup trucks in the middle of nowhere. Upon inspecting them Moss finds the trucks riddled with bullet holes and three gruesomely murdered men with another dying of gunshot wounds. In the back of one of the trucks Moss also discovers a huge stash of illegal drugs. Moss stumbled upon a drug deal gone bad. But always with drug deals is a great deal of money. Sure enough. Moss found a satchel with $2,000,000 in it. So, Moss runs with the money and one of the several guns strewn about.

Arriving home to his wife, Carla Jean Moss (Kelly Macdonald, who may have been the best performer of the entire cast) questions Moss about where he had been and where he got the gun in his belt. After a series of lies and smooth talk, Moss returns to the murder site to give water to the dying man who begged Moss for "agua."

Not long after his return to the site the drug bosses arrive and try to kill Moss. After a volley of gunfire and eluding an attack dog Moss escapes. But little did Moss know a tracking device was planted in one of the bundles of bills. With that tracking device, Moss was never able to be free of Anton Chigurh (Javier Bardem) whose last name sounds almost like "sugar."

But sugar he was not. Chigurh is, as described by Carson Wells (Woody Harrelson), a bounty hunter of sorts, as quite probably the 'badest' murderer that has ever lived. One of Chigurh's victims was no more than an elderly man along the road. One of Chigurh's favorite tools of murder is a compressed air cattle slaughter tool that drives a 3-inch bolt into the brain of a cow, instantly killing the cow. Chigurh used it on door locks ... and human heads. His other favorite tool was a shotgun with a silencer. Along his path to locate and kill Moss, Chigurh brutally and graphically murders at least 20 people.

This is not a film for the impressionable. God warns us of such "communications" in 1 Cor. 15:33 and other verses. Too many use "It is just a movie, fantasy" as a crutch ... but the imagery is still implanted. Imagery notwithstanding, the influence of the cold, uncaring attitude of which is very well played by Bardem, is damaging to the impressionable and even the not-so-impressionable. Since God warned us that such "communication" corrupts you can trust it is.

Indeed, we have found that it is not so much the violence (or sex or drugs, etc.) that poses the greatest moral and behavioral risk to the viewer but is rather the attitude portrayed (see ATTITUDE: In Perspective). Just remember that a bad influence does not have to be real to influence badly. In 1 Cor. 15:33 God makes no distinction between the impressionable and the strong when He warns us that "evil communication" corrupts. Maybe we should listen to Him for a change.

Wanton Violence/Crime (W)
This Wanton Violence/Crime investigation area found enough content to earn an investigation area score of zero. Many instances of gunfire to kill. Pursuit to kill. People dripping with blood. Views of very graphic gunshot injuries. Dead bodies. All these portrayals and more combine to steal all of the starting 100 points in this investigation area. [Prov. 16:29] Indeed, if the limiters that cause less-than-zero investigation area scores to be shown as zero were removed, the "mercury" in the Wanton Violence/Crime (W) thermometer would be 110 points below the zero mark. Note that the limiters are used to display as zero all less-than-zero investigation area scores since scores less than zero are meaningless in the display.

Impudence/Hate (I)
Seventeen times the three/four letter word vocabulary are heard. Four times by a young teen or late preteen, including the most foul of the foul words. [Col. 3:8] A constant theme of a cold, brutal and vicious sadistic attitude combined with related matters of impudence such as lying and intimidation cost the film nearly all of the starting 100 points in this investigation area. [2Tim. 3:1 ... 3]

Sexual Immorality (S)
Surprisingly, for an R-rated film this film is lite in sexually immoral behavior demonstrations/imagery. I suspect that with credibility borne of long-term study I can say PG-13 films are generally more "sexual" that this R-rated film. I guess that fits since we proved in 2000 (as did Harvard University scientists four years later) that more than 60% of the PG-13 films analyzed should have been rated R (see R-13). Other than some sexual talk, an anatomical reference and a rude gaze by Brolin, the only other sexually immoral behavior noted was a prostitute propositioning Moss from a motel poolside. [Col. 3:5, Prov. 23:27-28]

Drugs/Alcohol (D)
The same holds true about R-rated films being more dense with drinking and drunkenness than PG-13 films. Such is no longer true. No Country for Old Men, rated R, has less "alcoholic content" than most PG-13 films. It is of weaker "proof" than most PG-13 films. Though presenting a weaker "proof" than most PG-13 films, this film does present booze and drinking. While the booze/drinking is bad enough of an influence, worse yet is the illegal drug theme throughout. [Luke 17:2] Though Luke 17:2 refers to corrupting youth, when do you suppose illegal drugs remain in the adult world only? And even if they did ...?
Offense to God (O)
One old timer sheriff spewed God's name in vain with the four letter expletive four times in three or four minutes. God's name is spoken in vain without the four letter expletive only once. Either way, God' does not like it. And tells us so. [Deut. 5:11]

Murder/Suicide (M)
Demonstrations of murder are rampant. Graphic murder. Brutal murder. Cold, heartless murder. God speaks darkly of murderers many times throughout the Old Testament and the New Testament. But they are all summed up in Ex 20:13.


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  • Prov. 16:29 A violent man entices his neighbor and leads him down a path that is not good. [The issue is the violence, no matter how "small" it might seem and its effect on an observer. "A violent man" can be a man, woman OR the men/women/characters demonstrating the violent behavior/action on the screen. Knowing of Prov. 16:29 you now know why violence, especially in and as entertainment, can embolden the viewer into aggression, especially youth. See also Joint Statement on the Impact of Entertainment Violence on Children: Congressional Public Health Summit. Further, God speaks darkly of violence 56 times in the Old and New Testament of the KJV. And see 1 Cor. 15:33 below.]
  • Col. 3:8 But now you must rid yourselves of all such things as these: anger, rage, malice, slander (injurious speech), and filthy language [aischrologia: foul speaking, low and obscene speech] from your lips.
  • 2Tim. 3:1 ... 3 But mark this: There will be terrible times in the last days ... without love, unforgiving, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not lovers of the good, [If you chose to watch this film even after knowing of its contents the script speaks well for a couple moments, whether intentional, to 2Tim 3:1 - 5.]
  • Col. 3:5 Put to death [defeat, expunge, deprive of power, destroy the strength of], therefore, whatever belongs to your earthly nature: sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil desires and greed, which is idolatry.
  • Prov. 23:27-28 for a prostitute is a deep pit and a wayward wife [or husband] is a narrow well. Like a bandit she [OR he] lies in wait, and multiplies the unfaithful among men.
  • Deut. 5:11 Thou shalt not take the name of the LORD thy God in vain: for the LORD will not hold him guiltless that taketh his name in vain. [Vain is shav' {shawv}: emptiness, nothingness, vanity, such as an expletive. With or without the four letter expletive, the use of God's name in any way other than respect, reverence or responsible discussion is in vain. That includes the popular three syllable sentence with His name trailing it AND the misuse of Jesus' name or title.]

    ***Selected Scriptures of Armour against the influence of the entertainment industry***
  • Jer. 37:9 This is what the LORD says: Do not deceive yourselves, thinking, 'The Babylonians [the destroyers from within] will surely leave us.' They will not!
  • Ps. 12:8 The wicked freely strut about [e.g., create progressively vile/offensive entertainment with impunity and no consequences and present it to younger and younger audiences every year] when what is vile is honored among men [when enough people continue to defend it, embrace it, enjoy it, want it, submit to it. I call attention to Ps. 12:8 to warn of the creeping desensitizing power of "entertainment."]
  • Col. 2:8 Beware lest any man [by his influence] spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ.
  • 1 Cor. 15:33 Be not deceived: evil [kakov: of a bad nature, not such as it ought to be] communications corrupt good manners.
  • Rom. 5:19 For as by one man's disobedience many were made sinners, so by the obedience of one shall many be made righteous.
  • Jude 1:4 For there are certain men* crept in unawares [secretly slipped in among us], who were before of old ordained to this condemnation [whose condemnation was written about long ago], ungodly men, turning the grace of our God into lasciviousness [a license for immorality], and denying the only Lord God, and our Lord Jesus Christ. [*men: anthropos {anth'-ro-pos}, generic, a human being, whether male or female]
  • Matt. 25:40 And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.
  • Luke 17:2 It were better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and he cast into the sea, than that he should offend one of these little ones. [Offend: skandalizo {skan-dal-id'-zo} - scandalize; to entice to sin; to cause a person to begin to distrust and desert one whom he ought to trust and obey; to cause to fall away.]
  • Ps. 119:133 Order my steps in thy word: and let not any iniquity have dominion over me [let no sin rule over me].
  • John 14:15 If ye love me, keep my commandments.
  • 1 Thess. 5:22 Abstain from all appearance of evil. ["Evil" includes all things that are sinful.]


    As always, it is best to refer to the Findings/Scoring section -- the heart of the CAP analysis model -- for the most complete assessment possible of this movie.
    (The objective heart of the CAP Analysis Model, independent of and insulated from the Summary / Commentary section.)

    No Country for Old Men (2007) CAP Thermometers

    Wanton Violence/Crime (W)
  • tale of child murder
  • dying man
  • firearms, many, frequently
  • theft of drug money
  • gunfire to kill, frequently
  • pursuit to kill
  • injuries with blood, repeatedly, many quite graphic, dripping with blood
  • dead body, repeatedly
  • breaking and entering, repeatedly
  • reckless gunfire
  • illegal modification of a firearm
  • vehicle arson to distract
  • implied murders
  • attempted murder by gunfire
  • traumatic car wreck

    Impudence/Hate (I)
  • 17 uses of the three/four letter word vocabulary, three of them by an adolescent
  • one use of the most foul of the foul words by an adolescent
  • one use of the most foul of the foul words by an adult
  • lies to wife, repeatedly
  • intimidation
  • paying a child to lie
  • cold, vicious attitude throughout

    Sexual Immorality (S)
  • sex talk
  • anatomical reference
  • rude gaze
  • sexual invitation

    Drugs/Alcohol (D)
  • drinking, repeatedly
  • booze
  • illegal use of controlled medication
  • smoking
  • drug theme throughout

    Offense to God (O)
  • three uses of God's name in vain with the four letter expletive and once without it
  • belittlement of God and faith (remember, acting does not excuse sin)

    Murder/Suicide (M)
    • graphic and brutal murder, repeatedly, at least 20

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    There are some in the entertainment industry who maintain that 1) violent programming is harmless because no studies exist that prove a connection between violent entertainment and aggressive behavior in children, and 2) young people know that television, movies, and video games are simply fantasy. Unfortunately, they are wrong on both accounts." And "Viewing violence may lead to real life violence." I applaud these associations for fortifying 1 Cor. 15:33. Read the rest of the story. From our years of study, I contend that other aberrant behaviors, attitudes, and expressions can be inserted in place of "violence" in that statement. Our Director - Child Psychology Support, a licensed psychologist and certified school psychologist concurs. For example, "Viewing arrogance against fair authority may lead to your kids defying you in real life." Or "Viewing sex may lead to sex in real life." Likewise and especially with impudence, hate and foul language. I further contend that any positive behavior can be inserted in place of "violence" with the same chance or likelihood of being a behavior template for the observer; of being incorporated into the behavior mechanics and/or coping skills of the observer. In choosing your entertainment, please consider carefully the "rest of the story" and our findings.

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