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Posted: 7/14/2008 10:36:29 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 8/25/2008 3:09:50 PM EDT by Bunnyassassin]
I posted this as a reply in GD, but since I am to threads what chigurh is to people who cross him, I post it here in hopes of ever seeing the thread alive again.

I have a question about Chigurh, this has bothered me since I first saw the movie.

Why did he do the coin toss with the wife? He had a debt to pay, Moss chose to have him kill her, in Chigurh's eyes. The decision to kill her was made by Moss, when he refused Chigurh's offer to save her.

So why do the coin toss? What if she "won," was he not going to kill her? His actions were not random, for the most part. The Old guy at the gas station NOTICED his plates, not a huge deal, but big enough for Anton to notice the potential problem, so he did the coin toss because that killing was a coin toss.

I thought that was totally out of character to offer the wife the coin toss. Did the book contain that "offer?"
Link Posted: 7/14/2008 10:58:08 AM EDT
I'm not a psychological expert and haven't slept at a Holiday Inn recently, but my guess is that the coin toss was a way of mentally/emotionally avoiding responsibility for killing someone. He can write-off the death as somehow "fated to happen" if it was the outcome of a coin toss.

Just another form of rationalization/justification for what he was doing to people.
Link Posted: 7/14/2008 11:41:25 AM EDT
Link Posted: 7/14/2008 12:06:48 PM EDT


Originally Posted By Shane333:
.... my guess is that the coin toss was a way of mentally/emotionally avoiding responsibility for killing someone. He can write-off the death as somehow "fated to happen" if it was the outcome of a coin toss.


Yep, he was a major nut job. His way of giving her a "chance".
Link Posted: 7/14/2008 12:10:04 PM EDT

Originally Posted By Bunnyassassin:

Originally Posted By Shane333:
.... my guess is that the coin toss was a way of mentally/emotionally avoiding responsibility for killing someone. He can write-off the death as somehow "fated to happen" if it was the outcome of a coin toss.


I would agree with that...


To me, that does not fit his character at all. First, he was a human terminator, and didn't strike me as the kind of guy who needed to play mind games in order to live with himself. He was going to kill that gas station guy for noticing his plates. He then played a game with him and let him go. Not just the coin toss, there, but listen to the dialog and how it amuses Chigurh.

Also, with her, he was already avoiding responsibility, Moss had cast her fate, not Chugarh, Moss could have but did not save her, Chugarh even told her that.

It's not the coin toss game that puzzles me per se, but why OFFER her the coin toss since he was going to kill her either way, as his "honor" told him to do. Either that, or he wasn't so honorable, and would have walked away with her alive, but that contradicts his stated beliefs and the deal he offered, but was rejected, by Moss.
Link Posted: 7/14/2008 12:16:45 PM EDT
Link Posted: 7/14/2008 12:25:19 PM EDT

Originally Posted By Bunnyassassin:
So why not kill the kids at the end... they saw him after the wreck... I still think that conscience played a part...


Because he didn't strike a deal with anyone that cost the kids their lives.

Two kinds of killing for him:

1. Have to, like the guy who took the money, his wife if he didn't cut a deal, guy with car, as he needed to ditch the cop car. It was clear, even if Moss gave him the money back, he was going to kill him anyway, it was part of the mission he was undertaking. He offered to take the money back and kill Moss, completing the mission, then let the girl go, but Moss said no. She then became part of the mission.

2. Doesn't have to: like the gas station guy. Maybe, maybe not, but certainly not part of his primary mission. The kids fall in there, his "mission," recovery of the money and vengeance on everyone who earned it, was done at that point. Neighborhood during broad daylight, you can't kill everyone anyway. Plus he was injured, which complicated things.

The thing that gets me is I understand the coin toss with the old guy, because his death meant nothing to the mission, same as the kids.

But the girl's death WAS the mission. He would/should not have flipped a coin to see if the mission was going to be completed.
Link Posted: 7/14/2008 12:35:02 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 7/14/2008 12:35:31 PM EDT by Shane333]

Originally Posted By CITADELGRAD87:

Originally Posted By Bunnyassassin:
So why not kill the kids at the end... they saw him after the wreck... I still think that conscience played a part...


Because he didn't strike a deal with anyone that cost the kids their lives.

Two kinds of killing for him:

1. Have to, like the guy who took the money, his wife if he didn't cut a deal, guy with car, as he needed to ditch the cop car. It was clear, even if Moss gave him the money back, he was going to kill him anyway, it was part of the mission he was undertaking. He offered to take the money back and kill Moss, completing the mission, then let the girl go, but Moss said no. She then became part of the mission.

2. Doesn't have to: like the gas station guy. Maybe, maybe not, but certainly not part of his primary mission. The kids fall in there, his "mission," recovery of the money and vengeance on everyone who earned it, was done at that point. Neighborhood during broad daylight, you can't kill everyone anyway. Plus he was injured, which complicated things.

The thing that gets me is I understand the coin toss with the old guy, because his death meant nothing to the mission, same as the kids.

But the girl's death WAS the mission. He would/should not have flipped a coin to see if the mission was going to be completed.


Perhaps he wasn't a total "human terminator" after all. Everything you've typed makes sense. She wasn't directly part of "the mission". She was instead brought into it by association with Moss.
Link Posted: 7/14/2008 7:46:32 PM EDT
Since no one else has said it, yes, the book contained the offer. She eventually took it, and lost.
Link Posted: 7/19/2008 8:51:44 AM EDT
citadelgrad brings up a damn good point, and it never really occurred to me.

I really don't know. The best I can come up with, is that even though he's mission-driven, and gave his word, he knows there's really no good reason to kill her with Moss dead anyway. So maybe he offered her the coin-toss as a way of saying "well, I gave her a chance to get out of it." All I can come up with.
Link Posted: 7/20/2008 9:49:37 AM EDT
My assumption was that he was just playing a mind game with Moss's wife, trying to torment her before he killed her.

A friend of mine suggested that he did it for himself, not Moss's wife. Chigurh seems to think of himself as an agent of Fate and so he may have decided to flip the coin to confirm that he was, indeed, supposed to kill Moss's wife.

Link Posted: 7/20/2008 3:06:05 PM EDT
height=8
Originally Posted By XD_Fan:
height=8
Originally Posted By Shane333:
.... my guess is that the coin toss was a way of mentally/emotionally avoiding responsibility for killing someone. He can write-off the death as somehow "fated to happen" if it was the outcome of a coin toss.


Yep, he was a major nut job. His way of giving her a "chance".


+1, didnt he say something like "its the best i can do?" im pretty sure that's what he said when they were talking right before he killed her. She told him he didnt have to do it or something and his response was to give her a chance and flip the coin.
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