No Country for Old Men (2007 Film)

The Bounds of Sheriff Bell's Identity: Psychic Walls in No Country for Old Men College

The high red cliffs jut out against a tableau of clear sky so blue it is almost violent. Below, a terracotta flat dotted with thickets of small verdant things, the cactuses looming like idols in their midst. When the sun sets, it does so in long, technicolor slashes, blushing everything in lavender and grapefruit light. This is the landscape of the US-Mexico border, and the landscape of the Coen brothers’ film No Country for Old Men. Both the landscape and the film are equal parts beautiful and brutal. And both can tell us something about the modern condition of America. In No Country for Old Men, Sheriff Ed Tom Bell is suffering from a breakdown of his national identity—likely very important to him as a police officer—due to globalization, a phenomenon Wendy Brown describes in two chapters of her book Walled States, Waning Sovereignty.

Chapter one of Bell's work, a segment entitled “Walled States, Waning Sovereignty,” is an examination of how globalization and neoliberalism have weakened state sovereignty. According to Brown, the transfer of power from states to corporations and capital interests has led to “tensions between national interests and the global market, hence between the nation and the state, and between the...

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