Tuesday, May 20, 2008

no country for old men (spoiler alert)

I just finished the book No Country For Old Men by Cormac McCarthy. Even if I'm a little disappointed by the Coen Brothers doing a book adaptation, it is a perfect book for a movie, with stripped dialog and minimum stream of consciousness narrative -- showing what lies on the surface of the characters rather than their interior thoughts.

I'm in fact having a hard time deciding which is better. The casting seemed perfect although that is always hard to tell in hindsight. The movie's cinematography is more lush than the writing.

The differences between the book and movie are not great. Some things that happen are more clear from the book - in particular the point at which Moss gets killed and why. However, it is more clear in the book how the mexicans find Moss at that point, and it's clearer in the movie how Chigurh ends up wounded.

There are some edits with more significant impact on the finer points of the story arc... Probably the biggest difference is that the Sheriff's dilemma is spelled out when the Sheriff confesses a story of his WWII experience to his wheelchair-bound friend.

Chigurh also goes on at greater length with Wells at gunpoint.

Moss also picks up a hitch-hiking girl on fleeing Mexico. This is translated into the woman at the poolside in the movie. We miss perhaps a slightly wider view of Moss.

All in all, I have say they were decent edits. In some ways, they are both equally opaque. I'm still asking myself what it all means. Perhaps that is a topic for another post.



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