Tuesday, February 26, 2008

No Country for Old Men

Good movie.

Great book.

Isn't that the way it usually goes? The movie is never as good as the book. That's the way it is for me, at least.

I think it's for two reasons. First, the nature of my brain. I love to read and imagine my personal idea of the characters and the place. Once it's on the screen, it's not yours.

And I think the second reason is the nature of books vs. film. Books can do certain things that film can't. And vice versa. Books let your imagination work. Like I just said before. Film can show things on a big wide screen with sound coming out of surround-sound that, if your brain actually did work like that would scare the bejesus out of you.

But the thing about the movie, it didn't quite nail the actual story. And the movie left out two key characters, the sheriff and the little run-a-way Llewlyn picks up and rides around with and with whom he eventually gets killed.

Wait a minute, you say. The sheriff was in the movie. Yeah, but in the book, the reader is inside the mind of the sheriff the whole time. So much of the character was missing he might as well have not been there. That opening monologue of the sheriff's is just about the sheriff through the whole book. And old Tommy Lee didn't quite get this character right. He was still doing that guy from Men in Black. The sheriff wasn't that stoic, nor was he that condescending to his deputy.

Of course, the deputy, and Carla Jean's mother were both reduced to comic relief, which really stuck out in the movie.

And ole Llewlyn and Carla Jean were cleaned up a bit for the movie. In the book, they're real trailer trash, and that's what makes them so appealing. They are so in love (muskrat love) and that Llewlyn could get as far as he could against Chigurh sets him apart. He's really the good guy.

And Javier Bardem nailed Chigurh. No doubt, he deserved the Oscar.

Of course, God is in the details. Great character portrayals by Gene Jones as the gas station attendant, Kathy Larkin as the trailer park manager, and Richard Jackson as the chicken farmer.

So, as the Asians say, same/same but different.

1 comment:

patrick said...

no country for old men is unassumingly clever…

dumbfounding form a moral angle, but that can be a good thing.

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