Wednesday, May 1, 2013

BOOK VS MOVIE: No Country for Old Men

For every action, there's an equal and opposite reaction. This is something taught in physics, but it can be applied to life in general. This is something shown every now and again in fiction.

One such work is No Country for Old Men. The story begins when the money of a drug deal gone bad gets stolen by an outsider. His actions get him noticed not just by the police but also by a very violent hitman. (There are some things you should always leave alone. One of them is a suitcase full of money.)

Cormac McCarthy, as I learned from The Road, isn't into stories that are the slightest bit uplifting. No Country for Old Men only confirms that fact. Thanks to its bleak dialogue and even bleaker descriptions, the novel shows that all hope is lost. (Fortunately, it's not as depressingly bleak as The Road, but it's twice as violent.)

Joel and Ethan Coen's film keeps the bloody nature of McCarthy's novel very much alive. (Hey, they are the guys who made Fargo after all.) The performances from Josh Brolin, Javier Bardem and Tommy Lee Jones certainly add to it as well. (Kelly Macdonald also deserves a mention.) And, of course, Roger Deakins' cinematography is gorgeous.

Both the novel and the film have their fair share of grisly violence. But the distinctions between the styles are very noticeable. (McCarthy is more straightforward whereas the Coens linger over the gory details.) And it's the difference in styles that made me choose the victor of the two.

What's worth checking out?: The book.


  1. The first time I picked up the book...I might have been 16 or 17? I couldn't stick with it, but I've always wanted to try and read it again *adds to ever growing reading list*

  2. I've passed on the book so far because all I've heard from people is that the Coens adapted it almost word-for-word, but your recommendation for the book makes me think it might be worth a look.

  3. I completely forgot this was based on a book. I think this is something I'd like to read eventually.

  4. I really liked the book but this is one of those instances where I thought the movie was better. It is probably my favorite movie of the last decade.


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