No Country For Old Men

by Mike Shea on 27 April 2008

I listened to the Cormac McCarthy audiobook of No Country about three years ago on a recommendation by Stephen King. When I heard the movie came out and when the reviews all came back positive, I had a feeling they had done what is right and stuck to the same story of the book. After watching it this afternoon I am happy to say that they stuck to it perfectly.

is a case study in how to write a good story. There is a single seed that begins the story and a hand full of very powerful and very deep characters that revolve around the seed. They crack against each other and bump around the bumpers like balls in a pool table. There is no guidance for how the story goes and no awful hollywood plotting or stereotyping. Never once did they say "we have to do X because that is what the audience expects".

Michelle and I watched "30 Days of Night" a couple of nights back. It was good and stuck pretty close to the comic book except for a few parts. One of these parts was a totally contrived plot where the sheriff in this Alaskan town is currently in the process of breaking up with his hot fire marshall wife. She's this little perfect blonde clear-skinned 20something with nauseating dialog regarding how fire marshals carry pistols and "I should never have left you" when shit goes south. In the comic they were a middle aged couple with no friction and the story followed the vampires. Somewhere in the translation, some Hollywood jackass decided that the story needed a romantic sub-plot to get the women accepting a movie where a child vampire tears the throat out of someone and another Alaskan is ground up in a huge shredding machine called the "Muffin Grinder". Give me a break.

, the popularity, and the critical reviews should show the Hollywood cardboard people that a good story is a good story and needs not a single added or subtracted element to make it palatable for a wide audience.

The best way to describe a movie like No Country is to call it a movie of chance. The story resides on chance as does the path of the characters. It is the best movie I've seen this year.