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Kino Korner November 14, 2007
Breaking News! Coen Brothers Are Kinda Talented, Say Critics
No Country For Old Critics By Eileen Jones Browse author Email
Page 3 of 3

When I got out of high school I was still sixteen and I got a job at Wal-Mart. I didn’t know what else to do. We needed the money. What little it was. Anyway, the night before I went down there I had this dream. Or it was like a dream. I think I was still about half awake. But it come to me in this dream or whatever it was that if I went down there that he would find me. At the Wal-Mart. I didn’t know who he was or what his name was or what he looked like. I just knew that I’d know him when I seen him. I kept a calendar and marked the days. Like when you’re in jail. I mean I ain’t never been in jail but like you would probably…(McCarthy, 131-2).

I won’t go on, but it does. On and on. She seen Llewellyn Moss and told him where sportin goods was at and there was not no question in her mind and blah blah blah.

In the film, the only remark Carla Jean makes about her workplace is this one: “I’m used to lotsa things, I work at Wal-Mart.” Feel grateful for the mature artistry of the Coens yet? I know I do.

But the Coens don’t just cut judiciously, they add bits that are nowhere to be found in the novel that give a shot of adrenaline to whole sequences originated by McCarthy. I’ll tip you off to just two: when you see the movie, note that pit bull swimming downstream after Llewellyn Moss, with that terrifying pointy-eared block head steady above the water line as it churns toward him. Puts your heart right in your throat, and it’s not in the book. Also pay attention to the admittedly great scene taken from the book, featuring battered Llewellyn Moss crossing the footbridge to Mexico, meeting the drunken teenagers, and haggling with them for one of their coats. That beer one of the kids is carrying that Moss also demands at the end? That’s a pure Coen invention, and it’s genius.

Let’s get out priorities straight, and put it this way: Cormac McCarthy wrote a book good enough to be adapted by the Coen Brothers at the top of their game.

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