On the web are five clips from the upcoming movie version of Cormac McCarthy's 2005 novel, No Country for Old Men. I'm cautious about films of books I like, but this looks good. And not just because the Coen Brothers are in charge.
In the handful of minutes are many nice touches, like the underplayed coin reveal, Chigurh avoiding the pool of blood, our hero glimpsed only from the back on the phone, or stalking away from the dying man's truck. The casting looks perfect for everyone, from the resentful girlfriend to the sheriff and the mad killer. All tension is ratched up quietly, carefully. Very McCarthy.
The novel is a fine crime work. It turns on the device of an innocent person finding something criminal, triggering violence and chaos. The prose is quiet, sparse, and forceful, compelling the reader to synchronically work out plot details and psychological depth. The tone is also elegaic, weeping for the passing of time, embedded in two war veterans' reflections.
The villain is perhaps my favorite touch, a someone deranged assassin. He reminds me of The Judge from McCarthy's earlier (and still my favorite) novel, Blood Meridian (1985), one of the great characters in modern American fiction.
(thank you, Steven Kaye)