Saturday, March 29, 2008

No Country for Old Men: Alien Terrain

I should have known. The book the movie is based upon was written by Cormac McCarthy. Years ago, a friend whose taste I respect gave me one of his books. After reading near a thirty pages, nothing much had happened. It was about a young man in the wilderness, and a young man in the wilderness, and a young man in the wilderness. I put it aside, which is very unusual for me. There are few books I don't finish. I can name them. Let's see. About halfway through Fielding's Tom Jones, I stopped reading every other chapter, the ones with his opinions on the nature of life or something. I never read, I think it was 32, in Moby Dick. And I threw aside Patricia Cornwell's Isle of Dogs. Anyway, at the time, I thought it was a man thing.

The same thing that happened with the earlier book was at play in the movie. I have no doubt the Coen brother's captured the quality of the original. There is the pregnant, uncomfortable nothingness. The story really centers on two characters I couldn't care less about in a dismal, dusty landscape. The only character I cared about, played by Tommy Lee Jones, served as a comma. The ending is beyond me. When the credits came on, my response was "what?"

Yet there was all this hoopla about it. It must be a man thing.

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