The Filmed McCarthy Novels, So Far

Jim Welsh


This anthology concerns the three Cormac McCarthy novels that have been adapted to cinema so far—All the Pretty Horses, No Country for Old Men, The Road. Overall, the focus is on McCarthy the writer, front and center, as it should be as far as I’m concerned. For how important are the films? Billy Bob Thornton and all of his cast and crew seem to agree that the film of All the Pretty Horses should have been longer to achieve its goals as an adaptation. See Peter Josyph’s Acting McCarthy for amplitude on that point. John Hillcoat’s The Road was an admirable attempt to unfilm the unfilmable; that was the end of The Road at the box office. Only the zany-philosophical Coens were able to create a McCarthy hit with No Country for Old Men. But the Spurgeon book’s discussion of that splendid film has mainly to do with the question of Evil in the world, the tendency to avoid it if possible, and the odd motivation of (especially) Anton Chigurh and Sheriff Ed Tom Bell. Of course. What drives the narrative, anyway?

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