Thursday, March 27, 2008

All the Pretty Horses

One man's mythic western might well be another man's telenovela, I had concluded on finishing Cormac McCarthy's most populist novel last year.

Of course most of what counts for literature in the book has been taken out, but Billy Bob Thornton has certainly added some visual poetry of his own. You are still left wondering whether this particular mix of genre-types is a good or a bad thing however.

I was right that Damon and Cruz would be mis-cast, Penélope in particular. (And yet she possibly hasn't looked lovelier in any of her English-language outings.) Their relationship (which had some off-screen substance as well) is oddly undramatic. That they will pair up and then split up is unengagingly predictable and there isn't enough of the extraordinary in Damon to capture the essence of John Grady Cole.

Thornton made a four hour movie and then had it cut back to under two. A good deal of McCarthy's signature riding around has been left out, but so too one senses have some crucial scenes, especially in the penitentiary and beyond. Thornton's Mexico never really seems Mexican enough either.


Anonymous said...

Thank you for your entirely irrelevent and innacurate commentary on the book. I was thoroughly annoyed by the lack of content and the further lack of intelligence.
Yours truly,
Professor E.H. Dahoon,
Harvard University English Dept.

Anonymous said...

I studied w/ Dahoon before I transferred to a better English dept. Glad to see he's still there--the kiddy-fiddling charges didn't stick, obviously.