Scene Comparison: The Coin Toss
The award winning film, No Country for Old Men, adapted from Cormac McCarthy’s 2007 novel, is a riveting tale of a brutal chain of events related to money, murder, and drugs, which rolls through West Texas in the 1980’s. Told through the perspective of the stories three main characters – a soulless killer, an old time sheriff, and an experienced country boy – both the novel and the film keep the audience anxiously waiting for the next gun fight or brutal killing. Amazingly, the film’s adaptation, directed by brothers Ethan and Joel Coens, manages to capture the themes and overall essences of the novel by maintaining all distinguishing mannerisms and dispositions of the characters; while also keeping the films dialogue almost a direct reflection of the novel. Essentially, “the Coens make a great film…because they remain true to a great book” (Edwards 61). Although many of the scenes throughout the film deserve recognizing for their brilliant visual representation of the novel, one of the more disturbing scenes and arguably the best scene adaptation, is Antoine Chigurh’s conversation with the Texaco gas station owner and the life-or-death coin toss. In both the film and the novel, the scene serves the same purpose of developing Chigurh’s character and introducing the significance of the coin. Like many of the scenes the Coens treat the pages in the novel as the script (Bayless 8); however, they most definitely add subtle, genius improvements to the scene, in addition to using methodically thought out techniques to heightening the overall uncomfortableness and escalating discomfort felt by the audience, throughout the characters exchange.
Throughout much of the film, the dialogue has been taken directly from the McCarthy’s writing and does not deviate from the author’s desired depiction of the tension and uncomfortableness of the exchange between Chigurh and the inconspicuous gas station attendant. Allowing for enough screen...
Cited: Bayless, Ryan S., and Allen H. Redmon. “’Just call it’: Identifying Competing Narratives In The Coens’ No Country For Old Men.” Literature-Film Quarterly 1 (2013): 6-13. Web. 18 Nov. 2013.
Bruns, John. “The Map Is Not The Country: Cartography In Joel and Ethan Coen’s No Country For Old Men.” Film Criticism 2 (2011): 2-11. Web. 15 Nov. 2013.
Edwards, Kim. “Bad Luck In Threes: Coin Tosses And Death Triangles In ‘No Country For Old Men’.” Screen Education 59 (n.d): 139-153. Web. 18 Nov. 2013.
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