I twice viewed No Country for Old Men in the theater, and on both occasions after the final image of Tommy Lee Jones had cut to black, there were audible exclamations from the patrons around me: “That’s it?” “What happened?” This twelfth film by Joel and Ethan Coen evoked the same response that the brothers’ films have been eliciting for over two decades: stunned silence, confusion, disappointment, and perhaps even hostility or disgust from viewers accustomed to tidily packaged cinematic narratives, but drawn to a Coen film by a clever trailer or a favorite actor. The public regularly weighs in on Coen films on blogs, around water coolers, and over post-viewing dinner or drinks; academia, however, has not been as enthusiastic. Scholarly criticism of the Coens has been relatively scant despite the multiple awards and nominations earned by their films, although more recently the Coens have become subject to increasing critical attention.
In No Country for Old Men: From Novel to Film, scholars offer varied approaches to both the novel and the award-winning film. Beginning with several essays dedicated entirely to the novel and its place within the McCarthy canon, the anthology offers subsequent essays focusing on the film, the adaptation process, and the Coen Brothers more broadly. The book also features an interview with the Coen brothers' long-time cinematographer Roger Deakins. This entertaining and enriching book for readers interested in the Coen Brothers' films and in McCarthy's fiction is an important contribution to both Literature and Film Studies.