Sometimes, when you read a book, you can’t help but picture the story in your head, almost as if it were a movie. And sometimes, you get the feeling that a book was pretty much written so that it could eventually become a movie. That’s not a knock against the writers who produce books like that really. I just feel like some books are written so that they can someday be watched instead of read.
And I fell like The Sisters Brothers is one of those books.
So evocative of a specific time and place in our world, I could picture every scene up on the big screen.
And then, I saw this in the acknowledgements page:
And from then on, I pretty much knew who would be starring in the movie version playing Eli Sisters in my brain. This guy:
Who better to play a killer with a potential heart of gold? (And sure, go ahead, if Will Ferrell wants to play Charlie, why not?). ***
Eli and Charlie Sisters are a pair or notorious assassins during the age of the California Gold Rush. Their primary employer is a horrible, incredibly wealthy criminal simply known as The Commodore. The Commodore hires Charlie (and Eli, by default) to ride down to California from Oregon City, find a prospector named Hermann Warm, take his “formula,” and kill him. And this is the story of their journey to find and kill that man.
Nothing on their journey goes as expected. Eli gets sick. Charlie gets drunk. They get in fights. They kill everyone that gets in their way. And Eli starts to think about his life and what’s next for him. He thinks that maybe this will be the last job for him, and that he might like to open up a mercantile in a quiet town somewhere, with a good woman at his side. Eli starts to worry about being too fat, too angry, too controlled by his brother. And Charlie constantly tells him that he’s never going to be a leader, and that the Commodore only keeps him on the payroll as a courtesy to Charlie. That maybe Charlie will go out and find himself another partner that’s easier to work with. One that doesn’t give him a hard time about his drinking or his attitude.
Eventually, once the brothers reach San Francisco, where Hermann Warm is supposed to be, the story changes from a classic men-for-hire doing what they were hired to do, to a story about taking a chance to change your life for the better and getting revenge on the people who did you wrong.
I liked the story. I liked Eli as a character, even though he really wasn’t a very good man. I liked that he always wanted to brush his teeth or lose a few pounds — it made him very human. But I was also bored by the story. I couldn’t read more than a chapter at a time. It just wasn’t all that compelling.
But as a movie? Shot like a Coen Brothers western? I’d be all over that.
***OK. So I just looked on IMDB and it seems that John C Reilly is going to play Charlie and Joaquin Phoenix is supposed to be Eli. WTF? I’m not down with that.