Of course, things don't go as planned, and the novel takes twist after twist which propels Hank, the narrator of the story, into deeper and deeper moral quagmires. With each choice he makes to protect their theft and his sure wealth, he adds new things he would take the fall for should they be discovered, and new things he must live with on his conscience.
While the plot is very similar eventwise to the movie, there are a few deviations -- and, strangely enough, they almost always seem to work in the movie's favour. I watched -- and absolutely loved -- the movie a few years ago, so I knew the basic plot and was pleased to see the similarities. I count the movie among the best pure "moral" movies ever made, where the underlying principle is just a dilemma about doing the right things. But there are things which were in the novel which make Hank's choice less sympathetic than in the movie. In the movie I felt that his choices were truly, as Sarah rationalizes, without choice at all, just outcomes of their initial choice to sit on the money, things that had to follow. He never does anything which is premeditated and malicious.Read more ›
The movie and book are the same in the way that the plan initially begins to fail. Hank and Jacob encounter the same problems with Dwight Pederson, Lou and his girlfriend Nancy. From there, the movie and book take their respective audiences down different paths that I will not reveal.
I liked the movie's path better, because I could better understand and appreciate Hank's actions in the movie. He comes off as less heartless, and it is easier to see his transformation from a good person to a man who has done completely evil things. Hank is far more ruthless and calculating in the book, and this is harder to accept in light of his beginnings as a normal, good man. It's hard to discuss the differences between the two media without giving too much away.
However, I cannot say that I was at all disappointed in the book. It kept me completely riveted. For the most part, the characters were completely realistic and simply entangled in an awful mess that they feel powerless to free themselves from. After finishing the book, the enormity of the character's losses took my breath away. I was left wondering whether, even if everything had gone according to the original plan, any of the characters would have been any happier than they had been prior to finding the money.
And it does. Read more