Killings vs. in the Bedroom
Dubus’ written version starts out in the middle at Frank’s funeral and the movie starts the story from the beginning with Frank and his lover Mary Ann (Natalie) running in a field. The film gives you more of a sense of the characters, their emotions, and the relationships they share with one another, while the written story gives you the view from Matt’s perspective only. The movie showed a lot more of the background details such as: the father-son bond between Matt and Frank, and the loving bond between Frank and Mary Ann.
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The story proceeded to show more of Matt’s feelings and internal thoughts on a different level then the film, which displayed very little interaction between him and his son in their lifetime. “It seemed to Matt that from the time Mary Ann called weeping to tell him until now, a Saturday night in september, sitting in the car with Willis, parked beside Strout’s car, waiting for the bar to close, that he had not so much moved through his life as wandered through it, his spirit like a dazed body bumping into furniture and corners. He had always been a fearful father; when his children were young. t the start of each summer he though of them drowning in a pond or the sea, and he was relieved when he came home in the evening and they were there; usually that relief was his only acknowledgment of his fear, which he never spoke of , and which he controlled within his heart” (100). Another difference that made the movie more personal was by not having Frank’s older brother figure that we read about in the story at the funeral. The movie showed the viewer the connection that they had as a father and a son that the story didn’t portray.
Another difference that made the film more enjoyable was the hatred that was shown for Strout. The story didn’t give enough justice for how much the Fowler family really resented him. The moment in the movie when Ruth lays her eyes on him in the convenient store foreshadows the breakdown she had and the isolation she experienced. Ruth knowing that he is a free man that killed her son is something she couldn’t live with under any circumstances. The relationship that Mary Ann’s sons had with Frank in the movie was much stronger than in the book. This partly labels Frank as a hero and makes Strout look like even more of a bad person.
In my opinion, One of the best scenes in the movie was when one of the boys that Frank and Matt took fishing rode his bike down to the docks to see Matt and they just stared at each other with a burning look. This scene wasn’t talked about in the story, however it gave you a view of the actual killing scene. In the book, Strout shot Frank in front of his two sons. “Richard Strout shot Frank in front of the boys. They were sitting on the living room floor watching television, Frank sitting on the couch, and Mary Ann just returning from the kitchen with a tray of Sandwiches.
Strout came in the front door and shot Frank twice in the chest and once in the face with a 9 mm automatic. Then he looked at the boys and Mary Ann, and went home to wait for the police” (100). He shot him in rage without any hesitation. This proves to the reader how much of a terrible, heartless person that he was, but the movie was not able to display such rage. The movie, however, does a great job of telling a clear story from start to finish without interruptions. It made the makeup of the story so much more powerful.
This gives the reader time to establish Frank as the main character that he is. Throughout the story, whether it be the written version or the movie, you really began to understand the love that has not only been lost, but the love that was left behind as the story comes to an end. Overall, love was a major theme in both of these stories, no matter how you look at it. Frank’s life was over much earlier than expected because of love and envy. In the end, Strout was killed because of the love that will never be forgotten between a father and son, and even between a husband and wife.
A strong meaning was conveyed when Matt was unsure about not being able to be alone with Strout for that long of a time. He couldn’t stand the thought of being so close to this man that he had so much hatred for. Both of the killing scenes were portrayed in different ways. In my opinion, Matt killed Strout better in the movie than in the book. In the movie, Strout wasn’t trying to escape when Matt shot him. In the story he tried to run away from Matt. This gave Matt more of a justification for killing him. This showed the amount of hatred he had towards Strout, and even more of the endless love he had for his son.