The Coen brothers

Ethan and Joel Coen

Selective filmography:

Burn After Reading (2008) – dark comedy and a wonderfully filmed execution. A suite of causes and effects complicated a la Coen.

No Country for Old Men (2007)

The Man Who Wasn’t There (2001) –  excellent black and white movie, where every shadow has a purpose, where the atmosphere of the 1940′ is completely recreated, where the close-ups tell stories themselves. A rich source for interpretations. Billy Bob Thornton is brilliant in the skin of a man who likes to be an observer of his own life, forced to act by a blind and ironic fate.

The Ladykillers (2004) – again an offbeat comedy, exceptional funny dialogues and situations, beautiful video editing and Tom Hanks in an unusual role. A movie resembling a joke for grown-ups, entertaining, with a few dead moments but overall an enjoyable result.

O Brother, Where Art Thou? (2000) – amazing soundtrack, a movie with rhythm and a story inspired in part by Homer’s The Odyssey. Set in the Deep South during the Depression. Fancy-talking Everett Ulysses McGill (George Clooney), dim-witted Delmar (Tim Blake Nelson), and easily-excitable Pete (John Turturro) start together an adventure with unexpected turns.

„Ulysses Everett McGill: What’d the devil give you for your soul, Tommy?
Tommy Johnson: Well, he taught me to play this here guitar real good.
Delmar O’Donnell: Oh son, for that you sold your everlasting soul?
Tommy Johnson: Well, I wasn’t usin’ it.”

        soundtrack:  „Didn’t Leave Nobody But the Baby” – Performed by Emmylou Harris, Alison Krauss, and Gillian Welch

The Big Lebowski (1998) – the classic portrait of „the Dude”

Fargo (1996) – noir thriller that treats crime as an ordinary act, in a humorous note.

Barton Fink (1991) – great characterization. The figure of a writer tormented by his deamons is depicted in deep colours.

Miller’s Crossing (1990) – witty dialogues.

As it seems, the Coen brothers love to accurately recreate the atmosphere of a particular place and time, mixing witty dialogues and dark-comical situations. Their characters are usually cartoonish, the rhythm is fast paced, the filming is exceptional. Their movies don’t appeal to the emotions, but to the intellect. Dark humour, irony, sparkling dialogues, straight forward images, no evident poetry or embelishment whatsoever. Hard to get used to them, but finally hard to forget them. My favourites were Miller’s Crossing and Barton Fink, but they just fell second after seeing The man who wasn’t there.


~ de AlinaT pe 27/09/2009.

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