a truth you could see if only you had faith.
There's only one thing stranger than what's going on inside his head. What's going on outside.
A renowned New York playwright is enticed to California to write for the movies and discovers the hellish truth of Hollywood.
If the Coen Brothers' "Inside Llewyn Davis" is a portrait of the artist as eternal wanderer, then their "Barton Fink" is a portrait of the artist as eternally distracted. It is, that is, until it becomes an indictment of soulless, brainless Hollywood product that then turns turns into a Faustian Los Angeles-is-hell allegory before returning to its meditation on the artist. To be sure, "Barton Fink" has a lot on its narrative plate. Although that mix of ideas, metaphors, symbols, and plot threads can be a little much, the film is an engrossing and inspired piece of work.
Barton Fink is a New York playwright who heeds the siren song of movie-writing and moves to Hollywood. "Barton Fink" is his…
Barton Fink is packed full of symbolism, allegory, and open-ended questions. About one man's struggles as a screenwriter in Hollywood, the film is at once realism and surrealism; comedy and tragedy. Willing you to discern meaning behind images and lines, Joel and Ethan Coen tease the viewer with a multitude of possible interpretations of their story and its characters. Littered with references to other films, novels, and poems, the viewing experience is overwhelming but rewarding.
With exhilarating performances from John Turturro, John Goodman, Michael Lerner, and Judy Davis, this is very much a character driven piece. Exploring the "life of the mind" from different angles, we are introduced to a variety of characters, each with their own issues and secrets.…
"You're just a tourist with a typewriter. I live here."
Easy Barton Fink primer:
A self-absorbed NYC playwright lauds the virtue of the common man all while remaining deaf to others; his lack of empathy lands him in a Hollywood hell.
With hints of an allegory about US isolationist policies (and some nasty business with fluids).
Ingeniously written and directed by the Coen Brothers, Barton Fink is set in 1941, initially in New York. It follows the playwright who is filled with social concerns, Barton Fink, who was a big hit on Broadway and immediately calls the attention of Tinseltown. Hired by Hollywood to write a wrestling film, Barton swaps the pollution of the city for the stardom of the movies.
When Federico Fellini had no idea on what to do with his next film, he created 8½, which portrayed an out-of-ideas director who didn't know what to do with his next film. When the Coen Brothers had no idea on what to do with their next film, they created Barton Fink, which portrays an out-of-ideas…
It has been almost twenty years since I saw Barton Fink. Back then in my early twenties I obviously missed something. I seem to remember it leaving me a little muddled and confused, and with this film coming fairly soon after my favorite Coen's film, Miller's Crossing, I was a little underwhelmed. I'd like to think my tastes have matured a bit since then and as I listed my Coen Brothers ranking last night, I was surprised at the reaction to my low rating for this. Rewatches especially after a long time can be beneficial, so imagine my surprise when I awoke after night-shift to find this just starting on Sky Movies.
While still not as appreciated as Miller's Crossing…
Being a big fan of most of the Coen Brothers films I've seen, I decided it's time I get on finishing their canon. Barton Fink along with Intolerable Cruelty are the last two I needed to see. I've put off the latter due to word of mouth stating it's probably their worst film along with The Ladykillers, the only film of theirs I've seen that I didn't at least like. When it comes to this film I was just waiting until I had access to it, and that access finally came in the form of Netflix streaming. Barton Fink is trademark Coens. Dark humor, satire, great performances, and it this case a pretty twisted and unsettling narrative.
Renowned New York…
This review may contain spoilers. I can handle the truth.
This is the strangest and most surreal movie directed by the Coen brothers. On a first watch one will only pay attention to the plot itself and therefore the film becomes pretty weird in a bad way. On a second watch it is much more rewarding as the symbols become clearer. However, on a third watch I actually managed to make sense of all this and that is where I am now. Barton Fink is a masterpiece!
Both Joel & Ethan Coen have stated multiple times that people are "overthinking" when trying to analyze this film. The bugs, the sound design, the gore, the black & white wrestling movie, the characters, the writing, the bathroom, the hotel, there's simply a lot to…
Watched in anticipation of Hail, Ceasar!, I think it is the best of the Coen Brothers films that I have seen, and a great entry in the films-about-Hollywood genre. It is, most of all, a film about writing, and the way that writers connect and disconnect from the world they live in, which is the substance of their art. Turturo and Goodman are brilliant, exemplars of their art, and it is, perhaps, an essential subtext that we think about the relationship between the actor and the writer as we watch these guys playing the Coens' words.
So far, all of the features I've watched this month have been Coen Brothers movies. I'm half tempted to dedicate the entire month to watching (and re-watching) the rest of their filmography, but there's other stuff I want to get to as well.
In working through my gaps in their filmography, their wide range has become even more apparent to me. I started with the dark dramedy of A Serious Man , which proved to be their most philosophical and human work (in my opinion). Burn After Reading and Hail, Caesar! show their wacky humor, although BAR goes to some really dark places too. Miller's Crossing took their common themes and put them into a gritty mob story. Then came…
John Goodman's finest hour.
Quite incredible. I have a feeling I'm only going to like it more with each rewatch. Barton's slow mental and creative deterioration and the common dilemma of high art vs. low (commercial) art is very interesting. Love it!
Watched this with some new people again, which is always a great experience. It's definitely timely to see this so soon after Hail, Caesar, which I think kind of has a similar bleak outlook on life, though it gets into more detail on the actual running of the studio. Almost every line that John Goodman speaks in this movie means something else... it just takes two or three viewings to really get that. That's true about a lot of things in this movie: the dense (perhaps indulgent) allusions, the claustrophobic and eerie cinematography, everything about this movie is a feast for the observant viewer.
I love both John Turturro and John Goodman. I saw this movie years ago, but recently I have been talking to three different writers in my life, so I decided to re-watch it.
Synopsis (not mine): In 1941, New York intellectual playwright Barton Fink comes to Hollywood to write a Wallace Beery wrestling picture. Staying in the eerie Hotel Earle, Barton develops severe writer's block. His neighbor, jovial insurance salesman Charlie Meadows, tries to help, but Barton continues to struggle as a bizarre sequence of events distracts him even further from his task.
Steve Buscemi as Chet makes as good an entrance as I have ever seen near the beginning of the film, coming out of a trap door in…
Bumping up a half-star on rewatch. Barton Fink doesn't speak to me like some of the other Coens' work (which is odd, considering that it centers around writing and the movies), but it's clever and funny and surreal and weird, which is pretty much catnip for me. John Goodman is wonderfully passive-aggressive before his more expected climactic meltdown, and John Turturro is hilarious as the navel-gazing Barton Fink.
Barton Fink is weird. Even for The Coen Brothers' usual fare, it's about as bizarre as it gets, switching narrative genres at the touch of a hat to the point where things can get seemingly alienating. There are points where the oddities of The Coens' fourth feature loses me in its twist and turns, but on this rewatch there seemed to be a bit more of a cohesive thread. Mainly, the hubris of a writer that is determined to put himself on the level of the common man. The titular Barton (played with an appropriate mix of quiet desperation and raging inflated ego by John Turturro) is a man trying to write for Hollywood pictures in the 1940s, asked to…
More Info to come
Recently, I've become aware that certain films are able to transcend the medium by being completely self-assured in their atmospheres…