josh lewis’s review published on Letterboxd:
coen's have always been interested in the contradictory modes of living presented here: one of contentment and patience and everyday, routine warmth vs. one of farcical greed and impulsiveness gone violently wrong. in terms of writing and performances this is definitely one of their best realizations of it, a gruesome neo-noir of humorous mundanity and miscommunication that has these two modes deliberately and fatalistically crash into one another in narrative and style, creating this tone that is simultaneously sadistic, funny, mournful and ultimately kind of humane.
i've probably watched this movie 5 or 6 times at home and every time it's always just been just shy of the upper tier of their filmography for me because despite being shot by deakins it just never had the same lushness to me as something like Barton Fink, there was a kind of flat/bland naturalism about it either in transfer or color correction (which i previously interpreted as intentional vision of the setting), i'm not sure what. this changed for me last night watching it on 35mm. looked and felt very different, giving the snowy daytime imagery more of this slicker, chillier almost smalltown antique postcard quality (disrupted of course by the bursts of ridiculous carnage) and the darker sequences like that highway confrontation this more stylized, shadowy contrast of void-like existentialism. can't describe how nice it feels to be genuinely kind of blown away by something you previously thought you were so familiar with.