Tuesday, November 3, 2009


Do you really need me to tell you to go and see the new Coen brothers movie A Serious Man (A+)? Does anyone need to tell you? I mean, c'mon, there really is no discussion. I'm not going to spoil the movie by describing all of the hilarious and misanthropic things on display in A Serious Man. I'm not going to over-praise the phenomenal performances from the entire cast. I'm not going to sit here and commend Roger Deakins for yet again gracing the cinema with some of the best, most engrossing cinematography of the year. I'm not going to talk about how the opening sequence of the film, filmed in Yiddish, is one of the most surreal things I've seen in a long time. And I'm not going to talk about the sure-to-be-divisive ending (and final shot) that's been floating in my memory banks for the last few weeks. A Serious Man is one of the best movies of the year, but then again, you already knew that. Or you at least knew that if you knew that the Coen brothers had a movie coming out this year. I mean...what's the deal with these guys? They seem incapable of fucking up. Everything these guys have ever done has been all of a piece, a total vision from start to finish, a work that feels continuous with everything that has come before it, and with everything after it. The Coen's have created a particular type of cinema, and they've developed a narrative and visual short-hand, not only with their frequent on and off screen counterparts, but with audiences, and most importantly, with viewers who enjoy re-watching their work over and over and over again. That's the best part of a Coen brothers film -- rewatchability. Once is enough for the likes of No Country for Old Men, Barton Fink, Fargo, Blood Simple, Miller's Crossing, and The Big Lebowski? No way. You can now add A Serious Man to the list of their absolute finest accomplishments.

1 comment:

Joel said...

The Coens should just have their own genre of film. Seriously. I mean, who makes "O Brother, Where Art Thou?" a brilliant, quirky, moving, hilarious dramedy and then turns around and makes a nihilistic crime thriller like "No Country for Old Men," yet makes them both within the same level of artistry and craft. Getting really technical, I can't think of anyone whose camera technique is so absolutely perfect. Maybe Scorsese, Spielberg, Fincher, and PT Anderson, but I would group the Coens with those two as the greatest American directors of the age. And then they team up with one of the best cinematographers EVER in the history of the craft in EVERY ONE of their movies, and it's like a whole new feast of one brilliant shot after another.

God damn, how do they do it, Nick?

And I still need to see this movie. I'll be renting at least "Burn After Reading" before seeing it (whenever that may be). I'll let you know.