Customer Reviews


35 Reviews
5 star:
 (20)
4 star:
 (10)
3 star:
 (2)
2 star:
 (2)
1 star:
 (1)
 
 
 
 
 
Average Customer Review
Share your thoughts with other customers
Create your own review
 
 

The most helpful favourable review
The most helpful critical review


14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars excellent... gets better with each viewing.
Watching "Barton Fink" will be a torture if you don't like Coen Bros and their unique style of filmmaking: ironic, surrealistic and allegorical. Winner of 3 prizes at Cannes including the Palme D'or in 1991, Barton Fink is no exception at all, even it is the most eccentric and enigmatic work in their filmography. Here, don't expect "Big Lebowski" or "O' Brother Where Art...
Published on 8 Aug 2007 by Serkan Silahsor

versus
8 of 15 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars For postmodernists and film critics only.
Beautifully made, superb acting, great characters, but a real disappointment for anyone who likes a story with an ending. Not a happy ending, but any ending. "Barton Fink" has a beginning and a middle and winds up into a denouement that had me intrigrued: "how *will* they end it?" It's the same feeling I get when watching a great whodunnit - an awe at the writer's ability...
Published on 18 Nov 2009 by Petrolhead


‹ Previous | 1 2 3 4 | Next ›
Most Helpful First | Newest First

14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars excellent... gets better with each viewing., 8 Aug 2007
By 
This review is from: Barton Fink [DVD] (DVD)
Watching "Barton Fink" will be a torture if you don't like Coen Bros and their unique style of filmmaking: ironic, surrealistic and allegorical. Winner of 3 prizes at Cannes including the Palme D'or in 1991, Barton Fink is no exception at all, even it is the most eccentric and enigmatic work in their filmography. Here, don't expect "Big Lebowski" or "O' Brother Where Art Thou" type of dark comedy or "Blood Simple" or "Fargo" type of thriller. This is PROFOUND and UNUSUAL kinda movie. Challenging all available genres and defying a simple categorization, it is almost a comedy, almost a thriller, almost a horror, almost nothing...

Writing a script about a screenwriter by taking a satiric look at Hollywood seems a great Coenistic idea, just like their other brilliance, "Hudsucker Proxy". Set in early 1940s, the story centers around a commie writer's living Hell on Earth after being paralyzed by writer's block in a bizarre hotel room in California. He's a sinner and must be punished, because he let down the "common man". Instead of staying in NY and assisting the Theatre, he moved to Hollywood in order to make a buck by writing clichéd screenplays for B-grade wrestling flicks for greedy and blustery Hollywood hotshots. Yes, he's a sinner and must be condemned to Hell, Hotel Earle.

The film tries to find its own answer to this question: does any creative, non-commercial art like literature or drama provide individual and/or societal enlightenment, or does it produce entanglement ultimately leading to solipsism, egocentricity and self-absorption?

By doing this, the movie does a creative and unique study of human psyche, utilizing a rich array of symbols and metaphors we see nearly all Coen films: Oppressively hot atmosphere all along; Hotel Earle itself, wallpaper sweating off the wall, leaving a viscous ooze in its wake; endless, cavernous hallways; ventilators; cadaverous and pock-marked elevator man; mosquito bites; never opened mysterious box; hundreds of shoes put outside the doors in expectation of free shine offered by hotel; lots of oddballs, perfect dialogue and subtle humor. Highly recommended...
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Enjoyable Early Coen Brothers, 8 Oct 2006
This review is from: Barton Fink [DVD] (DVD)
Barton Fink, the Coen Brothers' fourth film, won the Best Director and Golden Palm awards at the 1991 Cannes Film Festival, as well as the Best Actor award for John Turturro. With an engaging script, great character performances by, among others, Turturro and Goodman, Barton Fink is funny and gripping in equal measure. Ethan Coen mused in an interview that this was "a buddy movie for the 1990s" [see [...] but, like other films made by the Coen Brothers, Barton Fink cannot be neatly categorised and is a film of stark contrasts. Violent, yet humorous, this is a psycho-drama with a host of amusing and intriguing characters.

Barton Fink (Turturro) is a serious and critically-acclaimed playwright in 1940s New York. Having come to the attention of a Hollywood movie mogul, he is lured to Los Angeles to write for the movies. Finding himself contracted to write a "wrestling" film, Fink is tormented by writer's block and seeks help from another writer's secretary (Judy Davis). Lodged in the eerie Hotel Earle, with its dim lighting, peeling wallpaper and eccentric plumbing system, Fink also encounters his neighbour, insurance-seller Charlie Meadows (Goodman). Despite passionately espousing the virtues of theatre for and about "the common man", Fink's lack of interest in his neighbour's own stories about working life has disturbing consequences. It is the heightened drama in Fink's own life that finally gives him the impetus he needs to write again.

It is the Coen Brothers' characteristic wry, ironic sense of humour and quirky style, together with Turturro's intense brooding performance as Fink often captured in long takes and periods of silence, which makes watching this film a thoroughly enjoyable experience.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A wrestling picture..., 22 Aug 2007
By 
S J Buck (Kent, UK) - See all my reviews
(TOP 500 REVIEWER)    (REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Barton Fink [DVD] (DVD)
This marvellous surreal movie from the Coen brothers centers around Barton Fink (John Turturro), a successful New York playwright who is lured to Hollywood with the prospect of big money and stardom. On arrival though he gets writers block and is unable to produce the screenplay for the wrestling picture that Jack Lipnick requires.

Lipnick as played by Michael Lerber is the classic studio boss taken to the extreme. Both terrifying in his power and very funny. A truly mesmerising performance by Lerner. However the cast are all excellent. John Mahoney is also great as W.P. Mayhew a famous Hollywood writer that Barton looks to for help. As it turns out he is a roaring drunk and his wife actually does most of the writing. The scenes involving Mayhew are hilarious. A lot of the time he is not even in shot but you can hear him screaming in the background (for example "Honey! Where's my honey?") as Barton tries to arrange a meeting with him through his wife.

And then there is John Goodman. He plays Charlie Meadows ostensibly an insurance salesman staying in a room near Barton in the same hotel. However Meadows is not what he seems, but I'll leave it up to you to decide what he really is..... Goodman as he was in The Big Lebowski is in scene stealing form.

So this is a typical Coen brothers movie, very funny in places, very weird in places, and overall superb.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Another Coen's classic., 4 Feb 2003
By 
Jason Parkes "We're all Frankies'" (Worcester, UK) - See all my reviews
(No. 1 Hall OF FAME REVIEWER)   
This review is from: Barton Fink [VHS] [1991] (VHS Tape)
I don't think the Coen's have made a bad film- even their lost work with Sam Raimi, 1985's Crimewave has some positive points. Some of their film might depend on the mood of the viewer- works that are maybe too quirky such as The Big Lebowski & The Hudsucker Proxy may not be as dependable as the more 'serious' works such as Fargo & Miller's Crossing (personally I'm more of a Lebowski man...). But this 1991 film manages to bridge the gap between the absurd and the serious...
This won several major awards, such as an unprecedented three awards at Cannes- so I can't see how this is 'undervalued'- a tag which is more suited to The Hudsucker Proxy or Lebowksi. Coen's regular John Turturro is the eponymous hero- a writer not dissimilar to Clifford Odets (Waiting for Lefty), who has a romanticised theory of the working classes, which was in vogue in the 30's/40s, pre-McCarthy. He is offered the chance to go & write scripts in Hollywood- making one think of such luminaries as Raymond Chandler, William Faulkner & Nathaniel West, who all did the same...
Fink checks into a hotel, populated by the seemingly unsleeping Chet (Steve Buscemi), mosquitos, thin walls, falling wallpaper & a bizarre insurance salesman (John Goodman). He also enters the equally absurd world of Hollywood- where he is commisioned to write a wrestling flick; it is here he begins to experience writer's block. A guy from the studio suggests he talk to another writer, enter John Mahoney as a soused scribe & his 'secretary', Judy Davis. Then Fink wakes up to the best 'corpse in a bed'-scene since The Godfather and then some cops appear, asking about headless corpses & if Fink knows anything about it...
This is a very Beckettian piece- Fink is trapped in an absurd hell once inside the hotel, while Hollywood becomes more surreal- especially when the studio head (Michael Lerner) is dressed as a General in the final meeting. The cops who question Fink seem like a Dashiel Hammett take on the interrogators at the heart of Pinter's The Birthday Party. There is much that is amusing here- Fink's pretentiousness regarding 'the common man', the dance sequence that ends in a fight, the kissing the feet sequence...
It is also clear that the Coen's aren't suffering from 'writer's block' as another review suggests: the lead character is (much like John Cusack in Bullets Over Broadway- cowritten by a Simpsons writer who referred to Barton Fink in a great episode of the animated series). The idea that the creators of this suffering from writer's block is absurd when (i) they frequently stockpile scripts and (ii) when the dialogue is as great as it is here. It's like saying Jonathan Demme is suffering from a terminal disease, as the central character of Philadelphia is; a lazy-assed auteur application...
Barton Fink is an absurd, almost postmodern hell (Goodman stating "Heil Hitler!" before offing a policeman)- a world that is close to a horror film (walls on fire, seemingly empty hotel out of The Shining, temperature shifts, headless corpses), but is too funny & knowing- making it all the more disturbing. Another Coen's classic then...
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars GO WEST, YOUNG MAN..., 30 Nov 2003
By 
Lawyeraau (Balmoral Castle) - See all my reviews
(HALL OF FAME REVIEWER)    (TOP 500 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: Barton Fink [VHS] [1991] (VHS Tape)
Welcome to the wonderfully wacky world of the Coen brothers. Joel and Ethan Coen are two of the most brilliant filmmakers in the world today. Every film they turn out is a cinematic gem, and "Barton Fink" is no exception.
The film centers around a slightly pompous, idealistic, left wing playwright, Barton Fink (John Turturro), who in 1941, after becoming the toast of Broadway as the pretentious voice of the common man, goes west to Hollywood at the invitation of a major studio in order to try his hand at writing screenplays.
There, he meets studio head, Jack Lipnick (Michael Lerner), and his yes man and whipping boy, Lou Breeze (Jon Polito). Asked to write a screenplay for a Wallace Beery vehicle about wrestling, a subject about which the bookish Fink knows nothing about, causes Fink to go into a professional tailspin.
Ensconced in a decaying old hotel, seemingly run by its slightly creepy and unctuous bell hop, Chet (Steve Buscemi), who bizarrely appears on the scene out of a trapdoor behind the hotel's front desk, Fink begins his ordeal . The elevator is run by a cadaverous, pock marked, elderly man. The corridors of the hotel seem endless. The wallpaper in Fink's room is peeling away from the wall, leaving a viscous, damp ooze in its wake. His bed creaks and groans with a life of its own. It is also hot, oppressively hot.
No residents of the hotel are apparent, except for the appearance of shoes outside the doors in expectation of the free shoe shine the hotel offers its denizens and for the noise made by his neighbors. Finks meets one of his neighbors, the portly Charlie Meadows (John Goodman), a gregarious Everyman, possessed of an abundance of bonhomie. A self-styled insurance salesman, Charlie cajoles Fink out of his shell, befriending him in the process. Little does Fink know that beneath Charlie's congenial exterior lies a horrific secret that will spillover onto him in the not so distant future.
At a luncheon with studio under boss, Ben Geisler (Tony Shalhoub), Fink meets a famous writer that he reveres, W. P. Mayhew (John Mahoney), a southern sot so steeped in drink that his companion/secretary, Audrey Taylor (Judy Davis), has to do his writing for him. Fink falls for Audrey but finds his overtures rebuffed. Still, she is willing to try and help him overcome his profound writer's block. In a classic Coen twist, it is this single act of kindness that acts as the catalyst for the nightmare that makes Fink's life become a living hell on earth. He goes from living a life of self-imposed isolation and angst to one that appears to have been created by a Hollywood hack, filled as it is with the most incredible situations, a real studio head's dream.
John Turturro is terrific as the introverted, tightly wound, pretentious, and neurotic Fink, who in Hollywood, away from the womb of the Great White Way, is like a lamb led to the slaughter. With his sculpted afro, horn rimmed glasses, nerdy clothes, Fink is the stereotypic Hollywood notion of the commie writer. John Turturro makes the role his with a purposeful intensity.
John Goodman is sensational as the garrulous Charlie Meadow, the epitome of the working class man about whom Fink likes to write. Unfortunately, all is not as it seems, as Charlie has a dark side to him, a very dark side. John Mahoney is excellent as the Faulknerian-like writer, and Judy Davis outdoes herself, as the self-sacrificing Audrey Taylor.
Michael Lerner will razzle-dazzle the viewer with his over the top portrayal of a fast talking studio head who is willing to pay big bucks for the cache of having a top Broadway playwright turn out screenplay swill for the masses. Jon Polito is very good as the Uriah Heepish, quintessential yes man he portrays. Tony Shalhoub is excellent in his role, underscoring the absurdity of the old Hollywood studio system.
Steve Buscemi, looking surprisingly small in his bell hop uniform, resembles an organ grinder's monkey, at times. The viewer may also expect him to bellow, "Call for Phillip Morris", as in the old cigarette campaign, though he speaks in a controlled, respectful monotone, at all times. Still, his very presence adds a slightly sinister quality to the film, though he does nothing remotely sinister, other than the way he makes his screen appearance. His entrance onto the screen in this fashion foreshadows what is to come.
This film is not for everyone, as it does not have a neatly wrapped ending. Instead, it goes beyond the standard expected ending into an absurdist foray. Still, those who love films by the Coen Brothers will not be disappointed by this satiric look at Hollywood. It is little wonder that this film became the darling of the Cannes Film Festival.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Barton down under, 9 May 2012
By 
P. Edwards "cinemarts" (Australia) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This BD has already been released in Australia and at at au$12.98 price point, if not cheaper in some locations.
As the disc is adorned with more territory censor ratings, it's clear it's a region free disc and what will appear in UK and Europe.
It's a very good transfer of the the early Coen Bros noirish take on Hollywood in the 1940s, with dedicated socialist NYC playwright Barton Fink
(John Turturro, excellent as always)being seduced by the $$$$ Tinseltown has to offer. It turns nasty and borderline horror when it seems his neighbour
in the faded elegance of his Hollywood hotel room just might be a serial killer. The film develops a wonderful dream-like atmosphere. It looks better in this BD
presentation than any previous incarnation I can recall. Zero extras, though, so the 5 stars is for the film and the transfer only.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The greatest film of our time, 24 Mar 2002
This review is from: Barton Fink [VHS] [1991] (VHS Tape)
This is quite simply the best film ever made. Everything about it, from the colour scheme, the camera work, the direction, and most importantly: the script, are works of art! I'm a screenwriter myself, so I suppose that has some bearing on it, but neverthless, it is truly great!
The story itself, and very films achieve this, is perfect! Many films lack substance, but never with the Coens! This film is truly great
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Loved this film, 18 Sep 2006
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Barton Fink [DVD] (DVD)
This is the Coen Brothers at their best- very dark, slightly surreal but extremely funny. This tale set in the 1930s/40s follows the development of scriptwriter Barton Fink's (John Turturro) career in Hollywood and his relationships with the people he meets there. The cast is superb, with both lead and support actors putting in excellent performances, backed up by cinematography which captures the period very well. The sort of film I wish the Coens were still making. It might help to already be a fan before watching, as it is possibly not their most easily accessible film.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Worth every penny ten times over, 19 Sep 2002
This review is from: Barton Fink [VHS] [1991] (VHS Tape)
This is arguably the Coen's best film to date. Coen Brother regulars John Turturro and John Goodman turn in awesome and wholly convincing performances, and the Coen's script, as always, is just perfect and very natural-sounding. The ending is very surreal and un-Hollywood, keeping in line with the Coen's artistic integrity. Definately worth watching over and over.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Coen Masterwork, 2 Mar 2012
This review is from: Barton Fink [DVD] (DVD)
The Coen brother's comedy/thriller Barton Fink is an edgy surrealist film brimming over with humour that is both dark and bizarre.
Barton Fink is a playwright who has just made it big in New York.
A movie production company in Los Angeles invites him to come and write a script for them. Barton agrees but when he arrives in LA he finds out it is to be a wrestling picture. This does not interest or inspire him whatsoever.
Barton is a slightly strange loser, with a great heart. He is consistently let down by those around him and is extremely lonely.
The characters he meets throughout the film range from alcoholic writers, inspirational secretaries and a very kind hearted psychopath.
The film is largely about writers block (Something which Joel and Ethan Coen have had some experience with) and what it is like to be a writer. The film is like nothing you will have ever seen.
It is a superbly original film about creativity and the pain that comes with it.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


‹ Previous | 1 2 3 4 | Next ›
Most Helpful First | Newest First

This product

Barton Fink [VHS] [1991]
Barton Fink [VHS] [1991] by Joel Coen (VHS Tape - 2001)
£2.18
In stock
Add to basket Add to wishlist
Only search this product's reviews