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Customer Review

on 8 August 2007
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...
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Product Details

4.2 out of 5 stars
4.2 out of 5 stars
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