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Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Wednesday Movie Night: Barton Fink (1991)

Coen brothers have brought a variety of movies to the screen, but never anything quite like Barton Fink. The slow start may wind you up with expectations, but the second hour of this movie does throw the viewer for a loop. There is also something odd about it that is more prominent than the other movies. Maybe because Barton Fink is filled more characters who are so lonely their backgrounds are obscure at the moment you're watching.

Summary: Barton Fink is a successful playwright who wants to stay true to himself. When he moves to California he finds what he values as a writer is being tested though. The people wanting him to write screenplays in Hollywood are testing him to sell out, and they aren't pleased with what he wants to write. In his loneliness he makes friends with an odd next door neighbor, and begins to have an interest in a writer's mistress. Fink just wants to find a friend though as he is new to the area, and just lonely, but instead he gets wrapped up in some strange events.


Acting: John Turtorro is the lead as Barton Fink, and shows that from Miller Crossing to Barton Fink he can play a very intriguing character in a slower movie. His acting is what keeps you watching. He's very awkward and a bit timid, and he plays it well. John Goodman is the odd next door neighbor, Charlie, and Goodman is in one of the strongest roles I've seen him in. He's creepy and leaves you confused about how the direction of his character will turn out. Judy Davis is Audrey, and while her role isn't one of the more lengthy ones in the movie I found her to be a very compelling character. John Mahoney also appears as W.P. Mayhew, the writer that Fink begins to talk to, and he also is a well written character who is portrayed well.

Filming: The filming is another strong aspect of the movie. I loved how certain scenes were captured, such as the scene regarding the fire and the hallway in the movie. It's very well shot, and has lighting that makes it a scene that will leave you in a trance. It scenes like this that recover the movie from the slowness. Plus if you do like the Coen brothers then this movie has all their trademarks that make it one that most Coen brother fans will love. I wouldn't say it's the best beginner Coen brothers movie though.

Plot: The plot is where it does get a bit difficult for me to get through. What I might find slow others will not though, and I'm sure for most the story of an oddball screenwriter trying to make it in the world of fake Hollywood in the 1940's is sure to be interesting. It's the last hour of the movie for me that really got me into the movie though because from there is seems that the story takes shape into something that is strange, but compelling to watch. You never see what is coming, which is what makes it as good as it gets for the viewer watching.

Barton Fink isn't like I thought, and it's nothing you can expect. It's something in between reality and the strange that makes it very interesting. Fink in himself is just a strange guy to follow for a whole movie. It's definitely worth watching for the few scenes in it that truly captivate like nothing else you see, and then way they add in a score only near the end is interesting as well.

Rating 7.5 of 10.


Barton Fink (1991) on IMDb

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