Barton Fink (1991)

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As a fan of much of the Coen brothers’ other work, “Barton Fink” had been on my watchlist for a long time. It’s not uncommon to see it cited as their greatest achievement. I honestly don’t know if I can evaluate their career comprehensively at this point, so I can’t call it their best, but it is a remarkable film, either way.

“Barton Fink” deftly toes the line(s) between drama, comedy, noir, and buddy cop flick without feeling overwrought. It incorporates thematic content with breadth and depth at every corner but never feels overly dense. It makes use of visual metaphors and allusions gracefully, without feeling overbearing.

And it’s also just a lot of fun to watch. This is likely due to the ridiculous, absolutely on-point performances and the sharply drawn characters. The script never loses steam and the dialogue remains fresh throughout the bizarre and unexpected narrative twists and turns. But the film never feels like it’s trying to exploit a plot twist or cheap reveal.

I don’t know. It’s a hell of a movie. 

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