Director: Joel Coen, Ethan Coen
Genre: Drama/ Crime/ Fantasy
Runtime: 116 minutes
Starring: John Turturro, John Goodman, Judy Davis, Michael Lerner, Steve Buscemi, Tony Shalhoub, John Mahoney, Jon Polito, David Warrilow, Rochard Portnow, Christopher Murney
Description: A renowned New York playwright is enticed to California to write for the movies and discovers the hellish truth of Hollywood.
Review: The Coen Brothers have made a name for themselves already, without even making any blockbusters. There are well known filmmakers, because of their directorial and writing quality. Trademarks are subtlety, eye for details, great dialogue or monologue, symbolism and a big dose of dark humor. But before they gave us “Fargo”, “The Big Lebowski” and “O Brother, Where Art Thou?”, it was “Barton Fink”.
John Turturro plays Barton Fink, a shy maybe even unworldly playwright. From his safe life behind the curtains in the theatre, he goes to 1940s California, to write a script for a movie. Off course this can’t go smoothly. The people of Capitol Pictures want Barton to write a standard script, commercially interesting. And this will also probably go wrong.
While writing in a hotel, Barton meets his neighbor Charlie Meadows, played by John Goodman. An insurance man, very kind, compassionate and present. And Barton meets writer W.P. Mayhew, who he admires, and his secretary Audrey. Both people don’t appear to be who they claim to be. Very slowly you see what all these strangers have in common: Incomprehension.
What makes “Barton Fink” a good movie is the atmosphere that makes you feel everything the leading characters feels. You sympathize this unfortunate man, but you also enjoy all the strange things happening around him. And that weird twist also makes this into a very good film.
“Barton Fink” is probably an underappreciated Coen brothers movie, but not a movie for just everyone.
Rating: 4/ 5