Tuesday, August 2, 2011

The Big Lebowski (1998)

One Of The Coens' Best Films, Man

- When thinking of the absolute creative genius of the Coen Brothers, the cult classic The Big Lebowski (1998) immediately comes to mind. It only takes a case of mistaken identity and a rug to launch one of the greatest and funniest crime stories of our time!

Only the Coen Brothers could pull this off. The Big Lebowski has a smart and hilarious script; a film noir-spoofing story (especially Raymond Chandler's The Big Sleep) that espouses the Coens' reoccurring themes about the randomness of life with creative characters and one hilarious moment after another - and the occasional drug-induced dream sequence, of course. As usual with any Coen Brothers film, the cinematography (by Roger Deakins) is cool and Carter Burwell cranks out another unique score (with the help of T-Bone Burnett here).

The cast is amazing. Jeff Bridges stars as the great, iconic, and hilarious Jeff "The Dude" Lebowski. He is a pot-smoking, laid-back, crude, and unintentionally hilarious Dude who, on top of being stuck in a very serious situation, is stuck in the past. In very small yet very entertaining supporting roles are Julianne Moore as the incredibly bizarre Maude Lebowski, Sam Elliot as the mysterious Stranger, and Philip Seymour Hoffman as the nervous and uptight Brandt.

The film also has a bunch of Coen regulars performing their roles to perfection. John Goodman is particularly memorable and at his top Coen form as The Dude's best friend, Walter; the angry and overly militaristic nutcase who never fails to always mess things up. The cast of usual Coen actors continues with John Turturro as the outrageous bowling ball-licking "Jesus" (8 year-olds dude) and Steve Buscemi is hilarious in an almost cameo role as the poor, confused Donny who always seems to be "out of his element."

With great characters, unique look, and a cornucopia of humor, The Big Lebowski is easily one of the best Coen Brothers films.

CBC Rating: 10/10

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