Barton Fink (Coen Brothers) – A Screenplay Masterpiece


Such is the allure of watching  engrossing and dynamic characters like those in Barton Fink, the Coen Brothers 1991 cinematic gem, that if I had my time all over again I would focus every ounce of my efforts on screenwriting. IMD states, Barton Fink is ‘a renowned New York playwright is enticed to California to write for the movies and discovers the hellish truth of Hollywood’. It may be little a dark for some tastes, but as black comedy goes this is the blackest and the most biting there is.

This morning, I finished viewing Barton for the second time  and I recognised how the Coen Brothers writing in this picture is mostly that of  irony, like Kaufman in ‘Adaptation. They seem to be writing mainly about themselves in the act of writing, with the fears, trappings, conjecture and allurement of their art in Hollywood and making us ponder questions about our existence (while incorporating 1940’s dialogue no less) . Some have even compared this work to a Bergman or Fellini of the 90’s. It lacks an underlying morality and  an absence of good and bad, which gives  the viewer a feeling that it could go anywhere.

John Goodman who appears in many Coen Brothers movies, most notably ‘The Big Lebowsky‘ and more recently Inside Llewyn Davis is a tour de force in Barton Fink and should have been nominated for an Academy award.

Look upon me! I’ll show you the life of the mind!

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'I am a man, a hopelessly inquisitive man, just like you.' - The Master

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Posted in Movies and TV

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