Archive for May 25th, 2011

Copyright © 2011 by James Clark

       The Coen brothers have produced an extensive series of extremely provocative films. That the works emit a jaundiced sense of predominant rationality would seem to be a given. Far less manageable is the specific point of contention, as presumably providing nuance to the mayhem and devastation that ensue. The jammed acceleration that plunges into various horrors of simplistic insistence broaches a dynamic with far more flexibility, if we can only locate the steering impulse. Their hastily assembled classic of malaise, namely, Barton Fink (1991) (having, therefore, an inception in the same vein as Wong Kar Wai’s breakaway from out of  a former, unforthcoming project, namely, Chungking Express [1994]), offers a particularly transparent sightline into that overdrive.

    The titular protagonist leads off with a strain of self-confident perversity which, in itself, could be equivocal. His journey through the narrative confirms the bleakest of dead ends. Moreover, and most importantly for our special task of fathoming this starkly upsetting saga, he encounters someone decidedly transcending the peculiar lostness, and in such a way as to endow the film with a topspin of reflective struggle as against sensational outrage. (more…)

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