BARTON FINK

PrintE-mail Written by Scott Varnham

Barton Fink came from writer’s block experienced by the Coen Brothers while they were working on the screenplay for Miller’s Crossing, and it shows. Chronicling a week or two in the troubled life of 1940s playwright turned screenwriter Barton Fink, it’s easy for any writer to empathise with his (and the Coens’) struggle to create something, to beat the blank page. At least up to a point.

Hollywood may be an all-consuming mistress but it becomes clear that Barton had his problems to begin with. He’s a man who never really seems happy with where he is or whom he’s talking to. Even when he meets his idol, he’s calling him a drunkard within minutes. It’s a mark of how good the film is that this only really occurs to the viewer on a second viewing, and that the film can still be appreciated without it. There are so many elements of this film worth paying attention to: it’s beautifully shot, for one thing; Roger Deakins did good work here. John Goodman also showed why the Coen brothers have kept using him, as he is fantastic as the essence of the everyman that Fink claims to want to express in his work (but never seems to actually listen to). 

Considering the decent body of work the brothers have built up over the years, it’s only by the sheer passage of time that Barton Fink is now in the middle, quality-wise. It doesn’t quite have the charm of O Brother, Where Art Thou? or the timeless wisdom and humour of The Big Lebowski. But there are lots of touches of hilarious dark comedy throughout, and like all of the Coens’ output, it’s a film worth coming back to. In fact, it’s almost needed; you miss so much on the first go round. Having produced a film like this more than 20 years ago, it’s easy to see why the Coens became the industry giants they are today.

BARTON FINK (1991) / CERT: 15 / DIRECTORS & SCREENPLAY: JOEL & ETHAN COHEN / STARRING: JOHN TURTURRO, JOHN GOODMAN, MICHAEL LERNER, JUDY DAVIS, TONY SHALHOUB / RELEASE DATE: OUT NOW




Suggested Articles:
Peter Brook’s adaptation of the classic William Golding novel, comes to blu-ray courtesy of Criter
After the sequel to Return of the Living Dead made an unsuccessful grab at the teen market, Brian Yu
C.H.U.D 2: Bud the Chud (a title that just rolls off the tongue) is firmly a product of the ‘80s i
When you’ve made a film frequently described as one of the most terrifying ever made, at one time
scroll back to top

Add comment

Security code
Refresh

Other articles in DVD / Blu-ray Reviews

LORD OF THE FLIES 16 August 2017

RETURN OF THE LIVING DEAD 3 16 August 2017

C.H.U.D 2: BUD THE CHUD 16 August 2017

THE TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE 2 16 August 2017

THE SLAYER 16 August 2017

INCONCEIVABLE 16 August 2017

VOICE FROM THE STONE 16 August 2017

CRIMSON 16 August 2017

PROJECT EDEN VOL. 1 14 August 2017

MEAT 11 August 2017

- Entire Category -

Sign up today!
Banner
Banner
Banner
Banner
Banner
Banner
Banner
Banner