Wednesday, 19 January 2011

A Serious Man

Did I miss something?

Lover: Taken from IMDB
“I have to say that before writing this review, I had some mixed feelings about the Coen brothers' most recent film A Serious Man. But I have to say that it is far superior to their previous effort, Burn After Reading. A Serious Man tells the story of Larry Gopnik, a Midwestern physics professor whose life begins to follow the rule of Murphy's Law, that anything than can go wrong will go wrong. Larry seems to be a nice guy and everything seems to just fall apart. He goes to three different rabbis for guidance. Unfortunately, they are no help as his problems seem to grow. His wife leaves him for an older man, his brother still lives with him and their family, a student tries to blackmail him to change a failing grade, and he's in love with the neighbor next door, who sunbaths nude. A Serious Man is a darkly funny film that It works mainly because of Michael Stuhlbarg, who gives a performance that deserved an Oscar nomination. I hope to see more of this actor in the future. The Coens have brought yet another great screenplay of their own to life, thanks in part to their brilliant direction. The Coens also have great help from frequent collaborators including composer Carter Burwell and cinematographer Roger Deakins. It may not be everyone's cup of tea and it may rub members of the Jewish community the wrong way. But if you approach it with an open mind then you might enjoy it.”

A good review, it was better than Burn after reading and Michael Stuhlbarg is outstanding. Not sure members of the Jewish community would be that offended?

Hater: Taken from IMDB
“One, you do not need to totally understand Judaism to get this film. Yes, the beginning of the film lays the groundwork that tells the viewer that any descendants of the Jewish couple who "killed" the Dybbuk is doomed to experience letdowns, but then again, maybe not. It is just a basic folktale, one from any religion or culture. Second, you do not need to understand physics either. Other than the passing of time seems to not pass at all while watching this film. After almost 40 minutes I had had it. Yes, a lot of %$&^ is dumped on this guy, and you wonder why he would deserve to be dumped on so much, but then you do not care. None of the characters were worth the time or effort. Maybe past the 40-minute mark it gets better, but alas I could not justify wasting my time to see what happened, and why. The acting was OK, but not worth the time to sit through this film, which might be better titled, A Pathetic Man.”

Now this one is a shame because it’s not a bad review but I don’t think you should review a film unless you’ve watched the whole film. It’s common sense, for all you know the ending could have blown you away!

What I thought:
Well despite being utterly confused at the end I was yet again impressed by the Coen Brothers. It’s not a hard thing to say as most of their films are lauded over by critics and filmgoers alike. This film however plants itself some where between The Ladykillers (the worst Coen movie) and No Country for Old Man (my favourite, though I haven’t seen True Grit yet). It’s really funny and darkly so in most places; it’s wonderfully paced and brilliantly acted.
I’ll stop there as I have to say I got confused towards the ending, I thought I’d missed something? Was I supposed to be reading deeper into this film than I had? I started checking the running time, thinking there might still be a scene that would expose the hidden meanings etc. There was just that ending? Our main character gets a scary call from his Doctor when he decides to take a bribe and a hurricane threatens to blow everything away.

I can make a guess at some ethereal matters of Old Testament style punishing from god, however that just seems too much but is it? It’s obvious our hero is descended from the cursed couple at the beginning but is that the point of the film? Our hero is destined to have things go wring because that happened? If so its not that bigger deal like I’ve already said the film is very funny and really entertaining. For me though the film feels like it had so much more and didn’t show it, I thought “am I not getting this because I’m not Jewish.”

It was touted as their most personal and as I’m pretty certain they are Jewish you can really tell. If you’re not like me and don’t think to deeply about films you’ll probably love this Coen classic.

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"Films are Loved, Films are hated. I'm here to help you decide where you stand..." I also do web work including a good knowledge of HTML, ASP, using the adobe web package and a strong understanding of SEO, Google Analytics.