Sunday, 25 October 2015

I've Just Seen: The Big Lebowski (1998)

The Big Lebowski (1998)

Director: Joel Coen

I wouldn't say that I am a dyed-in-the-wool Coen Brothers fan, but I have enjoyed many of their films. They clearly love cinema, a circumstance that enhances their films for people who have a similar love. The Big Lebowski, both in its title and convoluted plot, references the film noirs of the 40s, though aesthetically couldn't be much further from them.

The Coens are strong on character; 'The Dude' is a great creation, smarter than he looks (and much smarter than his friends), caring for his friends, but mostly looking out for himself. John Goodman's Walter Sobchak almost stole the film for me, with his hilarious tirades about his war experiences and his Jewishness.

As I said, the plot is deliberately incomprehensible, in a similar fashion to Hawks' The Big Sleep. Much like 'The Dude' we don't know why things happen, or who is responsible; we just roll with it. The script is very clever, with so many quotable lines (my favourite was "It really tied the room together." Like 'The Dude,' I love a good rug).

While I am not have loved this as many do, it is very funny and clever; I can imagine it being even funnier on repeat viewing as more of the speeches sink into my brain.


  1. It's more like The Big Sleep than you might realize. The whole thing is a comedy noir. I didn't realize it the first couple of tims I saw it, but the whole thing plays out exactly like a film noir tilted a couple of degrees to the side.

    1. About the second or third time I saw it, I had been reading Raymond Chandler - I think it was Farewell My Lovely - and it hit me. OMG! The Dude is Philip Marlowe stoned!

      Another movie that gave me a similar Raymond Chandler vibe was Winter's Bone. That's right! Jennifer Lawrence is Philip Marlowe in the Ozarks! As a teenage girl!

      I love The Big Lebowski, by the way. Especially John Goodman. The scene where he's confronting that sixth-grader and shouting obscenities just kills me. And that scene in that diner where he's going on about how he didn't watch his best friend drown in the mud in Vietnam just to be told to keep it down in a diner! Geez Louise, it's hilarious.