The Bayley Film Club: Joel & Ethan Coen

WEEK 1

Director: Joel and Ethan Coen

Film 1: No Country for Old Men

Film 2: The Big Lebowski

What follows are the reviews starting with film 1.

 

No Country for Old Men

Author: Agsy E Drapinska

Anticipation: 2
Enjoyment: 4
Retrospect: 4

Score: 10

The story and the way it is told was what I have enjoyed the most. On top of that – great angles, witty script and very good acting make ‘No Country for Old Men’ an excellent picture that is keeping you on your toes throughout the whole 2 hours and 3 minutes of its length. This film puts you through a wide range of emotions – it will surprise you, shock you even, make you laugh and scare you a bit. A minimalistic approach to music in the film creates an even bigger tension in many scenes. Basically, it is a good piece of thrilling action wrapped in a nice writing and neat frames. 

Javier Bardem freaks me out (intentionally!), and it is lovely to watch Tommy Lee Jones (who is absolutely hilarious) and young Woody Harrelson (whom I personally adore in anything after watching the first season of ‘True Detective’). 

‘No Country for Old Men’ is possibly something I would watch again sometime, and with a lot of pleasure. Definitely a no-miss for anybody who proudly states ‘I love cinema’.

 

No Country for Old Men

Author: N A Tonge

Anticipation: 3
Enjoyment: 4
Retrospect: 5

Score: 12

After many watches of this picture, I still struggle to understand most of the southern drool crooned by Tommy Lee Jones during the opening narration, nevertheless, when accompanied by the baron west Texas landscape, the atmosphere of the film instantly melts into me like the feeling you get from the first suck on a cigarette in the Friday evening sun. Maybe my spirit animal is a desert-dwelling Cayote – that enjoys a smoke.

I like that this film has no music. I like that there are tense, regular pauses between sentences (when the characters feel like having a conversation). I like the violence. I like the American / Mexican organized crime cross over. I like the portrait of post- Vietnam America and those impacted most directly by it. This is how I like to imagine that part of the world. I like this film.

 

The Big Lebowski

Author: Agsy E Drapinska

Anticipation: 2
Enjoyment: 4
Retrospect: 3

Score: 9

A comedy. A rather silly comedy with many not-so-obvious jokes which I enjoyed a lot. Am I right?! Not a fan of the way dreaming is being shown. A huge fan of how all the accidents fall into place and create the story. 

John Goodman wins me with all his crazy ideas and opinions, most of all, with the ‘rational’ arguments that seem to support them. The relationship between his character, Dude (Jeff Bridges)  and Donny (played by Steve Buscemi) – is classic comedy material. 

I honestly wasn’t even excited about this film but I am glad to have watched it – not sure if I need to see it again, maybe not. However, it still lands in a category of a must-see.

The Big Lebowski

Author: N A Tonge

Anticipation: 1
Enjoyment: 3
Retrospect: 3

Score: 7

”You’re out of your depth Donny”. Walter Sobchak would probably have given the same advice to future directors attempting to piggyback on the success of this caper, but Walter’s the bowling type, not the cinema type.

The Big Lebowski is original, and it still feels fresh. The success of the film in achieving the caper atmosphere comes from its ability to push the myriad plot lines and characters, but not too far. It’s glued together through the central character, ‘the dude’ and his tireless yet unwanted efforts to get his rug back and get on with his daily routine of bowling and drinking White Russians – something we can all relate too!

Notwithstanding the above, the film would be nothing without Walter, who brings in all the laughs. This is probably the best of the Coen brothers’ attempts at comedy films, however, based on my first review, I’d prefer them to stick to something a little more somber.


 

This week is all about the Coen brothers and next week? Just wait and see when we post the lottery for week 2 on Instagram! I cannot wait! Let’s spread some good cinematography and culture! Let’s open a discussion where we share our thoughts and. opinions on classics and not-so-classics.

What’s the most you ever lost in a coin toss?
Anton Chigurh, No Country for Old Men
That rug really tied the room together
Walter Sobchak, The Big Lebowski

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