I’ve mentioned my confusing relationship with the Coen brothers before on this blog, on one hand i think No Country For Old Men is one of the greatest films of all time (in my top 3 to be precise), I even watch it a few times a year and still find new things i love about it. But on the other hand i think The Big Lebowski criminally overrated, yes i understand the cultural importance and yes i get how big it was for the Coen brothers but i still think it would be an insult to say it’s their classic. It’s probably not the films fault really, the years of constant references from the film being plastered across the internet and Buzzfeed-esc top ten best moments lists have probably shallowed the effect the film would have had on me if i went into it blind.
A Serious Man on the other hand is a film i went into blind, and i was pleasantly surprised. the opening few shots of the film really are some of the best opening shots I’ve seen from the Coen brothers, i feel like to Joel and Ethan directing is like math, they always have the perfect formula for creating an atmosphere that fits the scene perfectly, there were points in the film where i even was stunned by the sleepy middle class baby boomer neighborhoods and moods in the film, this is often shown through repetition in the types of shots or the use of similar dialogue, it’s all very beige, if that makes sense.
There is an overarching theme in A Serious Man to do with religion that i’m not gonna delve too deep into cause i’ll be here all day but the Coens toy with the idea that if you’re a good religious man/ woman you will be rewarded, but that isn’t the case. Characters get punished for unknown reasons, when they think they’ve finally caught a break it turns out to be an even bigger problem they didn’t see coming. I wouldn’t say the Coen’s are poking fun at double standards in religion but they are circling holes in the fabric, i mean larry’s wife wants to divorce him but wants them to do it in the religious way so she can remarry her new lover with the church’s approval.
A Serious Man is a film about religion but at the same time has nothing to do with it, despite slowing down towards the middle of the second act i think this is one of the underrated gems in the Coen brothers filmography, A Serious Man is an 8/10.
In 2016 i will be watching 365 films (yes, i know there are 366 days this year) and writing about how I felt about them, I decided to do this just because over the last year or so i’ve Sort of pulled away from film and I wanna start to enjoy watching movies again. This will normally be just notes I made or thoughts I have about the film.