After watching two of their movies back to back now, I ‘am left speechless over here. That feeling you rarely enjoy from the rarest of those movies, yeah I ‘am having some of them now. Yes sir, I ‘am speaking of the great Coen brothers. The two headed director who has (have) blessed our times with their supreme artistry in filmmaking. The two films were, ‘O brother where art thou?’ and ‘Miller’s crossing’. It was an experience which has got me thirsting for more and more.
There is a hell lot of amusing patterns and symbols followed by the Coen’s in each of their works. Starting from the easily recognisable alternation between black comedies and crime noirs to the very detailed aspects of colours and tones, there is a lot of them. For instances, in the movie ‘O brother where art thou?’ you wouldn’t see a single green leaf! Leafs are kind of yellowish instead. The entire earth has got this yellowish green template throughout the movie. This yellow is perhaps the colour of the movie. Think of ‘Fargo’ and the colour is white. There is a tone to each movie, of which the colour forms an integral part. The wide range of tones, plots and characters which they introduce through their movies are just awe-inspiring. Now, like ‘Miller’s crossing’ most of their movies are set in the past, over a certain period of time. Homage, references etc. are dispersed all over. ‘Miller’s crossing’ is a huge homage in itself to the crime noirs of 70’s & 80’s. Presence of a ‘cool-under-fire’ type of character (mostly in the lead) is one another thing. Like, Tom Regan’s in miller’s crossing, The Dude himself in ‘The Big Lebowski’, Marge in ‘Fargo’ and Anton Chigurh in ‘No Country…’ Simply those characters are so much fun. There are a lot more of such patterns, like the spinning materials (the ball in ‘Big Lebowski’ and the Hat in ‘Miller’s crossing’) seen in their different movies or the frequently used fast talking characters (mostly Steve Buscemi). (read more here)
Above all these, it is the sheer intelligence exhibited in the plot development and presentation, which distinguishes the Coen’s Bros as film makers. The kind of talent involved in drawing two extremely different characters of Anton Chigurh and The Dude, with equal clarity, is indeed one of the rarest qualities. The Coen movies are the most wonderful show-case to characterization of greatest intensities. It’s extremely difficult to forget a character from a Coen movie, because they appear before us as almost complete human beings with a certain amount of eccentricity. I hear people complaining a lot about the vagueness in the plot of ‘No country for old men’, but before me it is the one of the greatest character studies of all time, where the film makers goes to such extent of realism in the plot for its ultimate aim of faithful character elucidation. ‘O brother…’ is also basically a very beautiful character study (a lot of characters), where the only difference is that the characters are a bit more fictional (the right word is poetic). The comedy in Coen movies is of the highest quality, which is a right mix of the dialogue driven type and the situational type. ‘Big Lebowski’ is one movie that had made me laugh the most. A guy who has seen this movie first, wouldn’t recognise ‘No country…’ as a work from the same directors. That is something indeed, right? The intense detailing in the plot is another important aspect. Like in the case of Miller’s crossing. The plot is very complex and thick but quiet ingeniously offered. It would require you a couple of watching to recognise the cleverness in the plot.
The technical side of Coen brother’s movie making is also as rich as the creative side. The photography, editing etc. are almost flawless. The Visual language is stunning. Music, BGM etc are also of the topmost quality and is of perfect coherence. I read that the sound track of ‘o brother…’ was a bigger hit than the movie itself! No wonder.
Now, I haven’t completed their filmography yet. Highly acclaimed movies like ‘The man who wasn’t there’ and ‘Blood simple’ remains in the yet to watch category. But am already on it, anyway.
Oh and yeah, without people like Coen Brothers and their works, how dreadful our lives would have been…!