Monday, April 4, 2011

Capsule Review: The Big Lebowski (1998)

Following the huge critical and commercial success of Fargo (1996), few could have expected the Coen brothers to follow up with a profane, often bizarre tribute to Raymond Chandler, bowling and Los Angeles. Of course, fans of the brothers already knew they love to confound expectations, but while critics and audiences were initially were confused by the film it soon found a fervent cult following which has only grown in the years since. Jeff Bridges stars as The Dude, an unemployed slacker who finds himself at the center of a ransom plot after a mistake in identity leads to some hired thugs pissing on his rug. With a string of memorable, entertaining characters including the legendary Wal­ter Sobchak (John Good­man), the pederast bowler known as The Jesus (John Turturro), The Nihilist kidnappers and narration by the bemused Sam Elliott, this might not be the Coen's best film but it's certainly one of their most deliriously entertaining. Jeff Bridges was born to play The Dude and jumps enthusiastically into the odd dream sequences (featuring some wonderful cinematography from regular Coen collaborator Roger Deakins). Great, highly original fun for those in an appropriately altered mood.

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