Buster Scruggs is about people facing death and what comes after death. Each short gives us a different version of this through the lens of a different familiar western trope.
Mannix is a Christ figure, shouldering the sins of the actors he supervises to protect the films they appear in. A martyr for the cinema, Mannix receives none of the glory or wealth of his actor counterparts, but sacrifices the comforts of a normal life to the altar of storytelling.
Even though Inside Llewyn Davis is a period piece, it feels like a sharp reflection of the moment of its creation, more than any prior Coen film.
While the Coen version of True Grit is structurally a straightforward Western, on a deeper level it engages with a type of narrative that the directors had never attempted before -- the coming-of-age story.
Probably the closest thing to a horror film that the Coens have yet made, a semi-surrealist American nightmare set in a stand-in for their own Minnesota hometown.
Burn After Reading mirrors No Country’s pessimism, presenting inevitable suffering, failure and death in a farcical rather than purely dramatic context. The thematic parallels allow the films to work companion pieces, similarly to the complementary pairing of Miller’s Crossing and Barton Fink.
I’m declaring The Ladykillers officially underrated. A comedy that takes place mostly inside one house over the course of a few days, it’s the smallest and least ambitious of the filmography so far, but it accomplishes what it sets out to do with aplomb.
While critics went nuts for the beautiful black-and-white cinematography and Thornton's performance, The Man is easily my least favorite entry in the Coen filmography.
Moving forward into the post-millennium era of the Coens' work, I wasn't expecting any of the more recent films to affect me as deeply as the one-two cinematic punch of Fargo and The Big Lebowski, but I was floored by revisiting 2000's O Brother, Where Art Thou. The Coens' films are frequently accused of being cynical, sardonic genre pastiches, … Continue reading The Coen Project Part 8: O Brother, Where Art Thou?
I haven’t officially signed up for the church of Dudeism, but I'll admit I'm a bit of a Lebowski fanatic. I've spent more time than anyone should trying to figure out what books the Dude has on his coffee table, and I own an (almost) exact replica of the Dude's Pendleton sweater. Despite these patterns … Continue reading The Coen Project Part 7: The Big Lebowski