Barton Fink (Bilingual)
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Set in Hollywood during the 1940's, "Barton Fink" is a comic satire about creative egos, flashy moguls, a travelling salesman and a nasty case of writer's block. Barton Fink (John Turturro) is a New York playwright lured to Hollywood to work as a screenwriter. It doesn't take long for Barton's life to erupt in complete chaos. His studio boss orders the serious-minded Barton to write a low budget wrestling movie. Deeply disappointed, Barton returns to his seedy hotel, types one sentence and then¿ nothing. To make matters worse, he is continually interrupted by Charlie (John Goodman), a chatty travelling insurance salesman who lives next door. Eventually they become friends and Charlie tries to help Barton by teaching him the finer points of wrestling. As the clock ticks away and the temperature climbs, Barton becomes more desperate as his life spins out of control.
A darkly comic ride, this intense and original 1991 offering from the Coen brothers (Fargo, Blood Simple) gleefully attacks the Hollywood system and those who seek to sell out to it, portraying the writer's suffering as a loony vision of hell. John Turturro (Miller's Crossing, Jungle Fever) plays the title character, a pretentious left-wing writer from New York City who is brought to 1930s Hollywood to write a script for a wrestling movie for palooka actor Wallace Beery. Fink thinks the job is beneath him, but his desire for acceptance gets the better of him, and he suddenly finds himself holed up in a fleabag hotel in Los Angeles, where he is almost immediately afflicted with writer's block. Various distractions begin to enter his life, first in the form of a famous southern writer (John Mahoney) whom Fink idolizes, and then his neighbor in the hotel, a seemingly amiable salesman played by John Goodman (Sea of Love, Raising Arizona). The writer turns out to be a self-loathing drunk whose secretary (Judy Davis) is the one actually doing the writing. And the neighbor, the working-class hero who Fink made his reputation writing about, may have a horrifying secret of his own. Equal parts social commentary and hilarious farce, and winner of the Best Picture, Actor, and Director prizes at the Cannes Film Festival, Barton Fink is a visionary and original comic masterpiece not to be missed. --Robert Lane --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Steve Buscemi has a small role as Chet, the hotel clerk and bellhop. He could have made the film more interesting, but was not utilized. Barton's neighbor is Charlie Meadows (John Goodman) the common man who has never heard of Fink or his plays. It is clear from their initial meeting, Barton is too removed from the common man on which he champions. As the wallpaper peels off the walls from the heat, Barton struggles to write a story about a wrestler for his deadline.
Fink seeks out the aid of an established writer Bill Mayhew (John Mahoney) who has too many demons to be of any assistance. Like any good Coen film, just when things start to slow down, they leap forward in an unexpected way.
The film was interesting. The Coens did a lot of those movie effects, including one at the end I didn't quite grasp, but it looked clever and perhaps was one of those things you assign you own symbolism. I didn't like John Turturro as the lead. His "Eraser Head" look and sometimes mannerisms could have been better scripted. On the up side, you could feel with him the awkwardness of his various "fish out of water" situation. Definitely worth a view and an addition to your Coen collection.
Parental Guide: F-bomb, no sex, no nudity.
Even if the somewhat self-absorbed plotline of a playwright unable to write a wrestling screenplay due to personal eccentricities doesn't interest you, the film is visually fascinating from beginning to end. Stylistically, it resembles a mutation of David Lynch and Stanley Kubrick, which in itself should promise a good, eerie, challenging two hours of surrealism and allegory. Indeed, it's full of clever visual clues that will spark arguments over what it all means. Should be of interest to the artsy-fartsy crowd, conventional types shoudn't waste their time.
Most recent customer reviews
I love the Cohen Brothers but this movie was all over the place. Very strange and a bad ending too.Published on March 19 2013 by Jennifer Stanton
I enjoy Coen brothers' movies... usually. This was an exception. I'm happy it was not the first of their movies I viewed, or it might have been the last. Read morePublished on June 28 2004
Okay, "Barton Fink" is a satire on the old studio system. It may also well be a symbolic depiction of the Holocaust. The Book of Daniel certainly features strongly in the mix. Read morePublished on May 25 2004 by JR Dunn
Easily the smartest of the Cohen Bros. films (and the darkest), Barton Fink employs an amazing economy of substance to weave a multiplicity of complex stories and meanings into an... Read morePublished on May 4 2004 by Amazon Customer
Okay, so I didn't understand everything that happened in Barton Fink, but I enjoyed it none the less. Read morePublished on April 16 2004 by James R. Mckinley
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