A satirical tale of a 1940s playwright who accepts an offer to write movie scripts in L.A. Struggling with writers block while staying at the eerie Hotel Earle, an incongruous series of events continues to distract him.
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Film as concentric circles - although circling around what remains a mystery probably not worth solving. As an assemblage of metaphors and nods it is somewhat tiring; as in-house Hollywood critique we've seen it time and time again and as drama it's a little too smug and self-satisfied to truly engage. As befalls the eponymous Fink, it all feels like a diminution of talent. Not a waste, but not entirely satisfying.
With his grandiosity, arrogance, sneering at the common man & attempts to remain apart from the Hollywood machine that subsidises his work, one could very easily read Fink as a grotesque caricature of the Coens' worst tendencies. In this sense it's a work of self-critique, but a sly one; its writer's block satire obscured by an ironic comingling of art-house surrealism, B-movie schlock & character comedy. Astounding.
This is hands down one of the best from The Coen Brothers. A perfect little Hollywood film noir that features John Turturro in his greatest performance and a perfectly psychotic John Goodman for added good measure. This is a masterpiece.
now look at them high ratings. --may contain spoiler--But sorry, could afford only 3 stars. Unsatisfied, that's the main cause. No real ending, that's another. But couldn't blame them coens for leaving it hanging, it's no real but its probably the best for this film.
Barton Fink came after the amazing "Miller's Crossing' and is another example of the Coens thinking too much. (See 'Hudsucker Proxy') It's also in that category of special interest that isn't necessarily as interesting to the rest of us (See 'Hail Caesar')
Strokes of genius and laziness. Not surprisingly, this surrealist oddity was concocted during a bout of writer's block. The comedy was sharp - the academic Jew beating his guts out to tell stories "for the common man" while interrupting and ignoring the common man in his company. The ambiguity of the mystery, however, felt contrived and even pretentious - with no underlying meaning. An exercise in tones and moments.
I like movies about writers. If, likewise, the film is the work of an auteur, this peculiar character really takes on another dimension. So Barton Fink is the cinematographic double of Joel (Ethan) Coen and his scenes with Jack Lipnick, head of Capitol Pictures, are very revealing. The last scene with John Goodman already belongs to movie history, too. Highly recommended.