Monday, 25 April 2011

A Serious Man

A Serious Man
A Serious Man, directed by Joel and Ethan Coen, is a semi-autobiographical black comedy about Larry Gopnik, a man who faces one crisis after another. Crisp cinematography by Roger Deakins (who also photographed True Grit and numerous other films by the Coens), and a supporting cast of typically eccentric characters, result in a satisfying and enjoyable film.

Like Barton Fink, and Steve Buscemi's character in the Coens' Paris, Je T'Aime segment, Larry is just a very unlucky guy. Unlike Lester in American Beauty, who experiences similar pressures, Larry doesn't empower or reinvent himself; instead, like many of Woody Allen's characters (Zelig, for example), he turns to his rabbi for (ineffective) advice.

A Serious Man, like Barton Fink, is influenced by Kubrick's The Shining: the dramatic reveal when Larry reads his brother's notebook is similar to the moment in The Shining when Wendy discovers Jack's manuscript. Both films also use black title cards to indicate sequential events.

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