A mentally unstable veteran works as a nighttime taxi driver in New York City, where the perceived decadence and sleaze fuels his urge for violent action by attempting to liberate a presidential campaign worker and an underage prostitute.
Robert De Niro,
Jerry works in his father-in-law's car dealership and has gotten himself in financial problems. He tries various schemes to come up with money needed for a reason that is never really explained. It has to be assumed that his huge embezzlement of money from the dealership is about to be discovered by father-in-law. When all else falls through, plans he set in motion earlier for two men to kidnap his wife for ransom to be paid by her wealthy father (who doesn't seem to have the time of day for son-in-law). From the moment of the kidnapping, things go wrong and what was supposed to be a non-violent affair turns bloody with more blood added by the minute. Jerry is upset at the bloodshed, which turns loose a pregnant sheriff from Brainerd, MN who is tenacious in attempting to solve the three murders in her jurisdiction.Written by
The original editing credit for this film was "Roderick Jaynes," a fictitious creation of the Coen Brothers, who edit all their own films with only occasional assistance. Jaynes actually received an Academy Award nomination for his work on this film, but did not win. See more »
Television edits of the film consistently replace the word "f*cking" with "froozing." Also, in the scene where Carl shoots Wade, the audio is inexplicably edited so that we don't hear Wade say, "Oh, jeez." See more »
The Coens are masters of the tease. By that I mean they'll find a closely embroidered dress and then goof with its perfection. They'll pull this and that element of the colored threads out so that its frayed, disturbing the scene so carefully constructed by the original craftswoman. Superficially it looks more homemade, more genuine this way. But if you look closely you'll see that what they've done is a matter of orchestrated destruction. Things defined by their distance from other things.
Past that point it is merely a matter of whether the teasing engages or not.
Their previous movie was not well received. The original garment was a combination of a mild Capra screwball and a 30's newspaper fold of a sassy woman detective. The noir mechanics were made explicit, as were the cinematic components.
The audience by this I mean the general paying audience stayed away. They just weren't in the mood for clever deconstruction, no matter how polished.
This is a reaction. Its a wonderful project, just wonderful in its way, but also sad in the implied tightness behind the decisions you see.
What they've done is frayed the garment on the inside. Everything is sparse, bleak. All the camera setups are overly simplified, all the emotional mechanics understated. Most of it is buried in the snow.
If this movie were made by anyone else, it would just be amusing, a calm sketch of a deliberately uncaffeinated selling itself as if it were a chain of simple products.
But it isn't. Its a suppressed visit by extremists pretending to not be extreme. Its Lynch doing "Straight Story" and not asking us to know that over every dusk hued horizon is one of his ragged unreal movies.
Because of this, we see small gateways into the world of the Dude, or the Sirens. The unborn child will enter a different world. The postage stamp will fly to a different world (when the rates change).
Watch it for the simple garment, a dress covered by a coat. Watch it for the fraying and teasing on the inside, and imagine the colorful embroidery disturbed on the out.
Ted's Evaluation -- 3 of 3: Worth watching.
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