On page 161 of TF issue 188, Emma Dibdin asks:
"Is it just me... or is The Big Lebowski not that big a deal?"
Here are a few excerpts:
Despite an initially lukewarm reception in some quarters, the Coens’ seventh outing has become a cinematic sacred cow. It even has its own festival. Admitting that you don’t like The Big Lebowski in a roomful of film fans has roughly the same impact as admitting you vote BNP or occasionally torture kittens. There’s undeniably plenty to love – just about everything in the bowling alley is quotable gold – but the viewing experience is a curiously empty one.
Part of the reason is how episodic it all feels. The relatively tight first 30 minutes gives way to a series of over-indulged, ill-connected sequences that have as much potential to infuriate as to entertain. The number of characters and plot points that go nowhere can be explained by the Raymond Chandler model that’s being riffed on, but the sense that each scene is happening in a vacuum has nothing to do with noir. By the time the Dude’s second dream sequence rolls around in the form of surreal, visually arresting bowling/ porno parody Gutterballs, you’re struck by the overwhelming sense that this isn’t narrative, but sketch comedy.
There are glimpses of genius in Lebowski – everyone from Bridges and Goodman down to John Turturro does some of their best work, and it boasts lines that are deservedly some of the most quoted in cinema. But it’s too shambling, too overindulged, too undisciplined, to be named anywhere close to the Coens’ best. But as The Dude would say: “That’s just, like... your opinion, man.” So, is it just me?
Check out the full article in Issue 188 - on sale 24 November 2011.
Agree? Disagree? Have your say below - a selection will be printed in the next issue...