Reviews

Barton Fink

5

The Coen brothers overcome writer's block

Famously conceived during the tortuous writing of Miller’s Crossing, the Coens’ jet-black comedy has ’40s Broadway playwright John Turturro transplanted to Tinseltown, where he suffers acute writer’s block.

Meshing multiple genres – murder-mystery, buddy movie, gothic horror – it’s sometimes a touch too rich. But as a dark-hearted love letter to golden-age Hollywood (with many thinly-veiled avatars for real-life icons of the time) it’s hard to beat.

Meanwhile, allusions to the anti-Semitism of the time shade it as one of the brothers’ bleakest masterpieces.

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