In the wake of his early but undeniable theatrical success in Broadway, the idealistic author of the proletariat and self-pitying 1940s New York playwright, Barton Fink, finds himself lured to dazzling Hollywood to write scripts for eccentric Jack Lipnick's Capitol Pictures. But, instead of writing a story pivoting around the common man, Fink's first screenplay turns out to be a Wallace Beery wrestling movie, and, before he knows it, he develops a severe case of writer's block. Now, holed up in the seedy, run-down Hotel Earle, before his silent Underwood typewriter, Barton comes to realise that his only hope to meet the deadline is to take inspiration from the burly insurance salesman living next door, Charlie Meadows, and the unassuming secretary, Audrey Taylor. In the meantime, the suffocating stranglehold of artistic bankruptcy tightens. Does self-destructive Barton Fink have the stomach for confronting Hollywood's bitter reality?Written by
I liken the Coen brothers to Haagen-Daz ice cream, i.e., various stages of good. I would argue this dark film, laden with more allegories than Dante, is not their best...but, it's good, damn good. To begin with, stellar performances form Turturro, Goodman, Mahoney, Buscemi and Lehner. The thing I find amazing is the skill in bringing so much darkness to such a bright, colorful cinemagraphic work-- remindful of Ingmar Bergman's Cries and Whispers, in that regard-- that teeters on the edge. Goodman's last scene walking into the burning hotel room is eerie but very bright (why not? The damn place is burning down.) This is another great Coen brother film and let's hear it for Ethan and Joel! See it!
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