Written by Joseph Holgate, who you can follow on Twitter at @joerodholgate
Hey guys! Welcome to Fresh Perspective, where I’ll be reviewing films I’ve never seen before. This week I watched the very famous cult classic, The Big Lebowski (1998), by the Coen Brothers, starring Jeff Bridges, John Goodman and Julianne Moore. I must say, whilst I was confused at some moments, the film was massively intriguing, especially with the humorous performances from Bridges, Goodman and John Turturro.
Joel and Ethan Coen’s film focuses around Jeffrey Lebowski, or “The Dude”, an unemployed bowling enthusiast who is assaulted as a result of mistaken identity. The perpetrators, who urinated on his rug, were meant to attack another Jeffrey Lebowski, who is later revealed to be a millionaire.
After confiding with his friends Walter (Goodman) and Donny (Steve Buscemi), The Dude seeks compensation for his rug but is rejected by the other Lebowski (David Huddleston). However, after his wife, Bunny (Tara Reid), is kidnapped, Lebowski tasks The Dude to deliver the ransom money to ensure her safety.
As the film progresses, The Dude has to deal with many setbacks, such as German nihilists, Donny’s scheming tendencies and the discovery of an overarching conspiracy.
With stellar performances from every single member of the cast, The Big Lebowski was certainly a very unique yet entertaining film.
Jeff Bridges’ performance as “The Dude” is quite impeccable. His slacker and underachieving personality clashes with the urgency and complexity of the situation around him, creating an excellent breeding ground for comedy.
This ultimately contrasts with Goodman’s Walter; whose extreme actions outweigh his intentions. The execution of his schemes often leads to comedic disarray, which highlights that he is just like the Dude, an underachiever.
The fact that bowling is their favourite sport compliments their “loser” personality as most Americans favour football or baseball. It also supplements the retro feel of the movie, with the bowling alley reminding me of period movies and TV shows such as Grease and Mad Men.
The film promises comedy from the get-go; I just loved how the unlikely hero and sidekick accidentally uncover, through trial and error, a massive conspiracy. It almost parodies detective fiction.
However, at some points I did have to rewind it as I was confused or misunderstood what was happening. But I think that was due to the unpredictable humorous nature of the film. It really is weirdly outlandish! But in a good way.
I can certainly see why The Big Lebowski has such a massive cult following. I can honestly say it’s nothing like what I’ve seen before. The pure ingenuity of the Coen brothers to deliver such a unique portrayal of a detective film is something that must be praised. With standout performances from the main cast it’s hard not to stay glued to the screen. Whilst you may be confused at times, you’ll be rewarded with comic flair and an unusual portrayal of laidback America.
It’s worth noting that this film spawned its own religion, Dudeism. Dudeism is a religion dedicated to the philosophy and lifestyle of Jeff Bridges’ character. With some things writing themselves, I’m just going to leave that there.
Join me next time as I watch Taxi Driver (1976) by the great Martin Scorsese.
See ya next week!