Salutations fellow movie goers from around the globe. Today’s review is about a playwright who’s tasked to write a screenplay, but he’s having creative problems due to distractions in a unsanitary hotel. He meets a neighbor with a mysterious background who tries to help him bounce back his creativity. As the two become friends, tensions rise both physically & psychologically. The plot I’m referring to is from Joel & Ethan Coen’s “Barton Fink.”
Barton Fink was released in 1991. It received positive reviews from critics. Although it earned good reception, the film failed to recoup its expenses at the box office. Regardless of lacking revenue, Barton Fink is considered as one of the best films by several critics as one of The Coen Brothers’ decent movies. Charlie Kaufman (Being John Malkovich, Adaptation, Eternal Sunshine Of The Spotless Mind) confirmed Barton Fink is one of the films which inspired him to become a filmmaker.
With the highly anticipated Quentin Tarantino’s “Once Upon A Time In Hollywood” coming out on July 26th, (three days after my birthday) I’ve decided to look back at some movies set in Hollywood to spread word of mouth to everybody who’s very excited to see Quentin’s 9th picture.
Today’s review does not contain any SPOILERS whatsoever. For those who haven’t seen Barton Fink, feel free to read my non-spoiler article.
Positive & Negative Elements
Positive: John Turturro & John Goodman both did an excellent job for their respective performances.
Other Cast Members such as Judy Davis, Steve Buscemi & Tony Shalhoub all did a good job for their respective performances.
The Coen Brothers both did a terrific job directing the film. They also wrote the screenplay together. Ethan also produced the movie.
Cinematography felt spot on decent lacking technical difficulties.
Carton Burwell, a longtime collaborator of The Coen Brothers, composed music for the film.
Chemistry between Turturro & Goldman’s characters Barton & Charlie, served as the secret sauce to keep me invested.
As Barton is tasked to write a screenplay, he has a difficult time trying to come up with a cohesive story. He has “Writer’s Block.” A term for a writer who can’t come up with interesting ideas.
The film is actually based on The Coen Brothers when they had writer’s block writing their script for “Miller’s Crossing.”
The hotel Barton stays at, reminded of “The Shining.” The Coen Brothers stated that Stanley Kubrick is one of their main influences as filmmakers.
Barton Fink has a unique atmosphere shifting between distinctive genres switching to period drama, mystery, horror & thriller by mixing them all together as a new invention.
Barton is a relatable character for writers who suffer from lacking creativity, yet some writers want to push boundaries to make the impossible, possible.
The time period set in The 40’s is recreated, bringing a decade back to life.
Mosquitos are displayed as a recurring motif.
Barton’s decaying wallpaper is also used as a recurring motif, it represents Barton’s psychological state as he’s pressured into writing a script.
The film is set in The 40’s, during “The Golden Age Of Hollywood.”
The Film Industry depicted in this movie are a metaphor for taking control of a talented person’s art. A movie studio will do anything to pull your strings like a puppet. For example, Warner Bros. is notorious for reshooting movies including “Aquaman,” “Suicide Squad” & “Justice League.” Hollywood studios act like puppet masters who are willing to make a quick buck.
Barry Sonnenfeld makes a cameo appearance page calling Barton at a restaurant. He used to work as a cinematographer for The Coen Brothers, until he made became a full-time director.
All I have to say about The Ending is left for the viewer to interpret the outcome. I can’t tell you why. If you’ve seen it, you might understand why.
Negative: The Pacing can be a drab at times, but that’s okay folks. I got used to it by paying close attention to certain plot points to get to the point on what the heck is going on with story.
Without giving too much away, one specific role about Audrey has never been resolved.
A Plot Hole involving The Third Act. I refuse to tell you. It has something to do with a “burning sensation.”
The Final Verdict: B, FOR BRILLIANT!
In my opinion, Barton Fink is a unique film by The Coen Brothers. John Turturro & John Goodman’s performances were the secret sauce of keeping me invested. The symbolic themes made sense on why this movie has a form of organic material made from originality. If the two problems never occurred, I would’ve given this film an A, FOR APEX. If you’re eager to see Once Upon A Time In Hollywood, I highly recommend Barton Fink.