• Trust Weighted Great
  • 66 Trust Points

On Demand

Netflix On Demand

Amazon Instant Video On Demand

$2.99 Rental

iTunes On Demand

Not Available


Tag Tree


Wick's Review

Created Jan 13, 2011 09:34PM PST • Edited Apr 03, 2014 10:57AM PST

  1. Quality
  2. Great 4.0

    The Coen Brothers are writers as much as directors, making Barton Fink – a satiric tribute to tortured writers and the demonic pull of Hollywood – more than a little self-reverential. Oops, did I say reverential? Referential, self-referential.

    Either way, it’s one of their best movies, notwithstanding being clankingly arch at times. It is after all a career thriller. A writer goes to Hollywood and is forced to … go Hollywood. With the Coen’s trademark ironic humor applied, the whole schmear ends up as a Borscht Belt Day of the Locust, if you catch my drift. “That’s showbiz” is the moral to much of the story.

    A freak show cast – Turturro the Italian-American Jew, Buscemi, Shaloub, the great Goodman, Michael Lerner in an Oscar nominated turn – delivers the fey dialogue in grand fashion. “SHOWMANSHIP!” That’s what it is.

    Europeans love this sort of thing, awarding Turturro the Best Actor, the Coens Best Director and the movie the Golden Palm at Cannes in ‘91. Who says writers can’t succeed in the picture business.

  3. Great 4.0

    A full employment program for character actors, several of whom are Coen Brother regulars.

    • John Turturro doesn’t evidence any intellectual depth. Intellectual passion and social awkwardness, he delivers in spades. That allows him to play the self-deluded phony to great effect.
    • John Goodman outdoes himself as the pushy big man next door. Big John often shines for the Coen’s, as in The Big Lebowski, though this performances outshines them all.
    • Steve Buscemi wants to be called Chet.
    • Tony Shaloub – young, slim and handsome – makes a perfect Hollywood player.
    • Michael Lerner’s bombastic studio mogul nails the stereotypes yet avoids chewing the scenery, making it a terrific performance. “Kike!”
    • John Mahoney easily nails the debonair drunk stylings of a great Southern novelist. Two years later, Mahoney would begin his run on Frasier.
    • Jon Polito always jumps off the screen, even in a bit part as the studio mogul’s abused flunky.
    • Judy Davis is too mannered for my taste, even accepting that her part calls for mannered.
    • Richard Portnow and Christopher Murney make a great pair of hard-bitten detectives.
  4. Male Stars Really Great 4.5
  5. Female Stars Very Good 3.5
  6. Female Costars Very Good 3.5
  7. Male Costars Great 4.0
  8. Really Great 4.5

    Opens beautifully, quietly, then maintains a perfectly modulated 40s style all the way to the existential hell at the end of the line.

  9. Direction Perfect 5.0
  10. Play Great 4.0

    Fey dialogue, but funny is funny and this movie is funny: a few LOLs interspersed with lots of wryly induced smiles. A couple of the LOLs come from two of the most entertaining retch scenes in the history of the movies.

    Credit the Coens for lampooning their own: Left Wing writers who don’t have much interest in real working guys and don’t listen to the stories of real people to boot.

  11. Music Great 4.0
  12. Visuals Great 4.0
  13. Content
  14. Risqué 1.9
  15. Sex Titillating 1.6
  16. Violence Fierce 2.0
  17. Rudeness Salty 2.0
  18. Surreal 2.7

    Almost two dozen stunt players prove that surrealism doesn’t come cheap.

  19. Circumstantial Surreal 2.5
  20. Biological Surreal 2.6
  21. Physical Surreal 3.0


Subscribe to Barton Fink 0 replies, 0 voices
No comments as yet.