The Big Lebowski

The big Lebowski is a twisted comedic thriller, that trades in drollery for a darker treatment of crime caper gone wrong. This is one of those movies where you know the crew has had far more fun making it than you ever can by watching it. The movie has the same rambling narrative like a Dude, where is my car, but is significantly less goofy while the dialogues make a lot more sense; too much sense, in fact.

The movie is the story of The Dude (Jeff Bridges) who is known also as Jeff Lebowski. The Dude is a White Russian drinking, doobie smoking, bowling league topping, war veteran, rug aficionado. All he wants to do is obtain restitution from a richer Jeff Lebowski for the ruined rug when two thugs relieve themselves on it; after mistaking The Dude for his more successful namesake. Because, let's face it, the rug did pull the room together. What follows is hilarious cascading cacophony of thugs, friends, the affluent and the crazy - all conspiring to produce a series of strange events that rattle even the unflappable Dude. Helping things along is his friend and Bowling partner Walter (John Goodman) that proves to be as reliable as a keg of dry gunpowder in a burning house.

The movie is typical Coen brothers. From the deliberate characters that wear their idiosyncrasies on their sleeves, to the precisely lazy pace of narrative. The dialogue is expletive-laden, politically incorrect, unexpectedly repeating and intellectually challenging. Once a conversation starts you have no clue where it will end, keeping you on the edge of your seat while the back and forth unwinds itself. Consider the following between The Dude and the personal assistant of Jeff Lebowski.

The Dude: These are, uh...
Brandt: Oh, those are Mr Lebowski's children, so to speak.
The Dude: Different mothers, huh?
Brandt: No.
The Dude: Racially he's pretty cool?
Brandt: [laughs] They're not literally his children. They're the Little Lebowski Urban Achievers - inner city children of promise but without the necessary means for a - necessary means for a higher education. So Mr Lebowski is committed to sending all of them to college.

The movie never had my side in splits, but at the same time there was never a dull moment. Solid acting, an enviable cast, smoothly filmed sequences and a absorbing tale are the reasons this is such a cult hit. Or as Walter would ask...

"Are we gonna split hairs here? Am I wrong?"

January 02, 2011

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