Friday, April 23, 2010

A Serious Man deserved more buzz

I’m sorry I missed the Coen Brothers’ A Serious Man (2009) when it was released in theatres several months ago. Not that that is especially tragic. One can always rent the DVD version a few months later as I just did.....What I’m sorry about is that I missed such a great film first time around. This film is terrific on several fronts. It captures dead-on the suburban world of 1967 from clothes to hairstyles to home decor to some of the best period street scenes I've seen in any picture. Not to mention the incredible acting from a cast of largely unknown TV actors with some pedigree. And then there's the pathos and black humour suffusing almost every scene......Did I miss something or why didn’t this film gather the kind of buzz Coen films usually do like No Country for Old Men (2007), O Brother, Where Art Thou? (2000), The Big Lebowski (1998) and Fargo (1996)? Maybe because it’s so Jewish?.....Yes, I had some vague recollection central character Larry Gopnik (Michael Stuhlbarg) was a middle class Jew perplexed by events assailing his life. I just had no idea how Jewish this film is. Indeed it might be inaccessible to a non-Jew or someone unfamiliar with Jewish culture. (Hilariously, at the end of the credit roll you can read, “No Jews were harmed in the making of this motion picture.”).....Interesting to note that in looking up still shots for this film not one shows the various rabbis from an old Polish shtetl or any especially religious or rabbinical/synagogue scenes. Was this to deflect the Jewish theme for mass audiences?.....So what’s the movie about? The opening lines of a very famous song by a very famous rock group from 1967 say it all.....

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