Close Up

26 March 2016: Barton Fink


Barton Fink
Ethan and Joel Cohen
1991 | 116 min | Colour | 35mm

The title character, played by John Turturro, is a Broadway playwright, lured to Hollywood with the promise of untold riches by a boorish studio chieftain. Despising the film capital and everything it stands for, Barton Fink comes down with an acute case of writer's block. He is looked after by a secretary who has been acting as a ghost-writer for an alcoholic screenwriter. Also keeping tabs on Fink is a garrulous travelling salesman, the most likeable, stable character in the picture. And then comes the plot twist to end all plot twists, plunging Barton Fink into a surreal nightmare that would make Hieronymus Bosch look like a house painter. Once more, Ethan and Joel Coen serve up a smorgasbord of quirkiness and kinkiness, where nothing is what it seems and nothing turns out as planned.

Part of our Coen Brothers season