The Brothers Coen - OZY | A Modern Media Company

The Brothers Coen

The Brothers Coen

By Eugene S. Robinson

Javiar Bardem in a scene from No Country For Old Men.


Because what’s the most you ever lost on a coin toss?

By Eugene S. Robinson

You have two types of Coen brothers fans.

The ones who like the broadly drawn yuks of The Big Lebowski, the slapstick of O Brother, Where Art Thou? or the self-satisfied Fargo, all great films in their own right. And then you have the killjoys who love and worship the grim stuff of Blood SimpleMiller’s Crossing or the ultra-dark No Country for Old Men. 

Watch the trailer for the Coen brothers’ latest, Inside Llewyn Davis, in select cities December 6.

To which we say: If we want jokes in our flicks, we’ll stick with the Farrelly brothers. Otherwise we cast our vote for the dark side.

These movies still have black humor; it’s just minus the wacky oddballing. The Coen brothers pull fewer punches with their rougher stuff, save the pratfalls, and stare into the abyss of human behavior riven by greed, jealousy and unbridled madness. These are the films, and moments, that haunt, especially if you’ve spent time with hard cases — thugs, hooligan and badasses — and even if you have not.

For an example of their deadly mind messing, see Anton Chigurh, adroitly played by Javier Bardem in their adaption of Cormac McCarthy’s No Country for Old Men, asking a baffled and then frightened gas station worker what’s the most he ever lost on a coin toss. In Miller’s Crossing, John Turturro is at his reptilian best when he asks Gabriel Byrne to “look into his heart” after he’s screwed him once and will in all likelihood screw him again, given the chance. 

The Coens’ newest movie, Inside Llewyn Davis, opens this week and and tells the tale of a creatively blocked musician in New York’s Greenwich Village of the early 1960s. While it is probably not going to fill our fix for mordant moods and blackening humors, it still is a Coen brothers flick.

Which means smarter, meaner and cooler than half a dozen others. 

Until it comes out, we’ll be busy reliving this.


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