Boasting the perfect cast, it stars Jeff Bridges, John Goodman, Steve Buscemi, Julianne Moore and John Turturro in colourful and hugely entertaining roles.
The story is seemingly a sprawling mishmash of disparate ingredients ranging from bowling and pot smoking to serious crime and political statements; but in reality, all plot elements fit tightly together. Influenced by classic noir, The Big Lebowski is a tribute to Raymond Chandler’s notoriously convoluted novels. The Coen’s film is loosely based on Chandler’s The Big Sleep as well as Robert Altman’s 1973 film adaptation of The Long Goodbye.
An important element of The Big Lebowski is Joel and Ethan Coen’s homage to Busby Berkeley, the highly influential Hollywood musical choreographer who was prolific in the 1930s and 1940s. Berkeley’s elaborate musical production numbers involved complex geometric patterns, large numbers of showgirls and fantastical props in kaleidoscopic performances. The Coen brothers borrow specifically from Mervyn LeRoy’s Gold Diggers of 1933 which contains four song and dance sequences designed, staged and choreographed by Berkeley. The Coen’s use elements from each of these sequences in two hallucination scenes in their own film.
The Big Lebowski‘s story is really secondary to the bizarre characters which inhabit it and the first-rate actors who bring them to life. Apart from the pitch-perfect central performances from Bridges and Goodman, each supporting character vibrantly adds to this hilarious cinematic cocktail of ideas.
The Big Lebowski is an original. A must-see. And it only gets better with repeat viewings.
As always, we recommend you don’t ruin any surprises by reading spoilers or watching this trailer:
Title: The Big Lebowski
Direction: Joel Coen, Ethan Coen
Screenplay: Ethan Coen, Joel Coen
Cinematography: Roger Deakins
Editing: Tricia Cooke, Roderick Jaynes
Score: Carter Burwell
Stars: Jeff Bridges, John Goodman, Steve Buscemi, David Huddleston, Julianne Moore, Tara Reid, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Sam Elliott, Ben Gazzara, Peter Stormare, John Turturro, Jon Polito, David Thewlis, Mark Pellegrino, Philip Moon, Jimmie Dale Gilmore, Jack Kehler, Leon Russom, Asia Carrera