Barton Fink

Barton Fink

DVD - 2003
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A darkly comic ride, this Coen brothers film gleefully attacks the Hollywood system and those who seek to sell out to it, portraying the writer's suffering as a loony vision of hell. John Turturro plays the title character, a pretentious left-wing writer from New York City who is brought to 1930s Hollywood to write a script for a wrestling movie for palooka actor Wallace Beery. Fink thinks the job is beneath him, but his desire for acceptance gets the better of him, and he suddenly finds himself holed up in a fleabag hotel in Los Angeles, where he is almost immediately afflicted with writer's block. Various distractions begin to enter his life, first in the form of a famous southern writer (John Mahoney) whom Fink idolizes, and then his neighbor in the hotel, a seemingly amiable salesman played by John Goodman. The writer turns out to be a self-loathing drunk whose secretary (Judy Davis) is the one actually doing the writing. And the neighbor, the working-class hero who Fink made his reputation writing about, may have a horrifying secret of his own
A satire about a New York playwright who relocates to Hollywood to write screenplays and experiences writer's block.


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Dec 20, 2017

Written, produced, directed and edited by the Coen brothers in 1991, this black-humor-thriller tells about the life of Barton Fink---a young New York City playwright who is hired to write scripts for a film studio in Hollywood.
It is an unbelievably and shockingly crazy story you wouldn't be able to believe.
You might wonder who the girl is in the picture on the wall.
You can hardly make any sense out of this flick.
It is, however, entertaining for sure.

Feb 16, 2016

The most reputable filmmakers seem to relate their experience of Hollywood the way you compulsively check the mirror when you've broken a tooth, to assess again & again how bad the damage & ugliness really are. Here the mechanisms of commercialized art & the peculiar hierarchies & hive-mind of the movie studio are played out against a brilliantly realized Los Angeles in the 1940s. Blending the 'aw shucks' innocence of mid-20th-century American theater with a healthy dose of modern darkness & angst, we're left with a character who is nothing but tragic flaws, & into great hells is where he falls, despite his obstinate higher yearnings. It had been a few years for me, so it was a treat to recognize actors I've come to admire since...John Mahoney, who brings none of his boyish charm from 'Moonstruck', & Judy Davis, who brings ALL of her tragic, lovelorn, world-weary art-wife resignation from 'Naked Lunch'. The plot manages to be intricate but not complicated, & if some of the closing strokes came on a little heavy-handed, I can accept that every director risks riding a metaphor into the ground sometimes. This is a film that justifiably immortalized its creators & players, & stands as a caution against artistic arrogance & self-absorption to the present. Five jitterbuggin' stars. CR

Feb 28, 2013

Cannot remember what I was expecting from this movie, but the end result was not what I thought. (Whatever that was!) Too many loose ends for my taste. Interesting scenes, individually, but foreshadowing was a little much.

RustyRook Mar 08, 2012

Barton Fink, the protagonist, has his first taste of success with a Broadway play about the honour of the working class and is contracted to write a script for a Hollywood B-film during the '40s. Staying at the Earle Hotel, he struggles with writer's block and finds comfort in chats with his neighbour, an insurance salesman. Personally, I found it a rather plain movie, despite the surreality of the final act. The undercurrents aren't subtle enough to remain subtle and the movie, while well done, felt oddly empty. Neat writing and good acting saved it enough for me to enjoy it.


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