Raising Arizona

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The superbly labyrinthine plotting of Blood Simple must have been a hard act to follow; praise be, then, to the Brothers Coen for confounding all expectations with this fervently inventive comedy. Sublimely incompetent convenience-store robber Hi McDonnough (Cage, at his best yet) seems doomed to return repeatedly to the same penitentiary until true love hoves in view in the form of prison officer Edwina (Hunter). Spliced in a trice, the frustratedly infertile couple kidnap one (surely he won't be missed?) of the celebrated Arizona quintuplets, heirs to an unpainted-furniture fortune. But happiness being evanescent, complications ensue when a pair of Hi's old cellmates turn up in search of sanctuary; and then there's the problem of a rabbit-shooting biker of hellish hue, hired by Arizona Senior to find his missing brat. What makes this hectic farce so fresh and funny is the sheer fertility of the writing, while the lives and times of Hi, Ed and friends are painted in splendidly seedy colours, turning Arizona into a mythical haven for a memorable gaggle of no-hopers, halfwits and has-beens. Starting from a point of delirious excess, the film leaps into dark and virtually uncharted territory to soar like a comet.

Release details

Duration: 94 mins

Cast and crew

Director: Joel Coen
Screenwriter: Ethan Coen, Joel Coen
Cast: Nicolas Cage
Holly Hunter
Trey Wilson
John Goodman
William Forsythe
Sam McMurray
Randall 'Tex' Cobb
M Emmet Walsh
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