In 1941, the well-meaning, vaguely leftist Broadway playwright of the title (Turturro) tries to settle into a rancid Hollywood hotel room to write his first script for eccentric mogul Jack Lipnick (Lerner). Trouble is, it's a Wallace Beery wrestling pic, and he develops a severe case of writer's block. His only hope, it seems, is to take inspiration from a fellow writer's 'secretary' (Davis) and from his insurance salesman neighbour (Goodman), welcomed by Fink as a living paradigm of the 'Common Man'. The tortuous narrative twists that have always marked the Coens' work here inform the entire structure of the movie. As it suddenly shifts gear from its bizarre blend of brooding psychodrama and screwball satire, the film accelerates into a Gothic fantasy as outrageous as it is terrifying. Somehow everything coheres, thanks to the Coens' superb writing and assured direction, and a roster of marvellous performances. The result works on numerous levels, thrilling the mind, ears and eyes, and racking the nerves.