Barton Fink

Film, Comedy
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Barton Fink
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.

By: GA

Release details

Release date: Wednesday September 25 1991
Duration: 116 mins

Cast and crew

Director: Joel Coen
Screenwriter: Joel Coen, Ethan Coen
Cast: Michael Lerner
John Turturro
John Goodman
John Mahoney
Judy Davis
Jon Polito
Tony Shalhoub
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