Friday, 18 December 2009

A Serious Man

To see the Coen Brothers' latest film, A Serious Man, last night. One of the brothers' best films, this is a dark comedy about a midwestern Jewish professor Larry Kopnik whose life is beginning to resemble the car crash that occurs during the movie. His wife is leaving him for the insufferable Sy, his students are bribing him, his racist neighbour is making life hell, his rabbis offer trite tales instead of the wisdom he seeks and he faces constant calls from Dick Dutton demanding payment for albums he didn't order from a music club. All this takes place as his son prepares for his Bar Mitzvah, and the film is not only laced with a wonderful sense of time - 1967 - and place, together with an affectionate portrait of the Jewish community with which the Brothers are so familiar. There is uniformly excellent acting, especially from the relatively unknown Michael Stuhlbarg as Kopnik, with great support from Richard Kind as his wayward brother and Fred Melamed as Sy. Not to be missed.

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