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USA 1997
Directed by
Joel Coen
112 minutes
Rated M

Reviewed by
Bernard Hemingway
4.5 stars

The Big Lebowski

The Coen brothers turn out another splendidly crafted work with great visuals, terrific dialogue, a bunch of engagingly dysfunctional characters, an inventive story line (that seems to owe quite a bit plotwise to The Big Sleep) and a typically eclectic soundtrack. Its offbeat, over-the-top humour will not appeal to everyone and depending on your mood it arguably runs slightly off the rails towards the end as it tries too hard for laughs (the oily private dick played by Jon Polito, the fight with the nihilists that is a bit lame) but for the most part it tickles consistently and occasionally induces outright laughter.

The ever-dependable Jeff Bridges is great value as The Dude, a chronic layabout who gets mistaken for another Jeffrey Lebowski, a wealthy businessman (David Huddleston) in what is an escalating comedy of errors. John Goodman is outstanding as his bowling buddy, Walter, a sociopathic ex-Vietnam veteran, whilst Steve Buscemi plays their mild-mannered associate, Donny. John Tuturro gives a short but wonderful performance as a Latino pederast, whilst Ben Gazzara, Julianne Moore, Phillip Seymour Hoffman and David Thewlis round out a great cast list, although frankly Thewlis's giggling video artist is a bit of a weak point.

 

 

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