Auteur 101: The Coen Brothers30 April 2013
Joel and Ethan Coen hold the distinction of being arguably the most acclaimed American filmmaking duo of recent times. They jointly write, produce and direct all of their projects, as well as assuming the role of editor under the pseudonym of Roderick James.
Their films are distinguished by a willingness to offer a unique take on well-worn genres, often featuring complex overlapping narratives combined with memorable quirky characters. The Coen brothers have also covered a large amount of stylistic ground throughout their career. Their recent output alone has included a Wester (True Grit) and a dark existential comedy (A Serious Man).
Their 1996 crime film Fargo is one of the definite highlights of the brothers’ filmography. Fargo’s unexpected commercial success made it the first of its particular brand of filmmaking to reach a broad audience. Its stature has only grown as time has passed.
Although poorly received at the time of its release, 1998’s bewildering The Big Lebowski has since gone on to become a cult classic. Few films have combined a Raymond Chandler-influenced detective story, slacker humour, and freeform dream sequences in quite the same way.
2007’s No Country For Old Men notably saw the brothers receive Academy awards for Best Picture, Best Director, and Best Adapted Screenplay for their remarkable adaption of Cormac McCarthy’s novel.
Keep an eye out for their new film Inside Llewyn Davis, out later this year.