A summation of brick building. No, you shut up!

A Serious Man

I have the biggest hard-on for Joel and Ethan Coen, and it is always hilarious how the phrase 'Joel and Ethan Coen' just belong together as one entity. 'Joel Coen' seems too lonely. 'Ethan Coen' seems to ambiguous. 'Joel and Ethan Coen' is just right. Perhaps it's because the duo have made so many wonderful films together that to separate them is to take half of their film making prowess away. What can be said about them is that they know how to tell a story, and they know that they know how to tell a story. I've noticed that throughout their film making history, they have always strictly stuck to a certain theme. With The Big Lebowski, the theme tends to be one of losing track of where you are in the midst of something large. Or something that you think is large. Or something that could be large but kind of isn't because it's pointless to a painful extent ... or something ...

To a shorter extent, No Country for Old Men follows the theme of unstoppable change, and how it's coming whether you can appreciate it or not. Burn After Reading is a simple theme of ...'Wait a minute, what!?' Now here we are with A Serious Man, which follows the exploits of a young-er, strange professor of mathematics of some kind. Everything seems to be fine. Remember that book in the bible, the book of Job? The one where God, as South Park conveniently explains, is about how God destroys a man's life just to prove to Satan that their love for him conquers all? That one. Think of that, and then look at this film. Why are all of these things happening to Larry Gopnik, the protagonist of the story, with a winning, sad, and confused performance by Michael Stuhlbargh? To put the thoughts to words, 'Why does my wife want to leave me? Who the fuck does Sy Ableman think he is? The rabbi is too busy because he's thinking? What the hell does the writing on the teeth even mean? What does anything have to do with anything!?'

So, I suppose you have an answer?

Well, not necessarily. All I have is what I can interpret. I know I'm good at interpreting because it's the only reason I passed my English A.P. exam with a three. I read from someone who seemed to be educated enough that the answer is simple. There is no reason for anything to be happening, other than the fact that Gopnik has run into a string of bad luck. It could be a test of endurance from God. It could be the way the universe aligns with our solar system. Ever read The Wizard of Earthsea? Neither did I. BUT! They do discuss the idea that throwing a rock across a pond, or just throwing a rock in general changes the world. Geographically, yes, I suppose that makes sense, but think about it in terms of philosophy. If I hadn't thrown that rock, where would my life be? Maybe the answer to this equation lies in the simple place of things. Who knows. I think that is a pretty good interpretation.

Me? I walked out thinking that it was a series of cruel games. Some people on the planet believe that every odd is stacked against them for whatever reason. I've had days like that. I'd argue that most people have had those days. Perhaps it's easy to put blame on God, and maybe through God's inability to get through to his subject, he conducts an ever more powerful and cruel punchline to a disgusting joke. The last frame will leave you ... thinking. It's such a powerful image, and it might not mean anything. I really love how the Coen's can create such a powerful image that leaves so much up to the imagination, and could possibly mislead itself to actually mean something. I suppose the point here is that I don't necessarily have an answer so much as I have my own ideas. Here's a challenge! Why don't you, the reader, go out and spend the money to see this wonderful movie and let me know. No, really. Go ahead. I'll wait.

My God! My ... God!

I'd rather not bring religion into this if that's okay ... wait, nevermind. A good half of this article ... you know what? I'll let it fly this time save for the hypocritical declarations. Har har har. I love you too, reader! BUT THAT ENDING, yes? Could it truly be that the almighty one himself is so upset over the outcome of this travesty? Or is it just chance that the calm afterwards only meant for the worst to come? I mean, come on! You played Final Fantasy X didn't you? Perhaps Minneapolis serves as a sort of calmland, ready to face down indeterminable evil. There are so many ways to go, yet it is so vague. By now, I'm sure you get the gist of the overall movie itself, so I will leave the rest up to you, my lovely reader. Do enjoy yourself, and send my love to the Coen's when you see them.


Category Comment Rating
Originality Perfectly original idea, with an ending that will blow your mind. 5
Acting The Five largely goes to Stuhlbarg and Richard Kind. Both performances required so much gravitas. 5
Soundtrack A wonderful addition to this movie, and provided more than enough to suggest an emotion without insisting upon it. 5
Effects/Presentation The Coen's style is so original and defined. That last image will haunt you. 5
Storyline There is so much to take away from it, and there is so much to look into. 5
Isikins Worthy? The best film of the year thus far. 5
Final Verdict: 5


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The following comments after this point are old comments. Yay!

gpdave1 jabbers:

Smilie!so the movie is a series of random serious moments of serious seriousness, in series? Seriously?
December 5th 2009, 11:26 PM
A Serious CP Charge
A Serious Phone Call
A Serious Cat
A Serious Men