Barton Fink

( 5 )

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Whether or not one likes the films of Joel and Ethan Coen, die-hard cinema aficionados have to appreciate the craftsmanship that goes into each one. From the script to the cinematography, the Coen films always have something that at least could be classified as interesting. While most of their films can be labeled as successes on these merits, the high point is clearly Barton Fink. The basic story elements and characterizations come together to produce a film that is greater than ...
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Editorial Reviews

All Movie Guide
Whether or not one likes the films of Joel and Ethan Coen, die-hard cinema aficionados have to appreciate the craftsmanship that goes into each one. From the script to the cinematography, the Coen films always have something that at least could be classified as interesting. While most of their films can be labeled as successes on these merits, the high point is clearly Barton Fink. The basic story elements and characterizations come together to produce a film that is greater than the sum of its individual parts. John Turturro is the title character, a 1940s socialist playwright brought to Hollywood to work inside the studio system. From the outset, it's obvious that this is going to be a fish-out-of-water story to the nth degree, and as Barton encounters others he reacts with the innocence of a schoolboy. John Goodman is a genial salesman who is Barton's neighbor in the seedy hotel he lives in, and his philosophy of life begins to take hold on Barton until his true colors come out. There is also a separate subplot with John Mahoney as a William Faulkner-inspired novelist and Judy Davis as his suffering secretary/mistress, which very nicely adds another layer to the assault that Hollywood is leveling on Barton's personality. The single best performance is by Michael Lerner as the studio boss who hires Barton to write a wrestling picture. The Coens juxtapose the beauty and sunshine of southern California with the darkness and despair of Barton's hotel room, which is more or less the world he is forced to inhabit when his talents desert him. Even that world is brought down through, let's say, unusual circumstances that serve to cement Barton's complete breakdown. Turturro is perfect in the role, his physical appearance perfectly complementing his personification of the blocked writer. The film overall makes the statement that one success doesn't necessarily translate into a career, which is a lesson that Barton learns the hard way. Dan Friedman
All Movie Guide - Dan Friedman
Whether or not one likes the films of Joel and Ethan Coen, die-hard cinema aficionados have to appreciate the craftsmanship that goes into each one. From the script to the cinematography, the Coen films always have something that at least could be classified as interesting. While most of their films can be labeled as successes on these merits, the high point is clearly Barton Fink. The basic story elements and characterizations come together to produce a film that is greater than the sum of its individual parts. John Turturro is the title character, a 1940s socialist playwright brought to Hollywood to work inside the studio system. From the outset, it's obvious that this is going to be a fish-out-of-water story to the nth degree, and as Barton encounters others he reacts with the innocence of a schoolboy. John Goodman is a genial salesman who is Barton's neighbor in the seedy hotel he lives in, and his philosophy of life begins to take hold on Barton until his true colors come out. There is also a separate subplot with John Mahoney as a William Faulkner-inspired novelist and Judy Davis as his suffering secretary/mistress, which very nicely adds another layer to the assault that Hollywood is leveling on Barton's personality. The single best performance is by Michael Lerner as the studio boss who hires Barton to write a wrestling picture. The Coens juxtapose the beauty and sunshine of southern California with the darkness and despair of Barton's hotel room, which is more or less the world he is forced to inhabit when his talents desert him. Even that world is brought down through, let's say, unusual circumstances that serve to cement Barton's complete breakdown. Turturro is perfect in the role, his physical appearance perfectly complementing his personification of the blocked writer. The film overall makes the statement that one success doesn't necessarily translate into a career, which is a lesson that Barton learns the hard way.
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Product Details

  • Release Date: 8/18/1993
  • UPC: 086162190537
  • Original Release: 1991
  • Rating:

  • Source: 20TH CENTURY FOX
  • Format: VHS

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
John Turturro Barton Fink
John Goodman Charlie Meadows
Judy Davis Audrey Taylor
Michael Lerner Jack Lipnick
John Mahoney W.P. Mayhew
Tony Shalhoub Ben Geisler
Jon Polito Lou Breeze
Steve Buscemi Chet
David Warrilow Garland Stanford
Richard Portnow Detective Mastrionotti
Christopher Murney Detective Deutsch
Anthony Gordon Maitre d'
Robert Beecher Referee
Harry Bugin Pete
Lance Davis Richard St. Clair
Jack Denbo Stagehand
Meagen Fay Pippy Carnahan
Max Grodenchik Clapper Boy
I.M. Hobson Derek
Jana Marie Hupp USO Girl
Donna Isaacson
Johnny Judkins Sailor
John Lyons
William Preston Robertson Voice Only
Darwyn Swalve Wrestler
Isabelle Townsend Beauty
Gayle Vance Geisler's Secretary
Technical Credits
Joel Coen Director, Screenwriter
Ben Barenholtz Producer
Michael Berenbaum Editor
Jean A. Black Makeup
Carter Burwell Score Composer
Joe Camp III Asst. Director
Ethan Coen Producer, Screenwriter
Roger Deakins Cinematographer
Bill Durkin Producer
Richard Fernandez Set Decoration/Design
Dennis Gassner Production Designer
Robert C. Goldstein Art Director
Nancy Haigh Set Decoration/Design
Richard Hornung Costumes/Costume Designer
Roderick Jaynes Editor
Alma Kuttruff Production Manager
Bill Landrum Choreography
Jacqui Landrum Choreography
Rick Lazzarini Makeup
Leslie McDonald Art Director
Jim Pedas Producer
Ted Pedas Producer
Graham Place Co-producer
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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 5 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(3)

4 Star

(1)

3 Star

(0)

2 Star

(0)

1 Star

(1)

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Sort by: Showing all of 5 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    Barton Fink

    I thought this movie was...Okay... at first...But then I watched it again and again.....And I finally understand how truly genious this movie is. Yes, it IS strange, dark, bizarre, a little demented, and also somewhat funny... but it's done artistically and with care. I'm 13 and this is one of the best films I've seen. It's a dark, smart, and funny comedy. This has some of the greatest perfomances by some of my favorite actors such as John Goodman, John Turturro, and Tony Shalhoub. This is the best Coen brother film that I've seen, next to Fargo. Great movie.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    Barton Fink

    This is one of my favorite movies of all time. It is done with the Hitchcock style of filming, where what you don't see is what scares you the most. One of the best films I've seen in my 58 years of living. The ending will be in your thoughts for weeks. Very well done. I applaude this darkly stylish thrill-comedy. Clap. Clap.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    one of those rare movies

    This is one of those rare truly brilliant movies whose greatness cannot be explained. It has twisted, oddball characters (ala raizing arizona,spinal tap,david lynch) who make you laugh while revealing the ugliness of being human - both inside and out. John Goodman's performance might be the best I have ever seen. It certainly couldn't be done any better.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    hated it

    I hated this film. After seeing it in the theatre, I felt that I had wasted my money and time. It was bizarre and depressing. Why would someone want to create this?

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 24, 2010

    No text was provided for this review.

Sort by: Showing all of 5 Customer Reviews