Sunday, 10 April 2016

New Shiz Has Come To Light Man!

For those faint of heart and those who don't think swearing on blogs is good (my sister), I've altered a quote from The Dude. All Lebowski fans know it though.

This part was actually meant to be part of my March Watch List but as you can see, there was so much more to say about the film.

The latest Coen Brothers film had been given a lot more attention than their previous films. When the film was released the film definitely earned the 'buzz' it was and had been receiving. It has been called a masterpiece and it has at the same time been puffed up. The posters are misleading as are the trailers. The plot has been called a red herring and as my aunt pointed out, no one has mentioned what is really going on. I explained to her that if all the reviews gave away what was really going on, the audience would not 'get it' or be put off from seeing the film altogether. Let me get one thing straight, I thought the film was brilliant. But I mean everything was brilliant from concept to seeing it on the big screen. If I'm right, this whole orchestration was cleverly put together not only by the Coens but by the production and distribution companies.
On the surface the story seems to be about a famous actor, Baird Whitlock, who is kidnapped by a shady group calling themselves, The Future. Eddie Mannix, head of physical production at Capitol Pictures and what is known in the business as a 'fixer', either stops or prevents any scandalous behavior ofthe studio's stars and creatives out of the press. We go through an average day for Mannix starting with a confession where he talks about lying to his wife about smoking. He then deals with various issues that need his attention and then when the kidnapping lands in his lap he is distracted from smaller things such as the amazing job offer from an aviation company.
Does everyone know that Joel and Ethan edit their own films? They know what they want from the start, before the camera starts rolling. I hope this doesn't make them sound calculating beacuse I admire them and their work.
There is an ominous feeling throughout, right up until the final reveal which is almost an anti climax. This is what the Coens do best. They pull into the story, the characters, the setting, once you've taken it all in, they twist it. You think you've gone to see a film set in 50s Hollywood, the star system in full swing with a kidnapping to add to boot. Well you're half right.
In my opinion, or rather, my theory is that it's all a ruse. A fantastic ruse. There are roles in the film that didn't need to be played by a 'big' name but here they are appearing for a few minutes. Actors of the moment headlining, Scarlett Jonansson and Channing Tatum, draw in the crowd while faithful Coen fans will know Tilda Swinton and Josh Brolin and the like. People who wouldn't necessarily go see a Coen Brothers film will see this  (my point has been proven by the way ) film because of the trailers, the supposed story, the actors and the fact it's set in Hollywood. Period pieces set in this place are fascinating.

 Now the Coens have their old and new audience's attention. The new see the glitz and the old should see that this is the Coens at their best. It's not really a mystery story it's about history and poking fun at it. It's also a massive 'dig' at Hollywood now.
They are making fun of Hollywood in a way that we see as nostalgic and reminiscent but really every scene has a purpose. They have Tatum playing a sailor singing 'We Ain't Gonna See No Dames' when he's actually a closested actor and he does leave to go to sea. Scarlett Jonansson is playing an angelic mermaid when she's really been having affairs with married directors. Hobie Doyle is the only genuine article, made to look or seem stupid as he's hustled off set having been told 'the studio is changing your image' to be in a broadway play adaptation and given lines he can't say, but he is in fact the most level headed and most sensible of them all.

The mystery of the group calling themselves 'The Future' are half creepy and half idealistic. They trick Baird into joining them, they think through the power of logic but in fact he doesn't understand whats going on and ends up grand standing. Another dig at Hollywood and 'stupid' actors. 
Then you have Eddie Mannix who knows, sees and tries to fix all. Of all the things he sees and does, the thing he is most stressed about is lying to his wife about his smoking. It's comical but also quite sweet, as you see in the one scene you see Eddie at home with his family. In the grand scheme of things, this small thing seems trivial compared to a kidnapping, a fake adoption and a news story that could potentially ruin several careers. But lying to his wife about smoking is what keeps Eddie Mannix awake with guilt.

My theories are difficult to explain in writing I think but hopefully it all comes across. I haven't given the game away just in case there are those who haven't seen the film yet.

Any other theories out there?

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