Barton Fink

Barton Fink

DVD - 2003
Average Rating:
3
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In Hollywood on the eve of World War II, Barton Fink, the New York playwright, arrives to work as a screenwriter. He is assigned a low-brow wrestling movie, and quickly develops writer's block, which is aggravated by the seedy hotel he is staying in and his aggressively jovial neighbor, Charlie. Barton's struggle to create a truly great screenplay leads from the strange and unproductive to the terrifying and surreal.
Publisher: Beverly Hills, Calif. : Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment, 2003
Edition: Widescreen ed
Branch Call Number: DVD F Bar

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ClarkHarveyRoth
Feb 16, 2016

The most reputable filmmakers seem to relate their experience of Hollywood the way you compulsively check the mirror when you've broken a tooth, to assess again & again how bad the damage & ugliness really are. Here the mechanisms of commercialized art & the peculiar hierarchies & hive-mind of the movie studio are played out against a brilliantly realized Los Angeles in the 1940s. Blending the 'aw shucks' innocence of mid-20th-century American theater with a healthy dose of modern darkness & angst, we're left with a character who is nothing but tragic flaws, & into great hells is where he falls, despite his obstinate higher yearnings. It had been a few years for me, so it was a treat to recognize actors I've come to admire since...John Mahoney, who brings none of his boyish charm from 'Moonstruck', & Judy Davis, who brings ALL of her tragic, lovelorn, world-weary art-wife resignation from 'Naked Lunch'. The plot manages to be intricate but not complicated, & if some of the closing strokes came on a little heavy-handed, I can accept that every director risks riding a metaphor into the ground sometimes. This is a film that justifiably immortalized its creators & players, & stands as a caution against artistic arrogance & self-absorption to the present. Five jitterbuggin' stars. CR

k
krrristyk
Feb 28, 2013

Cannot remember what I was expecting from this movie, but the end result was not what I thought. (Whatever that was!) Too many loose ends for my taste. Interesting scenes, individually, but foreshadowing was a little much.

RustyRook Mar 08, 2012

Barton Fink, the protagonist, has his first taste of success with a Broadway play about the honour of the working class and is contracted to write a script for a Hollywood B-film during the '40s. Staying at the Earle Hotel, he struggles with writer's block and finds comfort in chats with his neighbour, an insurance salesman. Personally, I found it a rather plain movie, despite the surreality of the final act. The undercurrents aren't subtle enough to remain subtle and the movie, while well done, felt oddly empty. Neat writing and good acting saved it enough for me to enjoy it.

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