Ah, the Coen Brothers. Undoubtedly the most innovative and versatile directors working in film today. Is there a genre they haven’t turned upside-down and inside-out? They’ve made cult films (Blood Simple, The Big Lebowski), comedies (Raising Arizona, Burn Before Reading, The Ladykillers), Musicals (O’ Brother, Where Art Thou?), modern westerns (No Country For Old Men), crime dramas (Fargo, Miller’s Crossing), modern satire (Intolerable Cruelty), and period pieces (The Hudsucker Proxy). About the only thing they haven’t done is a Science Fiction story (unless you count The Man Who Wasn’t There) or had a movie that falls neatly into any of those genres (Hudsucker is comedy, No Country and Blood Simple are crime drama, Lebowski is modern satire, O’ Brother is period, etc.) There are only a few filmmakers who are able to stamp their films with a signature that is easily identifiable without resorting to certain stylistic mannerisms. To be unique, identifiable, and somehow completely different in each film seems impossible. Yet the Coen brothers manage it again and again. You might be able to connect Arizona with O’ Brother, or even Hudsucker. You might think that Blood Simple, Miller’s Crossing, and No Country were all made by the same creators. The connection between Barton Fink and The Man Who Wasn’t There might be obvious. But to think all these movies were made by the same two people simply boggles the imagination.
There has simply never been a filmmaker like the Coen brothers. (And if you think I messed up the tense of the verb then simply watch the interviews with cast and crew on their disks. The most common statement is that they seem to be two people with the same mind.)
So now we come to the trailer for their next film- A Serious Man. Like most of the trailers for their films you come away with a feeling for the film but no idea what it’s going to be like or about. Just enjoy a preview that doesn’t telegraph every important plot point (as so many trailers made by merchandising departments do nowadays) and stands on its own as a little piece of cinema verite.
Personally, I can’t wait.