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  Big Lebowski, The Taking it easy for all us sinners
Year: 1998
Director: Joel Coen
Stars: Jeff Bridges, Julianne Moore, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Sam Elliott, John Goodman, David Huddleston, John Turturro, Steve Buscemi, Tara Reid, Philip Moon, Mark Pellegrino, Peter Stormare, Flea, Torsten Voges, Jimmie Dale Gilmore, Jack Kehler, Ben Gazzara
Genre: ComedyBuy from Amazon
Rating:  9 (from 8 votes)
Review: Jeff Bridges was handed a gift of character in Jeffrey ‘The Dude’ Lebowski. He’s an unemployed middle aged stoner who returns home one day during the Gulf War to find two thugs in his LA apartment. They work for a man called Jackie Treehorn, and explain that they’ve come to collect the money that Jeffrey’s wife, Bunny, owes to their boss.

But it’s a case of mistaken identity, the Jeffrey Lebowski whose head they’re sticking down the toilet isn’t the millionaire Jeffrey Lebowski they were looking for. Realising the obvious, that the man they’ve assaulted isn’t a millionaire, they leave, but not before one of them, an ‘Asian-American’ named Wu, pees on The Dude’s rug.

The central premise for the film is the Dude’s attempts to get compensation for this soiled rug. It wasn’t just any rug, you see, it really tied the room together. Encouraged by his bowling buddy Walt (John Goodman), a Vietnam vet who thinks everything somehow relates to the war, he goes to see the other Jeffrey Lebowski to ask to seek reimbursement. This meeting sets into motion a chain of events that pay homage to the work of Raymond Chandler, particularly ‘The Big Sleep’, albeit in a post-modern fashion. The Dude falls into the role of a private dick (or a brother Seamus if you prefer) trying to work out what has happened to Bunny Lebowski, who has apparently been kidnapped.

There are many more plot details that I won’t even try to explain. There’s too many ins, outs, and interested parties for me to possible do it justice. If you haven’t seen the film, I’ll just confuse you, and if you have seen it you should already know.

The Big Lebowski has everything you could possibly want in a film. The camerawork by Roger Deakins shines and sparkles as T-Bone Burnett’s inspired soundtrack plays over the top. The sharp dialogue the Coen brothers are renowned for is at its very best here, particularly in the mis-conversations between The Dude, Walt and Donnie (Steve Buscemi) in the bowling alley. There’s an array of hilarious supporting characters, the best of all being Jesus, a Hispanic paedophile played by John Turturro.

In amidst all the merriment, serious points are being made. For instance, one Lebowski asks the other whether “being prepared to do the right thing, whatever the cost, isn’t that what makes a man?” To which The Dude replies, “Sure, that and a pair of testicles.”
Reviewer: Bruce Munro

 

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