June 21, 2024 | Rome, Italy

Barton Fink

By |2018-03-21T18:29:56+01:00July 19th, 2006|Reviews|


Date: 1991

Director: Joel and Ethan Coen

Starring: John Turturro, John Goodman

In 1941, nerdy, whiz-kid Manhattan playwright Barton Fink (John Turturro) heads for LA to write a big-time movie, or so he thinks. Instead, he gets a wrestling script. His neurotic Manhattan verve undercut by LA madness, he’s exposed to a parade of caricature eccentrics and finds a friend in salesman Charlie Meadows (John Goodman). The Coen brothers weld Nathaniel West’s moody, claustrophobic Hollywood with Fellini faces. And Barton’s the worse for it. He and his woogly glasses get writer’s block. Humidity provokes hallucinations (behold melting wallpaper). Even Art Deco goes Gothic. And Charlie turns out to be a serial killer.

As always, the Joel and Ethan Coen churn out this pseudo-comic dread with a smile. Turturro and Goodman (who perspires worth 10 summers) are a fine match. “Fink” is old Hollywood Coenized.

About the Author:

A military brat, Marcia Yarrow was born in Hamburg, Germany but grew up in Germany, Spain, and Provo, Utah. She's been writing for the magazine since its creation in 2004.