The Big Lebowski, the great-movie-having-it-all Casablanca

The Big Lebowski

You can’t find any movie that has a dude engaging in a plan to confront an adolescent car thief while watching his landlord perform an interpretative dance while dressed as a tree rather than The Big Lebowski, even with the great-movie-having-it-all Casablanca.

There is nothing original or particularly inspired about liking The Big Lebowski. So predictable, you’ll say. Yes,  it’s not even the best film by the Coen brothers, but year after year, movie after movie, I’ve never watched anything that I love as much as The Big Lebowski.

The Big Lebowski

So, how good it could be that makes me love it so much? The plots seems to be based on The Big Sleep of Raymond Chandler. Our hero of the movie, The Dude (Jeff Bridges), has his real name of Lebowski happening to be similar to a local millionaire, whose wife has been kidnapped. It results Dude being indicted into a bluff may involve German nihilists.

With Coen brothers’ directing, the cast has shown off their amazing performance; it’s such the Coens’ talent of condensing the essence of an actor’s unique qualities into a role they were seemingly born to play. Julianne Moore has done a great job as she playing Maude Lebowski – a glacial, maniacal artist. John Goodman become the frustrated and frustrating Walter Sobchak, a Vietnam veteran who carries his ex-wife’s Pomeranian around while telling Donny Kerabatsos (Steve Buscemi) to shut it, is arguably his best. The backdrop to this is a tense local bowling championship in which The Dude is being threatened by a pedophile called Jesus Quintana (John Turturro).

Someone has once said: “In order to be funny you have to be sad first.” The Big Lebowski, like almost everything in the Coens’ repertoire, is deadpan hilarity tinged with the morose. There is a sense, though it plays out very quietly, that The Dude is a man whose time has passed. The millionaire Lebwoski calls him a bum, the police throw cups at his head because he is an old hippy who contributes nothing, and a local pornographer drugs him because he’s a minor irritant. It’s never quite clear whether it bothers The Dude. The film hints, but only as an aside, that money corrupts; leaving The Dude to fight a lone battle against men who treat women objects-like.

The Big Lebowski

This movie is one of the few times that directors has truly captured the glass-eyed effects of weed without resorting to cliché. Is The Dude a self-contained stoner or delusional loner? It’s hard to tell because his exclusive concern revolves around locating a missing rug.

Still, the Dude is clearly our flawed hero. The Coens never forget the redeeming power of love, and in The Big Lebowski, it is the force behind one of the most brilliant dream sequences ever to appear in a movie. The Dude is finding himself again through events of the film, and only after an encounter with Maude – “Jeffrey, love me” – he will have a very real reason to grow up.

But obviously none of this is what people love about the film. The Big Lebowski is stone cold hilarious. The spotlight of the movie is its interesting character such as the aggressive taxi driver who loves the Eagles and remarkable epic lines, for instance, Tuturro as Jesus, all in purple and promising to “pull the fucking trigger until it goes click” or ” Well, that’s just like, your opinion”, don’t forget “Did I urinate on your rug?”.  Finally, it’s worth mentioning that the entire film is narrated by a deep voiced stranger who introduces The Dude and follows his ventures with fraternal affection. Sure, it’s a device, but it really holds the film together.

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