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USA 1997
Directed by
Joel Coen
112 minutes
Rated M

Reviewed by
Bernard Hemingway
4 stars

The Big Lebowski

The Coen brothers turn out another splendidly crafted work with great visual flair (cinematography is by Coen-regular Roger Deakins), snappy dialogue, a bunch of engaging characters, an inventive story line (one that seems to owe quite a bit plotwise to The Big Sleep) and a typically eclectic soundtrack including a musical dream sequence to the psychedelic classic 'I Just Dropped In (To See What Condition my Condition Was In)'. Its offbeat, over-the-top humour will not appeal to everyone and depending on your mood it arguably runs slightly off the rails towards the end as it tries too hard for laughs (especially a lame carpark fight between the three "heroes" and some German nihilists whom I was never clear how they got into the story in the first place) but for the most part it tickles the funny bone consistently and occasionally induces outright laughter.

The ever-dependable Jeff Bridges is great value as The Dude, a chronic layabout who gets mistaken for another Jeffrey Lebowski, a wealthy businessman (David Huddleston) in what is an escalating comedy of errors. John Goodman is outstanding as his bowling buddy, Walter Sobchak, a sociopathic ex-Vietnam veteran, whilst Steve Buscemi plays their mild-mannered associate, Donny. John Tuturro gives a short but wonderful performance as a Latino pederast, whilst Ben Gazzara, Julianne Moore, Phillip Seymour Hoffman and David Thewlis round out a great cast list, although frankly Thewlis's giggling video artist is a bit of a weak point




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