Barton Fink

D: Joel Coen
Universal/Circle Films (Ethan Coen)
USA 🇺🇸 1991
116 mins
W: Joel Coen & Ethan Coen
DP: Roger Deakins
Ed: Roderick Jaynes
Mus: Carter Burwell
PD: Dennis Gassner
Cos: Richard Hornung
John Turturro (Barton Fink), John Goodman (Charlie Meadows), Judy Davis (Audrey Taylor), Michael Lerner (Jack Lipnick), John Mahoney (W. P. Mayhew), Tony Shalhoub (Ben Geisler), Steve Buscemi (Chet)
This Coen Brothers' black comedy is a snide dig at the 'Golden Age of Hollywood' and it's both darkly comic and thought-provoking.
Turturro plays the title character, a left-wing New York playwright hired by a big Mayer-esque studio to write a script for a wrestling picture, a field which Barton knows absolutely nothing about.
Holed up in a dingy hotel with peeling wallpaper and headache inducing lighting, Fink gets unwelcome help from the sinister salesman with his own secrets who's staying in the room next door.
Barton also forms a friendship with an alcoholic author and his secretary to help him overcome his writer's block and he ends up turning out his most personal work yet, but the Hollywood executive who hired him doesn't approve and leaves Barton floating in Hollywood limbo.
Like all Coen films, the plot takes on the characteristics of multiple genres, from screwball comedy to mysterious thriller, eventually settling in gothic fantasy with an ending which is quite literally, absolute genius.
As with all Coen films, this will please their legions of fans, but might leave the mainstream audiences scratching their heads. It's a very unusual and eerie satire of early Hollywood and the movie industry in general.
Amazing set decoration and photography elicit memories of film noir and John Goodman & Michael Lerner steal the movie from the excellent John Turturro with hilariously over-the-top performances.
The film made history at Cannes Film Festival, becoming the first film to sweep the big three awards (Best Film, Director & Actor).
John Turturro in Barton Fink
John Turturro in Barton Fink
Did You Know:
This was the first film to win all three major awards (Palme D'or, Best Director, and Best Actor) at the Cannes Film Festival. Also, it was unanimously chosen for the Palme D'or.