Sunday, 10 January 2010

A Serious Man - 2/1/10 Filmhouse, Edinburgh

Joel and Ethan Coen are film-makers who have proven, on more than one occasion, that they can make wonderful films; Barton Fink, Fargo, Blood Simply and No Country for Old Men all being cases in point.

However they are also responsible for the likes of the pitiful "The Ladykillers" remake which, in an ideal world, would have been burned long before it was allowed to see the light of day and sully the memory of a terrific post-war British classic.

This film will prove to be divisive. Some people, I am sure, will love it and hail it as a dark, subtle comedy. Others will see it as a too personal and too intimate portrait of the lives and experiences of the film-makers themselves which all too often leaves the viewer on the outside of some inside joke.

I fall into the second category. Clearly this film contains autobiographical elements but it fails to use those to make some wider, more universal, point with which the viewer can connect. For much of the running time I felt that I had stumbled into a counselling session and that I was being sucked into the therapy.

Short on genuine laughs, big on in jokes this is a film that doesn't have a whole lot to say and says it in a way designed to make you feel like you weren't meant to ever hear it.

Self-indulgent film making.

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