Tuesday, December 15, 2009

A Serious Man

This post has been cross posted on Harry's Place

The latest Coen brothers film really is a tour de force but it's as bleak as you can imagine and definitely not a feel good experience.

The story concerns a middle aged Mid West physics professor and the disasters that beset him seemingly out of the blue in mid Sixties Minnesota. The action is all set within the local Jewish community so much so that the only non-Jews are peripheral (sometimes red neck) outsiders.

The customs and ceremonies of immigrant Jewish life are observed with (to put it mildly) a jaundiced and humorous eye to such an extent that it could be said to approach mockery. Think Woody Allen on turbo charge.

But this is also a philosophical and intellectual study on religious belief, causality and morality at an engaging and complex level. Its also (delightfully) a meditation on Jefferson Airplanes' "Somebody to Love".

Quite a film in other words. Definitely one to see.

See also here, here and here for some of the UK reviews.

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