Wednesday, October 21, 2009

A Serious Man (2009) - Review

A Serious Man is story of a life seemingly in ruins - the process of which a man's life falls apart, nothing to be done, nothing to be understood, nothing to be helped - just a feeling of inadequacy, unmanageable disorder, to which can only be taken in (accepted, not with the sense that such untidiness is malleable through allowance, rather the understanding of utter feebleness). The Coen Brothers present such a scenario, both in prologue (which seems to encapsulate the downfall of man, at least for this purpose, to which the feature is a proof - at conclusion, proven just or not) and feature, through a well crafted script (but what else should be expected), a proof, in which a character must struggle in the confides of the affirmation, that once deciphered learning, growing, et al. attained. The answer lies in the ending (if not exaggeratedly). Frequent collaborates, Roger Deakins and Carter Burwell, photography and score respectively, (as per usual) contribute fine work that adds to the masterful direction of the Coen's (who belong to the current group of auteurs). In the film, the angle to which the camera approaches its subject is reflective of the emotional state (of character and story), and thus said angle is used to influence emotion in the viewer (visually!). Blocking both of actor and dialog also plays a key role in the influence of the response of the viewer. The Coens also use title cards the dictate the story, to an absurd heightening effect. The ensemble cast highlighted by the wonderful bewilderment of Michael Stuhlbarg is just fantastic, and perfectly fitting to the story. The film is specifically clever, employing the viewer as arbiter, and in this role, laughs, cringes and delightful deviousness. 9/10

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