Barton Fink – 2.75 stars

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There’s not a scene in this Coen Brothers film I don’t like, and the story of a Clifford Odets-esque playwright’s (John Turtorro) introduction to the oily world of Hollywood is both visually striking and thematically ambitious.  But no matter the film’s look or intriguing interpretations (the mind of the writer, the dangers of solitude, the corruption of money), by the end, you feel trifled with, as if you watched a parlor trick perpetrated by a cast of broad, comic actors (John Goodman, John Mahoney, Michael Lerner) for no greater purpose than the goof.  Like The Hudsucker Proxy and Miller’s Crossing, Barton Fink has its joys, but the feel is sterile and your investment unrewarded.

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