often found the Coen Brothers amusing in a sadistic kind of way,
sort of like a Three Stooges episode. The Ladykillers
definitely reminded me of the Stooges, complete with physical humor
and idiots gone rampant as they try to keep themselves semi-organized
as they attempt to perform a most improbable heist. Tom Hanks, as
the leader of the pack, evokes a kind of genteel everyman, a buffoon
doomed to moral judgment by the superior and fundamental goodness
of his Black Southern landlady.
Coen Brothers will often spoof American culture in a patronizing
way, as if they, the sophisticates, are winking at us and saying
"aren't all these American stereotypes idiots?" That goes
for mid-westerners (Fargo), south-westerners (Raising
Arizona), southerners (Oh Brother Where Art Thou).
With Ladykillers, the Coens finally find a new slant, a
moral core that they seem somewhat reverent of -- Black Christian
the Coens ride a slippery slope with this one, but don't seem to
patronize our Black Christian (played by Irma P. Hall, who should
get an Academy Award nod for her work) but rather seem to be seeking
a moral core in American society that they have heretofore so thoroughly
and cynically parodied. In Ladykillers, the Coens seem
to be returning to a kind of faith, although a faith still wrapped
in the most sardonic and cynical of packages.
problem with the Coens is that they are afraid. Afraid, I think,
to be serious, even though they certainly have the talent to be.
It would be interesting if they would put their talent in a direction
that critiqued a real problem in culture instead or ersatz issues
that impact no-one. Will they, for example, be the first to satirize
the Iraq war? I somehow doubt it.
Copyright Web del Sol, 2004