|Star:||Jeff Bridges, John Goodman, Julianne Moore, Steve Buscemi|
|Cert / Year:||18 - R / 1998|
This is the average tale of one man, his love of bowling, and his rug!
The Dude (Bridges) is a lazy ex hippy, living in the nineties but trapped in the seventies. His life is spent bowling and hanging out with his mates, Vietnam vet Walter Sobchak (Goodman) and Donny (Buscemi). Until one day some thugs mistake him for a millionaire with the same last name (Lebowski) and pee on his rug. When he tries to seek restitution for the rug from the millionaire Lebowski he becomes embroiled in a plot which involves kidnap, embezzlement, porn movies, and nihilist eighties German synth bands.
To explain things a bit this is a Coen brothers comedy, and a very good one at that. Is it cult? Most definitely I defy anyone to class any Coen brothers film as mainstream, especially one that mixes musical numbers, bizarre characters, action and bowling.
The first triumph is the Ethan Coen & Joel Coen script, which is quite simply superb. Check out the Dudes first meeting with Brandt, or the scene where dude is explaining the fate of his rug to Walter and Donny. The dialogue is funny and intelligent (rare, nowadays in an American comedy). Providing entertainment that actually improves with repeated viewings, as you uncover another layer of the clever script. The dialogue is matched by the characterisation. Each character is well rounded and has their own set of real life quirks. They may be a little bizarre but this real adds to the humour, and has provided the cast with great scope for their performance.
The film is enhanced by the high quality cast which have not only been selected for the major part but for the supporting roles as well. Jeff Bridges has always been a versatile and underrated actor, and this is one of his finest roles ever. Great support is provided by an in form Goodman who provides us with a manic Vietnam obsessed veteran (a role not usually played for laughs), and the ever reliable Buscemi. Special note must all be made of Philip Seymour Hoffman performance as the sycophantic fawning Brandt.
All this is held together by some high quality direction from Joel Coen. This is used well to enhance the comedy and reinforce the slightly surreal nature of the film. Scenes in which this is most evident is the introduction of Jackie Treehorn and the superb musical dream sequences. Which leads me nicely to the music used throughout the film. I don't often comment on this as music tastes tend to be even more specific than film tastes. However the film sound track for this film is an insider mix of seventies eighties and country. The high note (did I really just say that) is the song See What Condition my condition is in which is just great.
Now I am not a big Coen brothers fan (I controversially hate Fargo) yet this is one of my favourite movies. It may not be everybody's cup of tea, but if you like your humour with a bizarre twist of intelligence then you will enjoy this movie. Personally I think its brilliant.
"The Dude Abides"
|16:9 or 4:3||Both are rather grainy.|
|Dolby Digital 5.1||Rather good mix.|
|Poor picture but good sound don't make for a Promising start for this disc. However the biggest crime is that there are no extras at all|