Barton Fink review

In this dark comedy from the Coen Brothers, an intellectual playwright, Barton Fink (Turturro), is the toast of Broadway in 1941, but when he sells out to work for Hollywood, he gets the worst case of writer's block.

Living in a seedy hotel, he unwillingly befriends his neighbour, Charlie (Goodman) who is menacingly nice, and enlists the help of another writer’s assistant Audrey (Davis), but things start getting stranger and stranger and Fink has a looming deadline.

The film was released to huge critical acclaim and many awards in Cannes and the US, but was not initially a huge hit at the box office. In classic Coen style, the film is funny, unexpected and cynical, with an ending that leaves you wondering just a little.

Fink is a tall, nervous presence, lacking a lot of the frenetic energy of the people around him, playing catch-up in the screenwriting game as the rules are so different to what he’s used to and what at first seems friendly often has teeth.

Charlie, the noisy guy in the room next door, bounces into his life and is a welcome distraction from the work he isn’t doing, but there is something very wrong about his new friend, even if he can’t quite put his finger on what it is.

There are plenty of cinematic moments in this film that are pure gold, it’s hilarious and terrifying at the same time, and it has deservedly become a classic since its release. It’s one of the Coen Brothers' finest and a very wry insight into Hollywood.

EXTRAS: Deleted Scenes and a Stills Gallery.

Hermione Flavia is a Screenjabber contributor

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