A Serious Man, which was released in 2009 has a sequence the protagonist teaches the uncertainty principle. He concludes the lecture saying, “The Uncertainty Principle. It proves we can’t ever really know, what’s going on. So it shouldn’t bother you. Not being able to figure anything out.” This funny scene holds the secret key to Coen Brothers’, Joel and Ethan Coen, sizable filmography that includes masterpieces like Barton Fink (1991), Fargo (1996), The Big Lebowski (1998), No Country for Old Men (2007), True Grit (2010), and Inside Llewyn Davis (2013). Besides using film noir references generously, Coen Brothers synthesize various genre elements into their work and turn up with genre experiments that being considered as milestones in the history of cinema.

This visual analysis digs deep into the Coen Brothers’ visual style and discovers the auteur signs hidden and visible in their movies. The video essay emphasizes on the recurring themes of their characters’ internal struggle to understand and deal with an extremely difficult and chaotic external world. Coen brothers often use this wrestling between internal and external forces to form a tight and gripping narrative and viewers find it reasonable to empathize and identify with the central characters. In this process, they are breaking the good people bad people dichotomy and the cause-effect balance in storytelling.

Through utterly clueless and confused characters, they interpret the world and its ways with concepts like virtue, vice, revenge, survival, death, and love. Those movies are extremely personal in nature and often place society in a disdain position. In order to cope up with the absurdities and shakiness of the world, most of their characters are psycho like and very unpredictable in nature. The Coen Brothers movies depict a particular regional culture, dialect, and epoch of the US history. No other filmmakers in contemporary American cinema exploit the absurdity of postmodern American society to manipulate cinematic storytelling like Coen Brothers.

Written By: Ragesh Dipu

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