Since its low-key release in 1998, The Coen brothers’ _The Big Lebowski _has grown into one of the most admired cult classics of all time. With one of the Coens’ finest scripts, cinematography by Roger Deakins and an unusual but perfectly suited soundtrack, it’s always a treat to revisit.
Jeff Bridges plays the iconic, bathrobe-wearing figure of The Dude, a Los Angeles slacker who divides his time between bowling, getting high and drinking White Russians. A night time visit by two thugs disrupts his idyllic existence and sets him off down a road of increasingly bizarre situations involving a missing person, German nihilists, mistaken identity and a ruined rug.
While Bridges is exceptional as The Dude, the rest of the cast are also superb. John Goodman gives a career-best turn as The Dude’s irascible, unpredictable veteran friend Walter, while Steve Buscemi is perfect as the downtrodden Donny. Filling out the remaining roles is a veritable who’s who of Coen collaborators and character actors with the likes of Julianne Moore, Philip Seymour Hoffman, John Turturro and David Huddleston all delivering memorable performances.
The Coens are often talked about as being masters of straddling different genres, and _The Big Lebowski _is one of the best examples of this. At once a hilarious, offbeat comedy with instantly quotable dialogue, a love letter to hardboiled detective fiction and film noir, and perhaps even a political allegory for American foreign policy, this is a film which reveals new facets of itself on every re-watch.
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