Saturday, January 2, 2010

The Dude Abides: The Gospel According to the Coen Brothers

Lenses. Cathleen Falsani seems to have had fun writing her latest book, The Dude Abides: The Gospel According to the Coen Brothers. My guess is that she was able to write it over the course of a long weekend or two. In The Dude Abides, Falsani presents the fourteen major Coen brothers films using a three-part structure for each film. She provides a high level summary of the film in the section titled, “The Forest.” The longest section is titled, “The Trees” and in that one she sometimes laboriously provides a more detailed description of what happens in the film. She wraps up each film with her conclusion in the section titled, “The Moral of the Story.” Falsani loves these films, and given her perspective as a journalist who writes about religion, she applies a religious lens to her view of each film. While most filmgoers and readers would agree with Falsani that the Coens tackle some confounding questions in their films, my guess is that a minority would view these films in a way that matches Falsani’s. I kept thinking after reading about a film whether she and I saw the same movie. Nonetheless, her love for the films comes out in The Dude Abides, and each of us brings our own perspective. It’s interesting to read here a perspective that found aspects of these films that I would not have considered in a million years. Any teacher will find something interesting here to stimulate class discussion.

Rating: Three-star (Recommended)
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