D.J. Haza presents the next entry in his series of films to watch before you die…
The Big Lebowski, 1998.
Directed by Joel Coen and Ethan Coen.
Starring Jeff Bridges, John Godman, Steve Buscemi, Julianne Moore, John Turturro, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Sam Elliott, David Huddleston, David Thewlis and Tara Reid.
The Big Lebowski is the bizarre, but clever comedy that centres around the mistaken identity of an unemployed LA misfit and bowler Jeff Lebowski, also known as ‘The Dude’.
When The Dude (Bridges) returns home one day to his meager apartment he finds himself roughed up by a gang of men sent to collect money owed to their boss by Lebowski’s wife, but they soon realise they have the wrong guy. Since the men had pissed on The Dude’s rug he is urged by his friend Walter (Goodman) to seek compensation from the Big Lebowski who the men were looking for. His other friend Donny (Buscemi) advises caution.
The aging and wheel-chair bound millionaire Jeffrey Lebowski refuses The Dude’s request, but he takes a rug of his choice from the sprawling mansion anyway and on the way out is introduced to Jeffrey’s nymphomaniac trophy wife Bunny (Reid). When Bunny is later kidnapped Jeffrey hires The Dude to deliver the ransom money, but with his psychotic friend Walter in tow everything goes very wrong as they drop off a dud suitcase filled with Walter’s dirty underwear.
As the story takes a series of strange turns and a variety of people advise, confuse or beat up The Dude the plot thickens and the mystery eventually begins to unravel before The Dude can figure out the truth behind the kidnapping and get back to his slacking ways and bowling tournaments.
The Big Lebowski is a fantastic comedy from the Coen Brothers and oozes with their usual class and dry wit, but it’s the film’s casting that makes it. The Big Lebowski is a film you must see before you die because Bridges, Goodman and Buscemi as The Dude, Walter and Donny are hilarious on screen together and feed off each other brilliantly. Walter’s lack of tolerance towards Donny is the source of much comedy as is The Dude’s general lack of enthusiasm or haste to do anything other than drink White Russians and bowl in his dressing gown.