Ethan & Joel Coen - The Coen Brothers
Ethan Coen (born 1954) and Joel Coen (born 1957), known as “The Coen Brothers”, are award-winning directors known for making some high-profile films in the last two decades. They are of Jewish descent and were brought up in Minnesota by their parents Edward Coen and Rena. The brothers are known to write, produce and direct their films jointly.
They made their first movie, Blood Simple, in 1984. It is about a bartender that hires a killer to murder his unfaithful wife and her paramour, but things go terribly wrong and the bartender is killed instead. Although it did modest business, the film should be praised for its perfect balance between brutally violent and surprisingly funny scenes.
Their next film, Raising Arizona (1987), has become a favorite by a big audience was. It stars Nicholas Cage as H.I, an ex-convict and husband of a police officer. When the couple could not conceive, H.I steals a baby from the local tycoon. Things do not go as planned resulting in hilarious entertainment to viewers.
In the 1990s the brothers continued to excel at movie-making with the films Miller’s Crossing and Barton Fink, but The Hudsucker Proxy was a disappointment at the box office. In 1996, they came up with their perhaps best film – Fargo. It is about Jerry Lundegaard, a man so desperate for money that he arranges the kidnapping of his own wife so that he can extract ransom money from her wealthy father to pay off his debts. But, nothing goes a planned resulting in the deaths of his wife and father-in-law; in the end, he goes to jail. The film won two Academy Awards.
If you do not know the “Dude” from The Big Lebowski (1998), you know nothing of modern cult cinema. The Coen Brothers created the Dude who is unemployed and does nothing in life except smoking weed and chilling out with his two friends. His life gets disrupted when some thugs mistake him for another man who’s also named Lebowski. Jeff Bridges played the Dude and this film achieved cult status over the years.
In 2000, the brothers directed a comedy titled O Brother, Where Art Thou?. It starred George Clooney in the main role and went to become a commercial success. The film’s plot derivates from the antics tale Odysseus and makes an own turn with of three prisoners who escape from a chain gang and search for a treasure buried previously by one of them.
The Coen Brothers’ 2004 film, The Lady Killers, was a commercial success but received average reviews. It was their 2007 movie No Country For Old Man that won four Academy Awards including the Best Picture. Josh Brolin played a man who finds two million dollars amid corpses in a place where a shootout between drug dealers had just taken place. He is tracked by a hitman and eventually gets killed in this extremely violent movie.
We cannot forget Rooster Cogburn’s character in the 1969 western-film True Grit; John Wayne won an Oscar for this role, but the overall movie does not impress much. The Coen brothers’ 2010 remake had smashing performances by Jeff Bridges and Matt Damon that make it a better-made film than its original.
Since 2012, the Coen brothers penned the script for three films – Gambit, Inside Llewyn Davis and Unbroken. The immensely talented duo is sure to impress with more spectacular works in the future.