The Coen brothers have one of the more respected rap sheets in Hollywood. Most successful (defined as working) filmmakers constantly fight the push/pull relationship they’re forced to maintain with studio executives. Most film projects are regarded as risks and therefore must be tracked with a watchful, scornful eye. If this is the Hollywood show business model, how have the Coens survived?
This BBC2 documentary, filmed while the brothers were hard at work on O Brother Where Art Thou?, attempts to answer this question. The doc’s biggest fault is its constant mystification of Joel & Ethan, claiming they are recluses, indicating that they’re these cave-dwelling geniuses; that’s a little heavy-handed. Nevertheless, it’s still staggering to uncover how their craft, budget management and creative vision continues to have such a successfully high turnover and a popular following.
Consider them to be two filmmakers who should have been born independent filmmakers with a cult following. Instead, their films somehow manage to beat the studio system, receive mostly positive critical acclaim, and maintain a massive fan base.
The Coens have a new film entitled Inside Llewyn Davies starring Oscar Isaac, Justin Timberlake, Carey Mulligan and Garrett Hedlund arriving in theatres on December 6, 2013.