The Big Lebowski
The dude abides
19:30 Thursday 22nd June 2023
Released in 1998, The Big Lebowski starts with a case of mistaken identity and is a triumph of its time. When the millionaire Jeff Lebowski’s wife owes money to the wrong kind of people, “The Dude” Lebowski gets embroiled creating an eclectic mix of comedy, intrigue and craziness. Not long after, “The Dude” has to act as middle man between nihilists who have taken the wife hostage and the Lebowski family. To complicate matters further, the drop off doesn’t go as planned, and there are others who do not believe the wife has been abducted. To try and find out what is going on, “The Dude” asks his friend Walter, a hot tempered Vietnam War veteran, to help and the duo create some of the funniest scenes in the film. This is a well written and clever film with its doses of adult humour that is still funny today, a testament to the Coen brothers’ production. All in all it’s a wild goose chase suitable for everyone with its relaxing tone so take it easy and enjoy this classic.
This is probably the Coen brother’s funniest film, containing countless lines that you’ll be quoting for hours on end. It’s the ultimate cult movie, not least because it has actually inspired Dudeism, the slowest growing religion in the world. The plot is very loosely based on classic noir The Big Sleep but amputated toes, German nihilists and a foul-mouthed orthodox Jewish Vietnam vet are all thrown into the mix.
Our hero’s name is Jeffrey Lebowski, but everyone refers to him as The Dude. He’s just a regular lazy guy who enjoys bowling, drinking White Russians and the occasional acid flashback until a gang mistake him for a different Jeffrey Lebowski (small world indeed), demand money from him and ruin his rug. All he wants is compensation for this rug but is plunged into a world of deceit and intrigue. The blackmail and violence he encounters do not hugely disrupt his daily routine but provide the basis for some of the finest comedy moments in cinematic history.
If you have seen this film before, you will know exactly why it deserves to be seen again. If you haven’t, you have no idea just how original and funny a movie can be.
There are, difficult as it may be to believe, two Jeff Lebowskis living in the Greater Los Angeles area. "The Dude" (Bridges) is a burned-out beach bum with a taste for White Russians and bowling with buddies mad 'Nam veteran and recent convert to Judaism Walter (Goodman) and timid Donny (Buscemi). "Big" Jeff Lebowski (David Huddleston), on the other hand, is a reclusive wheelchair-bound millionaire with a nymphet trophy wife named Bunny and a radical artist daughter Maude (Moore). When a couple of thugs, mistaking him for his rather richer namesake, break into his pad, beat him up and, to top it all, pee on his rug, The Dude demands compensation. Or at least some replacement floor covering.
Subsequently, The Dude finds himself at the center of a botched kidnapping involving a severed toe and all manner of assorted oddballs and loonies including a trio of Kraftwerk-inspired techno-nihilists led by Peter Stormare from Fargo, porn producer Jackie Treehorn and an outrageous cameo by Coen regular John Turturro as lavender-clad bowling sensation and convicted child molester Jesus Quintana.
The Coen brothers aren't exactly renowned for their conventional style of film-making but The Big Lebowski is without doubt one of the weirdest trips the audience will take all year long.
Simon C. Williams
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Screenings of this film:
|1998/1999 Autumn Term – (35mm)|
|2015/2016 Spring Term – (35mm)|
|2022/2023 Summer Term – (35mm)|