Monday, November 24, 2008

"Raising Arizona" (1987) - Movie Review

Oh what can I say about me and the unsettling inharmonic wavelength with the Coen brothers. They are the master of a particular kind of film making which I would certainly be able to separate upon from the mix of thousands of films but their artistry is limited in few of those which have appealed to me. “Raising Arizona” is a comedy in Coen brother’s style with an unfamiliar Nicolas Cage and Holly Hunter kidnapping a baby from the quintuplets of an Arizona furniture store owner. But it is not plot driven isn’t it?

HI (Nicolas Cage) is a recidivist (word of the day for me) and how often some one uses that in a film or may be even in coming books now a day. His regular visitation to the prison ward acquaints him not only to the prisoners but the cop out there Ed (Holly Hunter). Soon they marry and the couple settles for a peaceful regular life and in comes the need for a baby and Ed is not capable of having one. Sadness spreads and sudden news of the quintuplets triggers the craziness of the stable mind Ed has. They decide to take one from the many the Arizona’s (Trey Wilson and Lynn Dumin Kitei) have. In a flow of narrated series of scene in five minutes into the film we are made aware of the details I mentioned above. Then we see the chain of connected ridiculous events and the characters that align it with goofiness only Coen brothers could make it look like a work of perfection.

Where do these brothers get their inspiration for these quirky personalities? They speak in disjointed words with a vocabulary of a seasoned novelist and come out with a spooky statement which on surface gives a polished suaveness but in a deeper thinking make it the worst frame of sentence ever. Their existence is made possible in a look for a certain dimension of presentation by these two men. The comedy is as dry as the deserts of the state coming in the film. The throat is barren and longs for a droplet of a water and we laugh with that in the idiocy of the people in it. It reminded the matured nicety “Burn After Reading” carries.

A shabbily dressed man in the bushes of hair dried on wetted sand and what not and looking like to have jumped from the grind house screens of Mad Max is Smalls, Leonard Smalls (Randall “Tex” Cobb). Out he is developed from the nightmares of HI and for no reason offers to hunt down the baby. Then are the prisoners and Brothers Glenn (John Goodman) and Evell (William Forsythe) digging their way out of what looks like a dampened septic tank outside of the prison. In a swing of bent reality of madness and idiosyncrasy procreates this film with panned unique camera shots and a range of artistic audibility to the fans of these one of a kind duos.

The cinematography of Barry Sonnenfield hurries behind the criminals, dogs, super market carts, front of the bike, rear of the car, inside the claustrophobic trailers and out of the infinite lands of heat. There is a field of magnetism in this kind of film making. Their humour depends on a sweet sense of idiocy and a thought of uniqueness specifically addressed to a taste which provides the essence of a comic empathy for the viewers which never can quite be explained.

Every time I watch their films I end up in guffaws and a pinch to wake me up from the weirdness of characters and sequences. Rarely have I been satisfied without a speck of complaint. Despite individuality in a kind of inventiveness few people in the current film making could dare to present upon, they end sufficiently deficit in the scale of the taste I maintain. It is a complex association with their films for me. I could clearly see their talent but also honestly say that the talent they bore is not my cup of tea. Or may be I develop this unyielding expectation which takes a lot to fill up? I loved “The Big Lebowski” and “Burn After Reading” but the placid liking I had for “No Country for Old Men”, “Fargo” and “Miller’s Crossing” carries in for “Raising Arizona”. That would not mean I would give up that scale of appreciation for these perfectionists rather it increases it as I would never know the time when the peace between my expectation and their talent is absolutely made.


sriks said...

I must watch this movie. I am becoming a Coen Brothers fan too :)

saimad said...

keep writing!

btw, do you watch hindi movies as well?

I dont watch them much, but try catching this movie
"Dasvidaniya" - not bad for a hindi movie!

Ashok said...

Hey Srikanth,

It is a well made film sadly not appealing that much as it cult status indicates. But do watch it.

Sai !!!!
Well Well Well, you made it to my blog :-). I will indeed keep writing ! Will make sure I watch "Dasvidaniya". "Aamir" is a good one too. I heard "A Wednesday" is good. "Johnny Gaddar" is a well made film.