First off, so there are no questions – this is a great movie and the Coen brothers are genius. That said; let it be known that in comparison to the larger canon of their work the brothers have done better (Fargo, O Brother Where Art Thou? Raising Arizona – only to mention a few). If this movie was directed by anyone else I would be amazed, but by the Coen brothers I am satisfied by their tongue in cheek, self reflexive and referential visual text – but I know they have done better.
Then again, maybe I'm suffering from watching Tom Hanks plays the insidious and insufferable Goldthwait Higginson Dorr III, Ph.D., the mastermind behind the whole scheme that involves tunneling into an underground vault of a Mississippi casino barge. A stranger cast of merry men was never gathered, strangely completing a twisted definition of the perfect gang. From an 'expert' on tunneling, on explosives, some muscle, the 'inside guy' and the brains of the operation, they are one and all completely off kilter. Their secret base is the home of a God-fearing, church going, sweet old lady. Irma P. Hall plays the character with delightful spirit, but I am damn glad she isn't my grandma – she definitely held to the older philosophies of spare the rod and spoil the child. Unfortunately for this heart of gold granny, she's let the wolves into her own home and when she discovers them with all their stolen money she threatens to turn them in unless they return all the money and go to church with her. Almost more terrified of church then losing the money the boys do the only thing possible, they plan to kill her. I mean, how hard could it be to kill one old woman?
The cast is great on an individual level and they also work extremely well together. Ethan and Joel cannot be faulted for their style. The blending of the surreal and absurd into a sordid story hovering on the edges of reality is definitely refreshing. The cinematography, the music and even the jokes are all very Coen'esque'. At some points though, all the delicious black humour and poetic irony can come across too strong and like Quebecois Sugar Pie, a little is much better then a lot. This film lacks the maturity and refinement one almost expects from the Coen brothers in their roles as quality filmmakers. As a film, it's more then worth seeing, as a Coen film – a little under par.
Special DVD Features:
-"The Slap Reels" Outtakes from the film, I especially enjoyed this segment.
-Danny Ferrington: The man behind the band, The master guitar maker tells all." I don't really know how this fits in but it was an insightful segment
– "The Ladykillers Script Scanner" read the script, this is an enhanced computer feature…enjoy