A Serious Man – *1/2 Directed by Joel and Ethan Coen
Starring Michael Stuhlbarg, Richard Kind, Sari Lennick, Peter Breitmayer, Fred Melamed
Release date: October 31, 2009
The Coen Brothers‘ catalogue of films displays verification, in the grander scheme of things, of how meager and unimportant human life actually is. Verification also of our incompetency as humans to realize what awaits us. To quote a line from the Coens’ film No Country for Old Men, “you can’t stop what’s comin’.”
Joel and Ethan Coen love to show their characters being submissive to the realms of evil; accepting what is coming to them regardless of the outcome. The perilous paths they travel down usually have connotations resembling desperation, greed and envy, all of which can lead to death. Acting against these overt connotations becomes imperative to the characters, almost to a point where discerning them becomes a natural instinct to ensure the longevity that life offers us. By not taking any action against these explicit sins a logical story cannot bloom, leaving an audience in dismay at what they just watched.
Stiffened in the fate that causes him to question his entire being, Larry Gopnik (Michael Stuhlbarg), a middle-aged man married with two children in suburbia Minnesota circa 1967, is falling through a portal of infinite darkness, plunging full throttle into this pool of black and not possessing the slightest will of halting this bleak voyage.