This is not only one of my favourite comedy films, but just one of my favourite films of all time full stop. From the characters, the story to the music and the jokes, everything is just downright awesome. The Dude is an all-timer of a character and you can’t help but feel a little like him yourself sometimes. A little bit of chill can do us all some good.
The story sees Jeff Bridges Jeffrey Lebowski, aka the Dude. He’s a chill guy who rarely gets fully dressed, doesn’t work, enjoys a White Russian often and enjoys a good game of bowling with his mates Walter (John Goodman) and Donny (Steve Buscemi). His life is interrupted when his rug gets peed on by some porn-mogul’s henchmen looking for the ‘big’ Jeffrey Lebowski of the title. His young, trophy wife has gone missing and a ransom is wanted by some German nihilists and just about everybody wants something or is hiding something. All the Dude ever wanted was his rug back! The plot is quite convoluted and tricky, but as the Coen brothers say themselves, the plot isn’t the main attraction here.
The main attraction of ‘The Big Lebowski‘ is its extraordinary characters and the Dude, who is just a normal guy suddenly thrust into this elevating chaos of a mystery. Bridges is brilliant as the Dude. He’s so chill, relaxed and mellow. He’s funny, endearing and yet also a bum. You can’t help but love him! Goodman is hilarious as Walter, a Vietnam vet who has a few too many anger issues. Buscemi is good as Donny, bumbling about in the background and missing most of the important conversations. David Huddleston is abhorrent as ‘the big Lebowski’ and Philip Seymour Hoffman is good as his repetitive servant. The always great Julianne Moore is, well, great as Maude Lebowski and John Tuturro puts in a great performance in the small role of bowling rival Jesus.
While the plot does make sense by the end (at least, after multiple viewings maybe), the characters are so good, so funny and so eccentric that you forget all about it. Maybe that’s why the plot isn’t the main draw of the film. But I mean, when you have an entire sequence that features the set-up for an imaginary porno which involves bowling instead of actual sex then why would you want a more coherent plot?! ‘The Big Lebowski‘ is just so funny that it doesn’t need anything else. You can’t help but love the Dude and laugh as he goes on this epic, twisting, mysterious journey that he really doesn’t want to be a part of. All he wants is his rug back!
‘The Big Lebowski‘ is one of my favourites of all time. I find myself watching it more often than I really should. I’ve got other things to watch don’t you know! But instead I’m sitting down with my own White Russian, watching a film about a laid back Dude forced into an extraordinary series of situations. The Coen brothers really are great directors and, while some of their other films might be of more consequence, this will always be one of their best in my eyes. It will never stop being funny, never stop being so awesome and I don’t think I’ll ever stop wishing I could be THAT chilled out in my life. Jack abides.
JACK’S SCORE: 5/5