Can The Coens do no wrong? Is that possible? It certainly appears that way. A Serious Man is indeed yet another mini-masterpiece from the men behind The Big Lebowski, Fargo and countless other triumphs.
After a truly perplexing opening 5 minutes, it looked like The Coens were going to really lose us on this one. But of course they were only teasing. A Serious Man is probably their most personal film and feels closer to the likes of Barton Fink than anything else they've done in the past: small, focused, stylish, incredibly clever, truly unique and of course very funny.
For anyone with Jewish heritage, the film will probably feel extra-perceptive but at its core the film's ideas and messages are universal. Larry Gopnik's struggle to make sense of the unjust treatment he suddenly receives from the world around him is one which anyone can empathise with and understand.
A Serious Man, like a lot of Coen Brothers films, is a bit like watching an ant struggle under a magnifying glass as the sun slowly but surely burns its body until there's nothing left. There are surprises aplenty though and The Coens have more than sadism on their minds (which is not to say they aren't sadistic).
This is an engrossing, deep little gem which stays with you and teases you long after the credits have rolled. Its devastating ending will no doubt leave you frowning, with your jaw wide open, but after some thought you'll be thankful you paid good money to check out masters at work once again.
Keep 'em coming boys, seriously.