(1991)

Critic Reviews

69

Metascore

Based on 19 critic reviews provided by Metacritic.com
100
Newsweek
Creepily beautiful, acted with relish, Barton Fink is a savagely original work. It lodges in your head like a hatchet. [26 Aug 1991]
100
Stimulating entertainment, as rigorously challenging and painfully funny as anything the Coens have done. But it's necessary to meet the Coens halfway. If you don't, Barton Fink is an empty exercise that will bore you breathless. If you do, it's a comic nightmare that will stir your imagination like no film in years.
90
Scene after scene is filled with a ferocious strength and humor. Michael Lerner's performance as a Mayer-like studio overlord is sensational.
88
The Globe and Mail (Toronto)
This hip morality tale is by no means perfect - it's not the masterpiece "Miller's Crossing" was - but it is stylish, intelligent, witty and more than slightly creepy.
88
Chicago Sun-Times
A black comedy in the tradition of David Lynch, Luis Bunuel and the Coens themselves...an assured piece of comic filmmaking.
80
Chicago Reader
Very competently mounted and acted (there are also juicy parts for Judy Davis, Tony Shalhoub, and Jon Polito), this is basically a midnight-movie gross-out in Sunday-afternoon art-house clothing--an intriguing novelty that revels in effect while oozing with cryptic signifiers.
75
Entertainment Weekly
Barton Fink has an atmosphere of languid comic anxiety (it's like a cross between "Eraserhead" and "Angel Heart"), and it's fun to watch, if only because you have no idea what's coming next.
70
TV Guide Magazine
Ultimately, however, the look, sound and feel of this macabre comedy fail to support any coherent theme...Much is denigrated, but little affirmed.
60
Like the mysterious, bound package Goodman gives Turturro (the contents are never revealed), the Coens isolate a small area of interest, bind it with psycho-atmospheric finesse, then wait for something significant to emerge. Even after a second viewing of this movie, it doesn't.
10
The New Republic
Billed as a comedy, but it could also be billed as a drama, a satire, an allegory, or a film (partially) noir. It wouldn't matter, or help... Not since Robert Altman has any American filmmaker been as overrated as this pair. [30 Sept 1991]

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