"The Big Lebowski" A Modern Western?

2389 words - 10 pages

"The Big Lebowski" is made by the famous Cone Brothers who redefine art and cinema. Some say the brothers Coen are the greatest filmmaking team working today. They trademark themselves with complex plots and bizarre characters; constantly redefining the elements of beautiful and creative film. Almost all of their films are independently produced which gives them a lot of freedom to do what they want. They typically list themselves as both writing, Ethan producing, and Joel directing, though they are both strongly involved in every aspect of their filmmaking process (they also both edit under the pseudonym Roderick Jaynes).“ The Dude, Jeff Lebowski (Bridges), has his home invaded and his rug urinated upon by thugs looking to collect a debt incurred by the wife of multi-millionaire Jeff Lebowski (David Huddleson) who is wheelchair-bound and, as the Dude points out, probably keeps a tidier house. At the insistence of his bowling buddy Walter (Goodman), the Dude attempts to obtain a replacement rug from Lebowski, and quickly becomes entangled in a kidnapping scheme involving Lebowski's wife.”As this review of the movie already tells a man gets offended by two outlaws disturbing his way of life, whereas he wants justice and goes out to quickly find himself in a situation which is out of hand facing intrigues, conspiracy, violence. This could also be the story of a classical Western movie. Western films have existed for nearly a century. By romanticizing a period of American history and dramatizing life in the West, Westerns have entertained generations. The Western is considered the only major genre that is uniquely American, not only because the genre represents an era of American history, but also because Western films are a reflection of American society. The ideals of America were often represented by the protagonist’s values. Thus, the hero cowboy became an American icon. The structure of oppositions within Western films has mirrored cultural and ideological conflicts in the United States. The struggles between wilderness and civilization or individual independence and social domesticity became metaphors for U.S. foreign policy and cultural values. So the basic themes of a Western are based on: Civilization, wilderness, violence, cultural ideas and how a man receives justice. Those themes will also be found in The Big Lebowski.This movie plays in the early 90’s, which is sure about 100 years after the great frontier and all the other material for a western, but it still combines a lot of similarities to this genre. A Western usually starts with a long shot of the wilderness and introduces its main character. The Big Lebowski starts with a close up of the wilderness too. The camera cranes over the prairie outside of Los Angeles and gives us the exact same wilderness as in most western movies. As mentioned it also plays in Los Angeles which is the West and therefor the place fits right into the genre also. Our main character The...

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