Sunday, April 11, 2010

A Serious Man

Or as I like to refer to it: A Srs Man. That's the title for the Internet generation. This is a fairly complicated film that can be summarized relatively succinctly as a movie about the search for meaning in an entropic universe. Kind of like honing in on an elusive television signal in a vast, empty sky.

Another way to describe this film is that it is about the various ways that humans attempt to create meaning in a basically meaningless universe. Naturally, religion is the central construction here, but physics comes into play as well. Larry Gopnik (Michael Stuhlbarg) and his brother, Arthur (Richard Kind), who are overwhelmed by a world that has seemingly turned against them, look to formulas, constants to explain what they can. But in various ways, these too overwhelm them. Arthur becomes manic with his notebook scribbling, and Larry's dream sequence reveals how science is omniscient and mocking in its own way:

Certain events seem to be connected, but are they, really? Or are these just random occurrences that Larry, and all of us humans in the audience wish to construe as meaningful, because that is what the human mind naturally does? Isn't that all that religion is? Maybe not. But maybe. The Coens don't give any concrete answers to these queries, which sort of makes them God-like in their own right. We, the audience, have certain expectations that they do not deliver. We have hopes that some sense will be made of this jumble of paradoxes. Instead the final image shows us staring into the void:

Thanks for the images,
1+4, 2, 3

1 comment:

  1. I really gotta see more films by them, cause this was so great. Surprised you didn't tag this "a srs man"