I pre-ordered the A Serious Man Blu-Ray as soon as it was available. Having seen it in the cinema I was very keen to watch it again and, amazingly, it arrived two days before the announced release date. Being a big Coens fan, I’m never really going to have a bad word to say but unlike, say, Intolerable Cruelty or The Ladykillers, I only have the most excellent of words available for this film.
It’s important to make one thing clear. This isn’t the Coens of Burn After Reading or The Big Lebowski. Arguably their most personal film to date, it may not be for everyone, but it should be.
So, the subject matter in itself may not inspire all. Jewish physics professor, divorce and draining sebaceous glands don’t add up to say ‘summer blockbuster’ but this is a good thing. This film is thoughtful, it has a point if you want to look for it but it is also entertaining enough in itself for the point not having to matter.
The story details the slow destruction of the life of a Jewish physics professor,played by the excellent Michael Stuhlbarg. His wife is leaving him for a family friend ( and great performance by Fred Melamed), his University are receiving mail about him, a student is giving him hassle, his troubled brother becomes more and more of a burden. And all this happens to him despite him doing everything he can to live a decent life, be a serious man. In short, shit happens.
The film is crammed with so many quintessentially quirky Coen moments . The dialogue is a fizzy and intriguing as ever and much of the detail is clearly fuelled by the Coen’s own upbringing. The story told by the second Rabbi is particularly entertaining.
Having now watched it again, I’m happy to say that my original enjoyment of the film didn’t diminish and the cracking Blu-Ray print just adds to the experience. Visually the film is very subdued in colour but still manages to spring off the screen. The transfer is really very good and warrants getting this film on Blu-Ray.
For the photography fans among you, I’m fairly sure the look of this film was inspired by William Eggleston’s Guide. Both the surroundings and the tone are, at times, identical. Just less tricycles.
Buy this Blu-Ray. Accept the mystery. Watch it and you’ll know what I mean.