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Wolfville, Nova Scotia


Intolerable Cruelty

Chris Campbell

I'm a big fan of Joel and Ethan Coen's films. I've liked every one of them for different reasons and I'm always excited to see what they'll do next. They are genre chameleons, similar to Kubrick, moving from noirish drama to slapstick comedy to tragedy and back again. With Intolerable Cruelty they tackle romantic comedy with a nod to older screwball comedies. Some of the reviews of the film were a bit lukewarm and I liked it more than those reviews. One of the neat things about the brothers is that they seem to mold the characters, look, style, tone, and plot together to fit the type of film that they are making. It's fascinating to look at trailers for many of their films as it's obvious that the studios have always faced challenges in marketing the films because they straddle so many boundaries. They also work with much of the same team every time which has got to be a lot of fun.

Intolerable Cruelty has some great performances from George Clooney and Catherine Zeta-Jones. Jones has great comic timing and says so much with just a glance. The film itself is very funny and features some great scenes whose pleasure comes from the surprise of what is happening. As with all of their films, part of the pleasure is in meeting the characters that populate the film. I'm thinking that some of the disappointment amongst some critics is that it seems a little bit more restrained than other Coen brothers films and that could be due to the original script being written by others with Joel and Ethan doing a rewrite. But I had a lot of fun and laughed a lot and still love whatever they've done.

Many of the films that they've made are cut by them (as Roderick Jaynes) and this is the first one that they've cut digitally, using Final Cut Pro. An article on Apple's web site goes into detail which is great for geeks like me. I love Final Cut Pro and it's neat to see that Joel and Ethan Coen are using it too.