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Classic Cinema Filmmakers

Book Review: The Coen Brothers – This Book Really Ties the Films Together

Book Cover.jpg

Publisher: Abrams Books

Release Date: September 11, 2018

Adam Nayman’s epic new career spanning examination of the filmography of the Coen Brothers is every bit as analytical and informative as Ian Nathan’s excellent book on the same subject. It offers fans and scholars a rewarding experience as it should add enormously to the reader’s appreciation of the films that inhabit the Coen canon. Actually, the book’s marketing description does an admirable job at describing its contents without unnecessary hyperbolic phrases:

“In The Coen Brothers: This Book Really Ties the Films Together, film critic Adam Nayman carefully sifts through their complex cinematic universe in an effort to plot, as he puts it, “some Grand Unified Theory of Coen-ness” and combines critical text—biography, close film analysis, and enlightening interviews with key Coen collaborators—with a visual aesthetic that honors the Coens’ singular mix of darkness and levity. Featuring film stills, beautiful and evocative illustrations, punchy infographics, and hard insight, this book will be the definitive exploration of the Coen brothers’ oeuvre.”

Nayman is a film critic for The Globe and Mail and The Grid, is a contributing editor to Cinema Scope, and has written on film for the Village Voice, L.A. Weekly, Film Comment, Cineaste, Montage, POV, Reverse Shot, The Walrus, Saturday Night, Little White Lies, and The Dissolve. This background served him well here as his insights are always interesting and illuminating (even if one doesn’t always agree with his interpretation of certain Coen moments). The book’s primary weakness it is that it comes at a time when the Coen’s career is far from over (the last film covered in the book is Hail, Caesar!) Everything about the book earns our enthusiastic approval and recommendation.

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