• James Rutherford

‘The Big Lebowski’: The Coen Brothers’ Neo-Classic Tale of Highly Consequential Mistaken Identity


Movie poster for the film The Big Lebowski starring Jeff Bridges and John Goodman

“The Big Lebowski” is a landmark 90’s-era crime comedy starring Jeff Bridges as deadbeat stoner Jeff "The Dude" Lebowski, a middle-aged bowling aficionado unintentionally subsumed into a kidnapping plot due to a case of mistaken identity.


The storyline opens with The Dude being assaulted in his home by a pair of thugs who have erroneously identified him as wealthy philanthropist Jeffrey Lebowski (David Huddleston). Encouraged by his friends Walter (John Goodman) and Donny (Steve Buscemi) to seek compensation from the titular tycoon, The Dude is soon immersed in a wild and convoluted narrative revolving around the kidnapping of the senior Lebowski’s young trophy wife Bunny (Tara Reid). Confronted by a cavalcade of misfits, pornographers, performance artists and German nihilists, the Dude haphazardly navigates Los Angeles in search of remuneration and his own personal edification.


Written and directed by Hollywood luminaries Joel and Ethan Coen (“Fargo”, “No Country for Old Men”), “The Big Lebowski” is a highly comical tale of intrigue and misbehavior, inspired by the works of hardboiled crime novelist Raymond Chandler (“The Big Sleep”). Bridges brings a neo-classic cinematic character to the screen with his embodiment of The Dude, providing wonderful comic energy and a multitude of highly-quotable one-liners to the audience. A 90’s-era classic, it’s one of the best comedies of the entire era and certainly one of the Coen Brothers' crowning achievements.

 

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