My name may be Josh Horowitz but I'm certainly not steeped well enough in my religion to grasp all the nuances of the Coen brothers latest, "A Serious Man," which screened this morning in Toronto. But fear not my goy friends, the Coens are in fine form for their latest often hilarious effort.
I hope you got your star fix in on the last go around with "Burn After Reading," because this one only gets a dose of name recognition by way of Richard Kind, Michael Lerner (a wordless though impactful cameo), and Fyvush Finker (in a fascinating if obtuse prologue).
Leading man Michael Stuhlberg acquits himself well as the put-upon protagonist. Besieged by a disgruntled wife, a threatening student, complaining kids (the boy desperately wants his TV to work so he can watch "F Troop"), and the Columbia Record House, it's easy to enjoy the slow burn that the theater actor goes through in the 105 compelling minutes.
Deakins, Burwell, and all the Coen regulars behind the scenes make this a reliably slick production. Special kudos to a genius sound design. Every grunt, guffaw, and gurgle is hilariously placed with a specificity that must be appreciated.
Those who found the ending to "No Country for Old Men" confusing should be warned. No neat bows are tied on this one either.