Ok, so I read a bit more about this movie and I even felt ashamed, how could I be so blind? This piece is so complex (and yet seem so simple at the Coen brothers’ eyes) that I thought to myself: “Man, who am I to talk about this? I know nothing!”. It’s true, I have a long, long way to go yet. But well, that’s how we learn.
The things I said about it were right, but incomplete, as I didn’t understand them. From what I read, we get, in fact, the feelings the movie gives us: unsettlement, tension, etc., but I, at least, didn’t get how they were given. Now I know, but it’s almost like subliminal messages (like the word “head” appearing like 60 times, leading us to believe that the package Charlie gives Barton contains Audrey’s) and, in my opinion, that’s why it’s so good. For example, one of the things I found most amazing is the hotel and the Charlie character: the hotel was meant to represent Charlie himself and was meant to be empty, creepy and old. It’s empty alright, we never see anybody, but on the other hand we see the shoes of all Fink’s neighbors in the corridor. And that’s kind of creepy. As for Charlie, the heat and the paper falling off the wall is a mirror to his hear infection and the pus it leaks (ew). Another thing I found fascinating was the colors they use: they intentionally used yellow and green in the room to resemble putrefaction. I don’t know about you, but I felt something was not very well there, and I couldn’t identify it. I would never guessed this one too!
The movie is placed in the WWII so it has many references to it too. I was never very good at history, particularly this part, so… yeah, i have to study more this things. As I said, that’s how we learn too (I’m not making an excuse, it really is!).
I’m not going to write all of what I read because it would be endless, but I got to understand many things I didn’t that made me realize how awesome this movie is and how good the Coen brothers’ are at what they do, And from their comments, they seem to do it very easily. I’m just going to point out the stuff I talked about in the previous post:
.The picture of the woman: it represents a n escape, for Barton’s room has no view or anything interesting or colorful. When I read this, it made sense to me. And thinking about it I can relate it to his “slavery” to Capitol Pictures, it is now the only glimpse of freedom he has in Hollywood. At the end, when the picture appears again, this time in front of him in flesh and bone, one might think that he is now really free, meaning that he knows he still works for Capitol Pictures and all her writings belong to them, but he doesn’t care, because he now knows what he is and what he wants, and will not bend for that corporation, however much they want him to.
.The sink hole: ir represents the sex they were having. You know, the dark hole and all… well, I didn’t get it and I know of this symbolism, but…
.The mosquitoes: I still don’t know, but upon my readings I could say it’s a symbol of Barton Fink’s confusion with reality maybe?… The whole hotel is surreal though…
.The heat: as I already tell, it’s associated with Charlie and his infection (ew).
.The flames: I still don’t know so I maintain my statement. Is it a metaphor for all the evil in Hollywood? Adding another theory: Charlie looks like the Devil in there, so could it be a metaphor for all the malice he intentionally brought to Barton?
.The crashing wave: it’s a sign of changing places.
I don’t know if I made myself clear in my review, but maybe I can explain myself better now, with some additions I came upon. I initially didn’t like Barton ’cause a found him very pretentious. And he was. He thought he was making a good thing with all the “common man” concept. And he was. But upon the challenge of writing a wrestling script, he blocks. He says without pain there’s no good piece of art. But he doesn’t listen to his common neighbor for he thinks he’s to simple to understand his complex ideas and doesn’t even let him speak (which is a problem Charlie apparently faces in his everyday life: his costumers are often rude to him, and he doesn’t have the opportunity to let that frustration out, not even there with Fink ’cause he’s not letting him!). So Charlie “does him a favor” and brings him a good amount of pain for him to open his eyes and see everyone faces pain and “the common man” is not below Barton Fink. Before knowing Charlie’s a killer, Barton unblocks himself by standing next to Charlie’s box and the woman’s picture, so, in a way, he can write because he’s now knowing pain and Audrey is helping in that way too (lol). In the end, Barton has changed from a pretentious man who thinks he’s the only who has a complex “life of the mind” to a “common man” with same problems all of us have and we see this smooth evolution, ending up liking him more than in the beginning.
So this is it, I hope you now can understand a bit more Barton Fink as I did! With movies like this we can learn to appreciate and understand these kind of “movie elements” that lead us to conclusions, even if we don’t know how or don’t realize it at the moment.