Thursday, May 14, 2015

Intolerable Cruelty (2003)

Director: Joel Coen
Writers:  Robert Ramsey, Matthew Stone, Ethan Coen, Joel Coen
Cast:       George Clooney, Catherine Zeta-Jones, Billy Bob Thornton

A revenge-seeking gold digger (Catherine Zeta-Jones) marries a womanizing Beverley Hills lawyer (George Clooney) with the intention of making a killing in the divorce.

It is the first film from Coens that is not set in a period of sorts. Even Big Lebowski was set in 1990 making it not exactly a contemporary set film on its release year 1998. Since Intolerable Cruelty, they have made Burn After Reading, an underrated film of theirs, which was also set in contemporary times. This aspect certainly gives it a different feel, at least initially, to the film when compared to typical Coens film and another novelty was that it was not an original screenplay from them. Film is not looked favorably now even though upon its release it was very well received by the critics. After watching this, it makes 'The Ladykillers' to be the only film from Coens that I have not watched and am not planning to watch that anyway.

It is a pretty good watch overall even though it is not up to their usual standards. George Clooney's role and the story arc is very similar to his character in the film 'Up In The Air' which came much later. There are enough laughs in it till the midway mark and by then you figure out where it is going. Still, the way it gets there is a bit surprising, without going all melodramatic on us, and the killer at the house scene is hilarious. It goes more and more slapstick as it goes on and you could see a bit of 'O Brother' creeping into George Clooney. Film is essentially about cynicism behind pre-nup agreements and I think it should be made mandatory for all marriages so that people don't have to be guilty about demanding it. Guess rationalism is not something you associate with the institution of marriage.

Rating: 3/5