Thursday, November 5, 2020

The Hudsucker Proxy (1994) Warner Archives Blu Ray Review

 The Hudsucker Proxy (1994) Warner Archives 2/26/2013

Directed By: Joel Coen, Ethan Coen 

Starring: Tim Robbins, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Paul Newman, Charles 

Disclaimer: Warner Archives has provided me with a copy of this film free of charge for the purposes of review. All opinions contained within are my own honest reflections. 

Trigger Warning: This film touches upon suicide. 

    The Coen brothers are in my opinion the best filmmakers currently working. I know, not the hottest of takes but, I feel that even their weakest material is more interesting than just about everybody else in the game. So, being this self proclaimed mega-fan I was horrified to realize their 1994 film The Hudsucker Proxy has somehow escaped me. Luckily Warner Archives has a re-release on HD and I decided it was high time to fix this blind spot. Norville Barnes (Tim Robbins) is a fresh out of college guy looking to make his mark on the world. He starts in the mail room at Hudsucker Industry the same day its founder plummet's out of the roof. Looking for a dope to help crash the stock prices Norville is put in charge as president. High farce and hijinks ensue. 

      This movie plays as a well directed, ultra-stylized love letter to fast-talking screw ball comedies of the '40's and '50's. As a fan of these films and of the wild world of the Coens this is checks all of my boxes. Some may say that Hudsucker's humor is a bit on the over-the-top here.  While I would probably agree some moments are maybe a little too broad for it's own good it still works. This is because of the pin-point direction and incredibly endearing screenplay. I think they hit the sweet spot in terms of balancing the real and surreal in The Big Lebowski (1998) but this seems like a good jumping off point. Visually this has all the hallmarks and a Coen's film including moody lighting, dynamic and bombastic camera work as well as a staggering attention to detail in set design as well as score. It also has a lot of fun with portraying the business world as cold, detached even down-right grotesque. Not to mention it's every day Joe thrown into incredible situations (a Coen's staple) is always a great story device. The cast is of course as amazing as a Coens film would demand with Paul Newman giving one of the finest late career performances while at the same Tim Robbins cemented himself as the major up and coming force in the film industry. Looking back, it's kind of awe inspiring to see this legend of the screen work with Robins who was still just coming into his own. But of course its Jennifer Jason Leigh that steals of the show.  She seems to be having a lot of fun doing her very best Rosalind Russell as Hildy Johnson from His Girl Friday. This includes some amazing supporting roles with Bill Cobbs, John Mahoney Bruce Campbell and Anna Nicole-Smith. 

    Is this my favorite Coens film? Well, not exactly, but thats a incredibly high bar. I think it's a lesser work but still an excellent, endearing and engrossing film that is brought to life by actors at the height of their game. Hudsucker Proxy is a good film that I think slipped through the cracks, being over shadowed by Fargo (1996) and The Big Lebowski both have which have gone onto cult status, especially the latter. If you have slept on this movie it's still a very worthwhile outing. 

Picture: Coen's film's always have a great visual style and this 1090p transfer really highlights that. Images are nice and clear with consistent grain through out. Skin tones have a nice natural look. Overall a very nice stable picture transfer. 

Sound: Hudsucker has a nice DTS 2.0 track. Dialogue and sound design are crisp and clear. 

Extras: None

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