Jeff Bridges is “The Dude” a slacker living life as it comes; drinking white Russians and bowling when he’s got a few bucks to pay for a game. Through a series of bizarre events the Dude finds himself mixed up in a kidnapping and ransom attempt. A wealthy elderly man offers Lebowski a boat load of cash to simply deliver ransom money to kidnappers that have taken his young trophy wife. At the same time the Dude and his motley crew of friends are competing in a bowling tournament. It turns out that Lebowski is a pawn of everyone, his friends, and his enemies but he’s seldom truly bothered by it unless one of them makes him spill his white Russian. There are some twists in turns in what is essentially a doublecrossing mystery noir film that are a little predictable but they don’t matter because the movie is really about the characters. These characters are so unusual that it would be entertaining to watch them do laundry, (“the whites”) and even more so what actually happens in this film.
The Big Lebowski is definitely one of the Coen brothers more bizarre films, not necessarily in story but definitely in visual execution and overall atmosphere. Once you settle into this slightly off kilter world that the Coen Brothers have created there’s a lot of fun here and even some emotional beats. It’s sort of a leisurely paced film matching the lifestyle and philosophy of the Dude himself and the Sam Elliot bookends of the film just sell the story and even the emotional weight of the film perfectly.
Small roles in the film are scene stealers including Julianne Moore as an extremely quirky artist and Flea from the red Hot Chili Peppers as a nihilist both come to mind. The movie is stylish, funny, and unendingly quotable. What did critics hate so much about this film when it came out? It’s radically different than some of the Coen’s other movies at the time but truthfully if you cross
This 1080p presentation is all new from the source material for this limited release. Colors are well balanced and vibrant with black levels coming off inky and dark without crushing detail. Contrast is cranked just a little but not to a negative degree. There’s a bit of grain but it’s film grain not grain from print damage or age. This is easily the best the film has ever looked at home.
The DTS HD Master Audio presentation is a mixed bag of fantastic and just plain odd. Overall the mix is great, dialogue is clean and clear and music is crip and loud. This is a character film driven by dialogue so there aren’t many opportunities for playing with the soundstage but there are a few instances where the entire soundstage leans to the left for no apparent reason. Why? Also there are a few brief instances of dialogue sounding sort of hollow. With that said most of the film sounds great.
The blu-ray comes packaged in a 28 page booklet with nice art and some great cover embossing. The packaging is sturdy and plush. All of the bonus features from previous releases of the film have been brought to this release along with a few exclusives.
There’s a goofy and fun introduction to the film featuring a film preservationist.
Exclusive to the blu-ray are some U Control options for viewing the film; a picture in pucture mode where more info about the story, the characters, and the cast is shared, a pop up trivia game, an option to allow a counter to run during viewing that counts every f bomb, and a music identifier mode which offers up information on the song that’s playing and an option to buy the song right from iTunes. These U Control features honestly feel a little gimmicky.
There’s a ton of extras here. Most of the really great stuff comes from previous releases of the film but it’s nice to have everything in one place. Ummm where’s a director’s commentary?
The Movie 9/10
The Video 9/10
The Audio 7.5/10
The Packaging and Bonus Features 8.5/10
Overall (Not an Average) 9/10