Disclaimer: I won’t be analyzing every character and I won’t be getting into full depth. I feel that my review already is within the same contrast to the analysis.
As this movie ages on like fine wine, the certainties and uncertainties of this entire dynamic of the Big Lebowski spreads like the roots of a giant sequoia tree. A lot of people wonder “why is this movie funny?” or “why is this movie considered as a cult film?” At first I had a lot of difficulty trying to pinpoint on why this movie was even funny or a cult film at the first place. I realized that as I got older and interacted with different people, I was able to understand why. This movie at first glance looks idiotic but as you go down the layers, this movie is about us. Yes I can argue that the movie is about the philosophy of the Dude but it can also be argues that this movie is about the every day man. The best evidence that I can give to back up my statement comes within the first 10 minutes of the film. As the camera gives us a close shot of the Dude, we are introduced to his friends Walter and Donny. During this intense dialogue we see the Dude and Walter talk about the rug. Now at first glance it looks like as if Walter and the Dude are talking about the same subject. In reality, they’re not. The Dude is talking about how the “Chinaman” should compensate for peeing on his rug. Walter is talking about how the Dude should get compensation for his peed rug by delivering it to Jeffery Lebowski the millionaire. In this scene already, the two men are already blabbering and their train of thought is off track. It gets funnier when Donny comes in straight out of of bowling. He has no clue on what’s being discussed. He’s not helping to the discussion (which leads to Walter shouting “shut the fuck up Donny”) and he’s only half aware of the discussion (on 1:49 Donny says “and this guy peed on it”. Donny thinks that the billionaire Jeffrey Lebowski peed on his rug) which leads to a chaotic three way conversation in which nothing is getting done. The beauty of this film is that the Coen Brothers are able to exemplify a note worthy dialogue script. The intense chit chat slows and curves in a way that does not feel stiff, and the best part of this is that none of this is improvised. The Coen Brothers in my opinion made this movie more about the dialogue than anything else. The communication between the three is so impressive that every time that they talk, a person watching the movie can make at least one quote from each exchange. To put this entire paragraph into layman terms go onto Youtube and search for PS5 audio between gamers. The amount of chaos and discord that is within a 2 minute or 30 second video is amazing. This movie is an effortless release of dialogue and to this day it is beloved by many fans.
In this paragraph I will be talking about one character only. I understand that each character in the film brings out the seasoning but I feel that this character in general gives and shows us so much dynamic flair.
In the Big Lebowski, as stated above, we have three friends that make up the huge portion of the dialogue. Obviously the protagonist of the story is the Dude. However, we must not forget that without the Dude’s friend (Walter) there would be no plot, story, and dialogue. If the Dude did not have Walter, he would have never been dragged into the gigantic mess. Walter himself is crazy. He talks about Vietnam and always ends with “fuck it lets go bowling”. Like the Dude said “Walter I love you but you’re sooner or later you’re gonna have to face that you’re a goddamn moron” is a quote so underrepresented. He’s crazy but everything that he says ends up becoming true. Walter is the perfect character of somehow who talks big, acts big, and everyone thinks that he’s an idiot but later on, you realize that everything that he says is true. In contemporary terms I would compare him to Dwight from The Office or Ron Swanson from Parks and Rec. Being the boisterous character that he is (as shown above), Walter is extremely paranoid and acts aggressively. His plans and contributions, although funny in the eyes of the audience, often leads to disastrous results including a non direct kill of his friend Donny.
For example, if you watch this scene of Walter’s monologue to Donny, it kind of shows the reflection of Walter’s character. Here we see the Dude behind Walter. He is watching as Walter gives his speech. During these few minutes, the Dude is only an omniscient being who cannot interfere but only look on. We see how Walter talks about Donny but ends up tying his speech about Vietnam simply because Walter doesn’t know much about Donny besides being his friend in bowling. At this point, there is no bonanza of riches, they can’t afford a modest pot for Donny and has to resort to a coffee tin from Ralph’s, and it’s only the two of them. The seagulls laugh as the Dude listens on to Walter ramble about Hill 364. Walter’s boisterous personality is thrown away and only shows a broken man who keeps saying “Donny who loves bowling”. He can’t even properly throw out Donny’s ashes (they all land on the Dude) and it the end, it shows the Dude being angry and Walter being consoled by the Dude. Although I honestly find this scene to be very funny (for some reason it gets funnier every year) I cannot help but see Walter become a fraction of the man that he shows to the public. Walter indeed is a complicated man who gets into unnecessary adventures that always seems to backfire on him. Walter is a good man. However, Walter’s antics unfortunately got his friends into trouble. Walter’s craziness lies within the truth of himself that makes him such a perfect character of humor and saddess.
Alright Everyone! Hope you enjoyed this review! This took me three days to finish. Let me know what you think of my thoughts in the comment section below! Hopefully I can get back to WordPress again. Stay tuned for whatever I have in storage! Peace. 🙂