Deep Focus: “The Big Lebowski”

Story posted March 20, 2021 in CommRadio, Arts & Entertainment by Jon Mead

Bowling, drugs and a whole lot of White Russians. These are just a few of the things that film fans will pick up on in one of the craziest, funniest and most convoluted films presented by the Coen brothers.

Now one of the most essential and recognizable comedy films of the modern age, it's quite difficult to imagine that “The Big Lebowski” was a massive flop when it was first revealed to the public.

According to Mentalfloss, the film made only $5 million during its opening weekend, almost barely covering its $15 million budget!

Besides being accompanied by the deep golden-voiced narrations of Sam Elliott, “The Big Lebowski” displays a wide range of amazing actors, presenting viewers with an all-star cast. Jeff Bridges takes the lead as Jeff Lebowski, a.k.a. the “The Dude,” as he is assaulted by a group of hired thugs searching for a millionaire that goes by the same name, Lebowski.

The Dude is accompanied by friends, Walter (John Goodman), an aggressive short-tempered Vietnam veteran, and Donny (Steve Buscemi) throughout the plot as he searches for the people beat him and destroyed his rug.

Other characters that Bridges’ character comes across are a feminist artist, a group of German nihilists and supposed self-made millionaire, the Big Lebowski- hence the name of the film.

The primary aspect about “The Big Lebowski” in which people will notice is a plot that is often hard to follow and is quite complex as it raises more questions than it does provide answers.

Countless people have tried to come up with theories and hypotheses. Some of them compare the Dude to that of Jesus of Nazareth- the only thing in common they have is the hair and his minimalist lifestyle.

Some have even hypothesized that the Dude and Big Lebowski are related.

What’s so unique about it is the fact that the plot is essentially unimportant and pointless. The Coen brothers even describe it in an interview with Indiewire as, “. . . having a haplessly complex plot that’s ultimately unimportant.”

This is something that’s not surprising due to how the Coen brothers are known for how anti-climactic their other works can be- other great films to look out for this are in “Fargo,” “O Brother Where Art Thou” and “A Serious Man.”

Its rather the journey itself that is the most entertaining and fascinating thing about this work. It’s fun to watch the often-tumultuous relationship between Walter and the Dude as they go on a chaotic adventure to solve countless mysteries and questions.

But it's really the characters who contribute to the work as a whole rather than the mystery itself.

Something to also look out for while watching, are the scenes in which you see the film go into a climactic resolution but often result in even more questions and even more ambiguity.

It may seem confusing at first watch but taking a closer look “The Big Lebowski” often takes audiences into the deeper and less linear aspects of cinema.

Jon Mead is a sophomore majoring in broadcast journalism. To contact him, email

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