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The Ladykillers  

Review: written 2005

Very funny, though not the Coens best

Lets get it over with - DON'T compare to the original - the humour, style and script are significantly different, only the basic plot premise remains the same.

Tom Hanks is the eccentric mastermind aiming to steal from a floating casino, and to do this he needs to operate out of the basement of an old coloured church going lady. The misfits he has gathered to do the job are so inept, that things go ever further awry as the movie goes on leading to deliciously black humour of the very Coen variety.

The Coens excel themselves as usual in the sparkling verbiage - Tom Hanks is hysterical as the professor who has swallowed at least one dictionary, with his wonderful explanations and mild epithets. This is contrasted with Irma P. Halls show stealing coloured lady, who sits every evening at the portrait of her late husband - who watches with ever varying expressions on the surveyings leaving us in no doubt as to what he would have thought...

Less successful by far is the jarring profanity of Marlon Wayans, who should really have been in a different movie altogether.

The two other major stars as usual in a Coen Brothers movie are:

a) the music, which instead of the bluegrass showcase of 'O Brother' is now a Gospel music showcase, which gives the movie some much needed life and motion when it is danger of looking like a stageplay, and b) the fantastic sepia hued cinematography which is a delight to watch and succeeds in much the same way as 'O Brother' to make this a stylised slightly surreal version of reality

There really is some very funny humour of wordplay, situation and slapstick variety in this, but with a few jarring notes (Wayans, the profanity) If, however, you are willing to not even think about the other movie of the same name, accept this as a pleasingly surreal comedy of a type so rarely made - really only when the Coen Brothers make a movie in fact.

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