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The Big Lebowski: a Cultural Criticism - Essay Example

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The Big Lebowski – A Cultural Criticism This 1998 movie The Big Lebowski, directed by Joel Coen begins by introducing us to the male protagonist Jeffrey Lebowski (enacted by Jeff Bridges) who is also know as the “Dude”. He is an avid bowler and visits the bowling alley with his best friends Walter and Donny…
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Download file to see previous pages This incident opens avenue for the rest of the movie. On Walter’s insistence, the Dude goes to the Big Lebowski to ask compensation for his rug, only to be refused. When Lebowski’s wife, Bunny gets kidnapped, he requests the Dude to deliver the ransom for her release. He embarks on the mission with his friend Walter. The plan goes haywire when Walter decides to keep the ransom money. As more trouble brews, it is seen that everyone from business tycoons to nihilists want something from the Dude. A cowboy who is known as “the stranger” is the narrator of the film. (Cooke & Robertson, 1998, pp.36-37). A true man is one who can destroy the strict guidelines of culture to create his own identity. Although, initially it will seem that the movie is full of unrelated events, but everything is related to the theme. The game bowling is an integral part of the story. It has been portrayed in a stylized manner and is shown in several dream sequences. Although the characters in this movie are from different generations, they are all found in the bowling alley of post war period in the 1950s. In this movie we can see how one generation treats and abuses other generations. The Dude is a person who psychologically belonged to the era of 1960s. He is unemployed and spends his days by mopping his house and puffing on joints. He is shown as bearded, long-haired and likes to be left alone. He symbolizes as someone who is happy even without accomplishing anything in life. Then there is Walter who is veteran of Vietnam war and never loses any opportunity to remind everyone of it. He worries about almost everything although he claims to be a carefree type. The Dude and Walter are close friends. As the two of them team up to handle the ransom case, it is gradually seen that they make the most ineffectual team. Every time they go somewhere to achieve something, they inevitably fail to do so. Through out the movie the Dude fails to put in words to explain whatever is going on. This becomes a comic element in the movie and also a subtle reflection of the 60’s counterculture. If they could have managed to express what they want in words, then they could have managed to keep things under control, instead they always screamed about what they did not want, thus proving that the revolutionaries of the 60s would always be looked upon as losers. Danny who belongs to the 70s has been ignored and ridiculed by the Dude and Walter. Whenever he is bowling with them, he is pelted with verbal abuses with ceaseless mantra of “shut the fuck up, Danny”. He is shown as a quiet and dull character and always behind things. He craves to emulate his friends, but always lacks the courage to do so. In the movie it is only Danny who has been shown as actually bowling. Walter used the ball once, but not on the lane and the Dude never touched it. In the end, Danny is killed by the kidnappers. The 80s era is represented by Big Lebowski’s daughter Maude and by three German nihilists who were friends of Bunny. The rug that the Dude steals from Lebrowski turned out to be of Maude. She exposed to the Dude that the ransom money actually belonged to the family charity and she wanted it back. The Nihilists attacked the Dude and his friends demanding the ransom money. The briefcase with the money was already stolen along with his car. On hearing this, the nihilists demanded all money in the pockets of the Dude, Walter and Danny. The Dude: Hey, no, come ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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