November 23, 2014

Raising Arizona

In the overrated Raising Arizona (1987), two desperate hicks steal a baby from a wealthy couple who have just given birth to quintuplets and try to raise it as their own. The second film from the Coen Brothers (following 1984's Blood Simple) is very much alive, but despite all the verve in its images, and the earnest performances of Nicolas Cage and Holly Hunter as the career criminal and police officer (respectively) who unexpectedly fall in love, there isn't much of a movie here. Or maybe there's too much movie, not enough coherence. The film is technically very impressive, the kind of work that film students might do and fool everyone into thinking they had made something truly good because of the imaginative style of their visuals. But actually, the film isn't compelling and the action doesn't add up to much. In fact, it's more than a little sadistic in that there are multiple scenes of horrible tragedies narrowly being averted: A car slams on the brakes right before running over a baby, two cars barely escapes a head-on collision, etc. The violence in Raising Arizona is cartoonish, but somehow nowhere near as funny as it is in a Merry Melody. (And even Merry Melodies had a kind of structure to them, where Raising Arizona is a hot mess, very loosely conceived.) With John Goodman, Frances McDormand, and Randall "Tex" Cobb. 

No comments: