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THE RUG OF COEN BROTHERS

BY

ISHAAN BHARDWAJ
The rug really tied the room together. Spoken about half a dozen time throughout the
movie, this quote emphasizes the sheer irrelevance of the stories that the characters have
weaved for themselves in the scheme of this chaotic world that the Coen Brothers are
constantly trying to unravel. As the characters in both the movies find themselves as
slaves of some fate that seems to be governing them together, at the end, it all boils down
to a group of men who want money, or its equivalent. Both the films have shown a world
that is, although varying in time and place, so unrepentantly messy with all the greed,
power, and violence, that the lines of morality are slowly fading.
Although the Coens present Lebowski as a black comedy and no country as a classic noir
film, they have, in both the films, a matter-of-fact outlook towards violence, a coldness
towards the rationality and the emotions of the character, more interested rather in their
actions themselves as a consequence of choices that they make, which in turn seem
inevitable, and thus, no choices at all. The characters in the movie find common ground
in Vietnam, they are a product of a nation that has made choices that were, at the heart of
it, very violent, hidden behind the veil of greater good, justifying the war, in the face of
collateral damage of human lives, as necessary. Then as these “soldiers” find themselves
at the crossroads, faced on their return with hypocritical complication of the materialistic,
their ideas of morality fuel this chaos, that is the society.
In Jeff Lebowski and Anton Chigurh, the Coen brothers have made characters that are
like the very rug that ties the room together. Although different in nature, both of them are
very definite in their understanding of themselves and their own principles, whatever they
are. On the one hand, Anton Chigurh is a man who has transcended the definitions of
good and bad, the very agent of the irrational chance, or fate, taking from people by that
same virtue of fate, the same lives that he believes were in the first place constructed by it.
This is as if the Coens are deliberately trying to explore the nature of humans when faced
with the same uncontrollable forces that were created inevitably by their own choices.
And on the other hand Lebowski is a character that seems to have not registered any
institutional beliefs, indifferent to the shenanigans of the society that he belongs to. In the
midst of this sea of chaos, Lebowski seems to be the very manifestation of the brother’s
desires to uncomplicate this this tangled web that is this world. But they still deliver the
ultimate challenge thrown by fate as a consequence of the choices that he makes, and is
inevitably sucked into the very heart of this mess, notwithstanding the the utter
uselessness of the situation.
An interesting part of their style, i feel, is the very deliberate use of music to create the
mood of the story. Whereas in no country the total lack of any background score, the
exaggerated sounds, and the haunting silences ensure that there remains a sense of dread
that is being seen visually in the vast imposing landscape, juxtaposing our own ideas with
that of the uncompromising land that has been there long before us, and has seen the

again the inconsequentiality of our own dramas. I think that. .same repetition of behavior over and over again. and consequent ramifications of our choices. apart from the many technical styles. They seem to be questioning a person’s identity in the absurdities of the society’s values. leaving one to question. the Coen brothers have an inherently humorous outlook on the society’s need for institutions and structures.