The Ladykillers Review

I went to see The Ladykillers last night. Don’t bother, it wasn’t that good. If you must see it, wait till it comes out on video.

That isn’t to say that it didn’t have some good points. Tom Hanks’ performance was great. He was charming to the end. But that was about it. The story didn’t contain any surprises for me. However, it was done by the Coen brothers and they always seem to have more going on in their movies than meets the eye. I think that is what happened in Ladykillers. Consider the assembled team. The Intellectual: Goldthwait Higgenson Dorr PhD, the Fascist: The General (Pol Pot with a Hitler mustache), the Liberal: Garth Pancake (significant other named Mountain Girl), the Gangster: Gawain MacSam (Marlon Waynans constantly spewed vulgarities), and John Q. Public: Lump Hudson (who actually did nothing the entire time and was very stupid).

WARNING: Spoilers follow. Don’t read any more if you don’t want to know.

I think the old woman, Marva Munson, is intended to represent faith. Faith in God. There is evil taking place in her basement of which she seems unaware. The police (government) ignore her or at least don’t take her seriously. When the gangster approaches to kill her he is reduced to a scared little boy and is accidentally killed by the liberal. When the fascist goes after her, he chokes and the falls down the stairs. The liberal, who delivered a passionate speech to the gangster about his participation in the freedom marches in the ’60s then tries to steal all the money and leaves the team with a box full of Mother Earth News magazines. It seems fitting that the Fascist would be the one to kill him. When Lump tries to put his foot down and do the right thing, he accidentally kills himself. The Intellectual is of course hit on the head and dies. In turn their bodies are dumped on to a garbage barge that I think symbolizes hell (Gehanna, which was used as a metaphor for hell, was a garbage dump for Jerusalem). Even Pancake’s finger which had been blown off is, in the end, cast on the barge.

When Marva discovers what they’ve done, she demands that they return the money and go to church with her. She remains unscathed through the entire thing. The juxtaposition of the gospel music from her church and Wayans’ filthy mouth is arresting. And the silent painting of her departed husband, which changes expressions throughout the film, has its own candle filled shrine and may represent God. When she speaks of him being disturbed, the police sort of chuckle at her like she’s nuts.

I’m sure if I saw it again, which I won’t, there would be other things that stand out, the Coen boys are very good at that.

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