Bewilderment and Bliss: The Pauses of the Coen Brothers

Fargo Paul Bunyan
By  · Published on October 11th, 2017

Those brothers have a certain way of going about, pauses and all.

Part of Alejandro Villarreal’s ongoing series on the cinematic voices of certain filmmakers, his video on Joel and Ethan Coen focuses on an important part of their oeuvre: the pause. The delay, the blank stare, the awkward foot shuffle. These are the down-to-earth cornerstones of the Coen canon.

The pair are certainly adept at writing their way into some sticky dialogue and aren’t strangers to a quoteable film, but pairing these things off with quiet reactions make them hit all the harder.

A montage of all the delicious silences in Coen films, from Fargo to No Country for Old Men and yes, especially Blood Simple, Villarreal’s video contains the breadth of emotions and effects the Coens are able to generate without saying anything at all.

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Jacob Oller writes everywhere (Vanity Fair, The Guardian, Playboy, FSR, Paste, etc.) about everything that matters (film, TV, video games, memes, life).