Clipped from CA, Manitoba, Winnipeg, Winnipeg Free Press, March 7, 1998

Filmmaking brothers roll a strikeBy Alison GlilmorFor the Free PressFOLLOWING UP on their okey- dokey Fargo success of last year, those fraternal filmmakers, the Minnesota-born Coen brothers, bring us a hilariously skewed version of the American private eye tale.Through mistaken identities and the kind of goofy happenstance that drives Coen brothers films, The Dude (Jeff Bridges) finds himself reluctantly acting as a go-between in the botched kidnapping of a rich man’s wife.The Dude doesn’t exactly slot into the hard-boiled detective genre. He’s more soft-boiled, surviving on White Russians, dope and Cree-dence Clearwater Revival tapes in a rundown Venice Beach apartment, rarely rousing himself except to bowl.Bowling is serious in this movie, more serious in fact, than all the tangled life-and-death shenanigans involving loan-sharking pom producers, double-crossing dames and murderous German nihilists.Fargo, which also used kidnapping as a jumping-off point for a whole lot of other things, was a beautifully realized film from first to last. The Big Lebowski doesn’t have that wholeness, but it does have absolutely perfect moments — quirky details, darkly funny dialogue, indelible small parts.Dude’s sidekick—in bowling and detection —is Waiter Sobchak (Coen brothers' veteran John Goodman), a bowling alley know-it-all and cracker-barrel philosopher with a love offirearms.A vintage Coen character, Walter pulls a gun on an opposing bowler over a measly eight points with the justification that “It’s a league game.”Julianne Moore is a hard-talking rich girl who may or may not be on The Dude's side. Philip Seymour Hoffman (Boogie Nights) is aMovie ReviewThe Big Latowtki■ Starring Jeff Bridges and John Goodman■ Garrick■ RestrictedBridges, left, plays the Dude, Steve Buscemi is Donny and Goodman is Waltersity. John Tbrturro, as a dazzlingly dressed hothead bowler, prepares for the perfect strike. The Dude has a Dali-esque bowling dream, Sigmund Freud as choregraphed by Busby Berkeley.All the bowling footage, dream-like and otherwise, lets the Coens show off their well-known visual and technical tricks. With improbable humour, they give this low-rent sport the same graceful dignity that Scorsese gave to boxing in Raging Bull. The balls lining up in chrome-fitted chutes, the ceremonial lacing of the two-toned shoes, the stance, the release, the toppling pins — it all looks great in slo-mo!The final message of this wacked-out detective story is “The Dude abides.” That’s a pretty silly way to wrap up a film, but every so often in The Big Lebowski, siiliout of fivestudy in head-bobbing, forelock-tugging sycophancy, as the private secretary to the titular multimillionaire, The Big lebowski.There are plenty of scenes that do nothing to further the crazy, convoluted plot, but are lovely just the same.The deadly serious German nihilists, all dressed in skinny black, try to order breakfast at a pancake house without losing their intensilliness reachesfor the sublime.