The Big Lebowski Essay, Research Paper
All of the relationships among the elements in the film the Big Lebowski may seem to be enigmatic with each other, but this style of film creates an integrated system of disunity. The Coen brothers demonstrate this style through various motifs through out the film, from the main character’s name to what he drinks. The film is a perfect example of a film which has the theme of disunity.
In the film the main character Jeffery Lebowski, refers to himself as “the Dude”. This element of the story becomes a motif. The Dude is referred to, and refers to himself as the Dude because it represents his personality, which is an easygoing “cool” character. The common Western society slang which is associated with the word dude, is male prostitute. In the scene where the Dude returns home after being arrested in Malibu, he find himself engaging in sexual intercourse at the request of Mod Lebowski. After they finish, Mod explains to the Dude that she was using him to concede a child. Obviously he was not given money in exchange for sexual favours but, the Dude, (much similar to real prostitutes) was used for sex. The Dude is continuously used by his friends and business associates through out the whole film. Although presented as a laidback cool character, the Dude’s title is representative of how he is seen by everyone around him.
In the film, Bowling is seen as a man’s activity, a place where go to compete and get away from the world. In the bowling alley there is never a female present in the shot within any scene. This motif is reinforced during the scene entitled Gutter Balls. In the Dude’s trip-out it starts off as a bowling spoof pornographic film, which can also be considered a male thing. It has shots of floating bowling pins and balls rearranged in numerous sexual positions, where the pins represent the male genitalia. Further on in the dream, Mod, who is a strong independent character, is represented by Viking costume she is wearing. Contrary to this, she still required help from the Dude when bowling. In the Big Lebowski bowling is seen as a male dominated activity
During the scene where the Dude and Mod Lebowski engage in sexual intercourse, the Dude pores himself a White Russian. The Dude explains that the alcohol and marijuana helps him think. “I’m keeping on a very strict drug regiment to ahh, keep my ahh, mind limber.” This is shown when almost immediately after he smokes his marijuana and pours his White Russian he figures out where big Lebowski’s money is. In contrast to this, the drugs and alcohol can also be seen as an obstacle in the Dude’s effort to solve the case. At one point the Dude crashes his car after spilling his drink and dropping a lit joint onto his lap. In another scene the Dude is arrested because his White Russian was drugged. Drugs and alcohol become a paradox of the Dude’s success.
With these motifs in mind we are able to see that the Coen brothers used different motifs show any number of different things about the film. They are able to mesh together themes of masculinity to society’s views of the weak. With this, the Big Lebowski has a theme which can only be called eclectic.