Book Review: The Big Lebowski – The Making of a Coen Brothers Film

It really ties the film together…

The Big Lebowski - The Making of a Coen Brothers Film : Cooke, Tricia,  Robertson, William Preston, Anderson, John Todd, SaƱudo, Rafael: Books

To say how much I love cinema, more even than the sausage, bean and cheese melt from Greggs, it’s weird how little interest I have shown in how the damn things are made. At least up to this point. As I’m on the eve of teaching film studies to actual teenagers, it is probably time to pull back the curtain and become familiar with all the moving parts. William Preston Robertson’s book The Big Lebowski – The Making of a Coen Brothers Film is not just a wonderful companion piece to a seminal work of art, it is also a how to guide for cinema generally…

As a friend of the Coens, Robertson had been in on the ground floor when they were filming The Big Lebowski. A film that means a lot to me in ways that have been covered here. Published to coincide with the release of the film, Robertson’s book has the uncanny ability to predict which characters and moments will become the most iconic.

The first half of the book is taken up with general comments on the Coen’s filming style (one example being the Screaming Fat Man motif that they employ in every movie), whilst the second half is more concerned with the technical aspect of the movie – featuring extensive comments from set designers, costume and storyboarders (including thrilling images of the original storyboards from the movie). Both halves are a fascinating glimpse into the process of perhaps the greatest directing partnership of all time, but the book also serves as a general comment on cinema and how films are made. Preston is a humorous and compelling writer who knows when to crack a joke and when to let the subject take precedence and this makes for a book that acts as an easy access point for anyone wanting to know what happens on the other side of the camera lens.

The Big Lebowski is a film that has inspired cocktails, festivals and even a religion. This book is essential reading for all Little Lebowski Urban Achievers and also for anyone who wants a better insight into how films are made generally.