← Back to Reviews

Raising Arizona

Raising Arizona (1987)

Director: Joel Coen, Ethan Coen
Cast overview: Nicolas Cage, Holly Hunter
Running time: 94 minutes

I'm thinking of going through the Coen brothers' filmography, starting which their first - Blood Simple., which I've already reviewed - and finishing with their newest effort, Inside Llewyn Davis. This is their second film, and it couldn't be more different from their first - Blood Simple. is a crime thriller, whereas this is a comedy with elements of crime mixed in, though the tone of the two films is very different.

Unfortunately, I don't think it's very good. I'm not a fan of Nicolas Cage in anything I've seen him in, and - although he's better here - he still doesn't stand out as anything above average. The acting all-round is just mediocre, though it was nice to see Frances McDormand and M. Emmet Walsh make appearances of varying importance.

I can't quite pin down what I didn't like about it, though the writing felt very contrived and forced, and it took me a fair bit of willpower to persevere to the end. It's not uniformly awful, and there are some nice moments, but it just didn't grip me as much as I would have liked. I'm disappointed because I've really enjoyed the other two Coen brothers films I've seen so far, but this fell completely flat for me.

Overall, a film I wouldn't recommend, which is something I was expecting to be able to do after reading the very positive reviews. It's dull, uninteresting and I struggled to sit through it. I appreciate most people clearly like it, and that's fair enough, but I see very few redeeming features here. I perhaps laughed a couple of times, which in an hour and a half isn't enough.

Leonard Smalls: You want to find an outlaw, hire an outlaw. You want to find a Dunkin' Donuts, call a cop.

H.I.: There's what's right and there's what's right and never the twain shall meet.

Ed McDonnough: You mean you busted out of jail.
Evelle: No, ma'am. We released ourselves on our own recognizance.
Gale: What Evelle here is trying to say is that we felt that the institution no longer had anything to offer us.

Fifteen babies played the Arizona quintuplets in the film. One of the babies was fired during production when he learned to walk.

Nathan, Jr. doesn't cry at all throughout the entire movie. But all the other main characters do at some point.

Edgar Wright's favorite film.