25 Best Coen Brother Characters

From Barton Fink to the Dude, counting down Joel and Ethan's craziest, most unforgettable creations

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5. Barton Fink ('Barton Fink')

The rap on the protagonist of the Coens' Cannes Triple Crown winner is that he's a caricature of the leftist playwright Clifford Odets, their way of sneering at credulous saps who think art can change the world. But with time, it's become clear that this "man of the people" is a kind of negative self-portrait, his creators' fear of succumbing to self-importance made quivering, mosquito-pecked flesh. John Turturro's nuanced performance makes him an empathetic monster, but he's a monster nonetheless — a fairy tale to frighten the pomposity out of writers too caught up in their own theories to see the world in front of their noses. Anyone who doesn't fear turning into Barton Fink runs the risk of becoming him. SA

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