Hanks shines in Coens' remake of The Ladykillers
While it doesn't reach the heights of inspired lunacy of their classic Raising Arizona, the Coen Brothers' remake of The Ladykillers delivers plenty of chuckles, albeit of the darkest variety. The film takes some time to hit its stride, but ultimately delivers a wonderfully comic and morally just ending.
Ladykillers stars Tom Hanks as Professor G.H. Dorr, a simpering Southern gentleman whose style of clothing, way of speech and sense of perverse gallantry is at least 75 years out of date. Dorr devises a plan to tunnel into the offshore counting room of a riverboat casino, assembles a crew to help in the heist, and rents a room from Bible-thumping widow Marva Munson (Irma P. Hall). Somehow Dorr and his gang of misfits succeed and are about to reap the fruit of their labors only to be found out by their landlady.
Ladykillers boasts several memorable performances, but Hanks and Hall provide the film's spark. Hanks' Dorr is as distinctive a creation as Johnny Depp's Captain Jack from Pirates of the Caribbean. A man truly in his own world, Dorr deludes himself into thinking he's above modern society, refusing to see that it has actually left him behind. Marva, wonderfully brought to life by Hall, is off in her own world. Unlike Dorr, she's morally sound. That, in the end, proves to be the key difference between salvation and damnation.
The chemistry Hanks and Hall generate and the potency of the Coens' dark comedic vision prove to be a winning combination. While so many modern comedies attempt to generate their laughs with simplistic gross-out gags, Ladykillers works hard to get them and succeeds. There's no sense of thievery at play here between the Coens and their audience -- simply a comedy with well-earned laughs.
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