Almost twenty years later and this film still makes me laugh. In retrospect, Raising Arizona was the template for the Coen Brothers’ idiosyncratic and outlandish style of exaggerated comedy, and it was the mixing bowl for their stylish and elusive symbolism and their vague yet thoughtful brand of storytelling.

Often times, with this film, the tale is in perception. You have to notice the small things to piece the story together. At a glance it seems the Coens may have substituted substance for flare, but that is not so. A lot of the details are subtle and quick, buried beneath the visual layers and the facetious dialogue of the movie.

The plot is endearingly farcical, very dark and, at times, exciting. The writing is impeccable and the cast is dead-on perfect. Raising Arizona is a broad stroke of brilliance from the brush of the best auteur tandem in film. It set the stage for the legendary career of the Coen Brothers to come and remains one of the most iconic cult comedies ever made.

4.5 out of 5 stars.



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