New York, 1941. Socially conscious scriptwriter Barton Fink (John Turturro) has made it big on Broadway. Now Tinsel Town is taking notice. Hired by Hollywood to write a wrestling picture, Barton quits the city smog for movie stardom. L.A. has got the Barton Fink feeling. Barton Fink has got writer's block. Enlisting the help of able assistant Audrey (Judy Davis) and amiable neighbour Charlie Meadows (John Goodman), Fink finds the real-life inspiration he seeks comes from the most sinister of sources.
I loved the first half of this movie. The characters, direction, context, dialogue. The supporting characters in particular were larger than life and memorable - whether Lipnik the producer or the souse old hand sell-out writer, and his wife.
Then, half way through, the handbrake turn - and what was a enjoyable movie about the movie business becomes tricksy, surreal - and for me - boring. Many people will like that stuff - but I don't consider it nearly as clever as it considers itself. It also makes the story unbelievable, trite and turgid.
I would have preferred this to NOT take that turn at the half way point at all, but to continue as a great movie about Hollywood, where a new and serious writer finds himself having to sell out and writer B-movies under contract.