The Coens form a conspiracy of two—industrious, secretive, amused, and seemingly indifferent to both criticism and praise. Early in their careers, they gave detailed interviews, but in recent years they have discussed only specific and relatively trivial matters concerning their movies, avoiding comments on larger meanings or anything approaching a general intellectual outlook. This strategic reticence—the avoidance of art talk—is solidly in the tradition of American movie directors’ presenting themselves solely as pragmatic entertainers. But the Coens have gone further into insouciance than any old-time director I can think of. In the opening titles for “Fargo” (1996), they announced that the movie was based on a true story, though it wasn’t. “O Brother, Where Art Thou?” (2000) begins with a title stating that the movie is “based upon ‘The Odyssey’ by Homer,” which they later claimed they had never read. From the beginning, they’ve been playing with moviemaking, playing with the audience, the press, the deep-dish interpreters, disappearing behind a façade of mockery.
more from The New Yorker here.