Made on a budget and scrupulously conceived and edited they manage to do what a lot of other filmmakers can only dream about, that is to have a major control over the product they produce, free from outside control. Joel is always credited with directing, whilst ethan is credited with producing their films, though it is safe to say that their is definitely overlapping of these roles.
Their first film was Blood Simple a take on the film noir genre starring Frances Mcdormand, the future Mrs Coen, it was immediately well received by the critics and set the standard for all future releases. All subsequent films are full of their trademarks notably strange hairstyles and dogs chasing somebody for no reason. They also use a group of actors regularly John Goodman, John Turturro, Holly Hunter all feature as well as star names, these have included Paul Newman, Jeff Bridges, George Clooney, Nicholas Cage and Tim Robbins.
Their films are heavily influenced by previous directors such as Preston Sturges and Frank Capra but they also add their own black sense of humour into the mix. That dark sense of humour was much in evidence in their most acclaimed film Fargo which won Mcdormand an supporting actress oscar to further their careers. This gave the Coens
added clout with the hierarchy of Hollywood and more control over their films, they tend to be left alone to oversee their films. It will be interesting to see how the Coens careers develope from being outsiders and happy to be so, they may struggle to keep the outside perspective if success keeps coming their way