Anytime people complain about how there aren't any great filmmakers alive and active, I go somewhere inside myself and nod a disappointed "no" at such a thought that ignores some of today's talent. The Coen Brothers aren't even underrated or unrecognized, they've won and have been nominated for many awards including Oscars. Known for their strict style of directing actors but remaining open to new ideas and suggestions, they've become a name that is sought out, that is immediately associated with quality by both viewers and film personnel. Governing over a diverse body of work if one were to judge by subject matter; however, the feel is always indigenous to a sort of Coen Universe, a sardonic, intense, vivid, and shapely universe. As a result we laugh at the funny parts that aren't necessarily funny, we're nervous when we needn't be as a result of how unpredictable the film can be, we're subject to beautiful cinematography and actors of all shapes, sizes, accents, mannerisms, etc.
I'm made to remember Billy Wilder (or rather, to think of him since he never directed a film in my lifetime) who also had a very broad film career, with work in a variety of genres. I feel like a director who jumps around like that produces as a side effect, a world that isn't limited, a world that takes many things into account, regardless if its customary to that genre or not; so that the genre yields to the director and not vise versa.
Burn After Reading - (2008) Directed by the Coen Brothers
Starring George Clooney, Frances McDormand,
John Malkovich, Tilda Swinton, and Brad Pitt
Fargo - (1996) - Directed by the Coen Brothers
Starring William H. Macy, Frances McDormand, Steve Buscemi,