Sunday, September 21, 2008

Don't Burn, This deserves multiple readings!

The Coen Brothers return triumphant with Burn After Reading, a film that’s as different from their Oscar-winning No Country for Old Men (2007) as possible. Where No Country was serious (with Coen-esque bouts of bitter humor), Burn After Reading at least appears to be a very frivolous affair (with Coen-esque bouts of grisliness). But as Brad Pitt’s character says during the course of the film, “appearances can be deceptive.” At bottom, I think Burn is anything but frivolous. It’s just so much unwholesome fun that it seems that way.

Burn After Reading is about infidelity … blackmail … exercise … and being in over your head, I think. It’s a tough call, but the key is that every actor embraces their character, especially Pitt. He steals the show and after a killer twist I was scared the movie would derail. But then everyone else starts to become fun and more importantly, funny. Just like the Coen’s No Country for Old Men, I don’t think Burn After Reading has an important message to tell, but the craftsmanship which goes into these films can’t be denied. Malkovich plus Pitt is perfection. In fact, I wish the film could have focused on just the two of them. It would have seemed like the opposite cat and mouse game that Javier Bardem and Josh Brolin shared. When Osborne and Chad meet in Osborne’s car, with Chad trying to look tough after riding his bike to a blackmail, Burn After Reading is at it’s funniest. In the end, nearly everything that happens in Burn After Reading results from Linda Litzke’s media-fed desire for a body makeover—perhaps simultaneously the most ridiculous premise, yet strangely appropriate one to our age imaginable. In the world of the Coens’ darkly funny film, we’re all going to hell and the only possible response is to sit back and be amused by the sheer absurdity of the ride. It may just be the perfect film for our time. Definitely see this movie. If you love the Coen brothers and dark comedies you WON'T be disappointed! A strong 5 on my "Go See" Scale.

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