Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Burn After Reading - A Movie Review

This is how we felt at the end of Burn After Reading.  But we laughed even harder - nearly fell off the chair.

We've been fans of the Coen Brothers who have a penchant for writing bizarre, off-kilter comedies about ordinary numnuts, noodniks and knuckleheads who turn to crime.  The would-be criminals do not succeed.  But Joel and Ethan do.  

Rather than talk about the plot - you can read about that in Rotten Tomatoes or Roger Ebert's column - we're more intrigued with style.  The Coens start with the style of a screwball comedy with sharp-witted dialogue, irony, and well-developed characters.  Even the bit-players are caricatures with exaggerated personality traits.  I don't think we are meant to identify with these characters, or to derive insight into human nature from them.  I think we are just meant to enjoy their quirkiness.

Burn After Reading seems to complete the trilogy of George Clooney as goofball.  He's suckered his buddy Brad Pitt into being a dim-wit too.  Who knew Brad Pitt was such a versatile actor? It's a long way from A River Runs Through It or Legends of the Fall to the slow-witted personal trainer at the Hardbodies gym.

About Coen Brothers films...A friend asked us how we liked their 1996 movie Fargo.  We said we loved it.  You betcha.  What he meant to ask was "Will I like it?"  The answer would have been no.  His tastes ran more towards mainstream movies not quirky little comedies.  So, be forewarned - this is a typical Coen Brothers extravaganza.  Only you know whether that means you will walk away holding your sides from laughter or with a deer-in-the-headlights dazed look.

Other Coen Brothers movies:
Blood Simple (1984)
Raising Arizona (1987)
Miller's Crossing (1990)
Fargo (1996)
Big Lebowski (1998)
O Brother Where Art Thou? (2000)
The Man Who Wasn't There (2001)
Intolerable Cruelty (2003)
No Country For Old Men (2007)


The Flirty Girl said...

I saw this movie too! Though the humor wasn't completely my taste I found myself laughing out loud again and again. I think the larger part of the audience enjoyed it even more then I as I can't remember the last time I went to a movie and heard so many people laughing so loudly. I'd recommend it for sure.

Events by Evonne, LLC said...

I love the Coen brothers too and we just watched this movie last weekend... it was hilarious!

J Sav said...

Aloha! Those Coen Brothers are wild and crazy guys. We can't wait to see what they are up to next.