BLU-RAY/DVD REVIEWS

003748Reviews & Counting
SEARCH BY TITLE # A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z
Burn After Reading
DVD disk
01.12.2009 By: Mathew Plale
Burn After Reading order
Director:
Joel Coen, Ethan Coen

Actors:
John Malkovich
Brad Pitt
Frances McDormand

Rating:
Movie:
Extras:
Overall:

star Printer-Friendly version
comment
WHAT'S IT ABOUT?
When an ex-CIA analyst's (Malkovich) memoirs fall into the hands of two gym employees (Pitt, McDormand), it triggers a chase involving his wife, her lover, the FBI, and disinterested Russians.
IS IT A GOOD MOVIE?
The empty-headed, the paranoid, and the pathetic spill over in Burn After Reading, Joel and Ethan Coen’s latest—and most misunderstood—black comedy. The merrily misled characters—two gym employees, one Treasury agent, his mistress, her husband, the Russians…—all run around Washington, D.C. looking for love, a quick buck, divorce, and most important to the plot, a disc containing an ex-CIA analyst’s memoirs.

John Malkovich plays Osbourne Cox, relieved of his position at the Central Intelligence Agency for his “drinking problem” (“I don’t have a drinking problem, ‘cept when I can’t get one.” – Tom Waits), which puts him in open access for the morons of the world. Enter gym employees Chad (Brad Pitt), whose can-do spirit make his constant use of the word “shit” all the more amusing, and Linda (Frances McDormand), in dire need of a tummy tuck (that’s her, not me saying that). And then there’s Harry Pfarrer (George Clooney), agent and part-time, eh, inventor, and Katie Cox (Tilda Swinton), the stern wife of Osbourne.

The ensemble cast, assembled from a heavy string of stars—some rising (Swinton), some in their prime (Pitt, Clooney), others in need of a boost (McDormand)—play the troublesome band of inept children to the T as only a Coen script would necessitate. And, like the best of their work, Burn After Reading perfectly mixes the comic with the dark, even if at the expense of losing their newfound crowd.

This is vintage Coen, and new fans (ie those who bummed a ride on No Country for Old Men, even when they didn’t “get” the ending) have been put off, mistaking Burn After Reading as “dumb.” It’s ironic how those calling the film “dumb” (as insult, not adjective) are the same people whose heads it’s soaring right over. It’s dumb all right, but it’s also too clever for some.
THE EXTRAS
Finding the Burn (5:31) offers promotional interviews with the Coens, Frances McDormand, George Clooney, John Malkovich, and Tilda Swinton, in addition to clips and behind-the-scenes footage.

DC Insiders Run Amuck (12:23) uses interviews and clips to take a look at the cast, their characters, and the city they run around. Comments from costume designer Mary Zophres and production designer Jess Gonchor are a nice inclusion.

Welcome Back, George (2:51) is devoted to Clooney and his work with the Coens, also known as the “trilogy of idiots.”
FINAL DIAGNOSIS
Classic Coen, with great turns from Pitt, McDormand, and Malkovich. Completists will add this to their collection regardless of quality (though it's one of the funniest movies of the year), while newcomers to the Coen style will likely be put off.
Strikeback
Not registered? Sign-up!
Or

Best Selling

| June 2016 More Best Selling
  • 1
    Batman v Superman
  • 2
    Zootopia
  • 3
    13 Hours
  • 4
    Captain America: Civil War (3D)
  • 5
    Kung Fu Panda 3

Featured Youtube Videos

Views and Counting