“Burn After Reading” was Laugh After Viewing

Genres: Comedy and Crime/Gangster
Running Time: 1 hr. 35 min.
Release Date: September 12th, 2008 (wide)
MPAA Rating: R for pervasive language, some sexual content and violence.
Distributors: Focus Features

Directors: Joel Cohen & Ethan Cohen

JJ Rating: A-

One person finds information and two decided to exploit the owner of the information, which happens to be a CIA official, for lots of money. Burn After Reading.

It’s always a hit and miss with me and my liking of a Coen Brother’s film. I see that they are very talented and that if I dislike one of their films it’s mainly because it’s just not my taste and not because of any lack in the creative department.

But with Burn After Reading I was a bit disorientated in opinion. There are films that I see that have me reeling afterwards; did I like it, was it good? This movie was like that. I was sure the acting was awesome. There are major names here with Frances McDormand appearing again along with George Clooney, Brad Pitt, John Malkovich, Tilda Swinton, Richard Jenkins and J.K. Simmons. They could not have been any better.

That’s not where the problem was. The directing couldn’t have been better, either. Great camera angles and scenes were beautiful and worked well with the action that was going on. There was no flaw there.

The storyline was creative. To read how stupid it is about a CIA agent’s stuff being misplaced at the gym one would think this was going to be a corny Disney film. It’s a dark, witty Coen Brother’s film.

I think it had a lot to do with me. I don’t know how to explain it. I think I was thinking of different kind of humor when I was watching it instead of what humor it was presenting me. A different scope of dark humor was in my mind. I love dark humor so it would be ideal that I would enjoy this film.

As I’ve said it was witty. Like in The Bunny House and how the main character was so stupid she was oddly witty, that’s how it is in this film with Pitt and McDormand. They are two of the dumbest characters in the film and yet they bumble their way through everything while the smart people, Malkovich, Swinton, Clooney, are baffled by what the hell is going on.

Brad Pitt is oddly in the trailers, and it’s odd because in the film he’s not in there a whole lot. Even in the credits he’s credited as “and Brad Pitt.” He’s the last one mentioned. To give him so much trailer time fools people into thinking he’s one of the main characters. It’s Mainly Malkovich, Swinton and Clooney who run the show if there are to be the top people.

No matter, they all do a fantastic job and are well worth the money it cost to get them to be in the film. Swinton is a great angry wife. Clooney is a fantastic womanizer who can’t get enough. Malkovich is a pissed off fired person who can’t stand stupid people and he does it so agitatingly great that I’d be afraid to come to him with a question for fear it might be stupid. Pitt is a buffoon and so believable and it’s a great credit to his acting. McDormand is a kindhearted ditz who just wants a better body so she could feel good about herself and her performance is bright and oddly hopeful.

This is one of the first films I’ve seen that I can see some Oscar Buzz going on around it. Brad Pitt, Frances McDormand and Tilda Swinton have the greatest chance. Mainly Pitt and McDormand do and if anyone is nominated for acting from this film it should be one of them.

Burn After Reading is a Coen Brother’s film. If you don’t like them to begin with then this is certainly not a film for you. If you sort of like them then you should give it ago, because it has humor and great acting and you’ll surely be entertained though you might not ever want to see it again. If you are a fan then, duh, you should go. I thought it was enjoyable and I enjoyed it more after viewing more so than during. So I had some good afterthought laughs, so to speak.

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