Great Movie, Full of Originality and Dark Humor (by sgtcupcake2)
I felt like I needed to review this movie because it has been largely misunderstood by many of the reviewers on this site. First off, this is not a movie that is going to show you everything and baby step you through the plot. Children please leave now, this is an adult movie Part of the reason why I enjoyed this movie so much is because it engages you as the viewer by forcing you to consider all the event that are happening. Trying to piece all the randomness together and make sense of all the events unfolding in front of you is one of the best aspects of the movie. shocking as it may be <more>
we are forced to use our brains! . Even though the majority of the characters appear to have nothing in common and no real relationship with each other, their true connections lie in their actions. George Clooney's invisible threads for instance touch pretty much every single character in the movie even if there is no real interaction between them. There is a deep underlying theme of betrayal and a "big brother" complex which many of the characters develop or exhibit throughout the movie.As far as the acting goes each actor plays their role very well and I think that some viewers were disappointed because they were expecting a more developed Brad Pitt / George Clooney relationship as is the case with most of their movies. As for the humor, it lies in a darker corner underneath the character dialogue. This film makes best use of what I would like to call "situational comedy". Like taking the "classified information" to the Russians The embassy! so that they could collect some sort of reward . The brief scenes with the CIA are quite amusing as they mostly sit on the sidelines throughout the movie and clean up after the mess which is left behind after the seemingly simple firing of one Mr. Cox.I am always pleasantly surprised by how original this movie was and how it almost makes fun of all the stereotypical Hollywood bull**** that is filled with most movies today. One of the ways you can tell a movie is good is if you watch it multiple times and still find something new or amusing in the story each time.Bottom-line: If you are looking for a story that is more than skin deep which the Coen brother are notorious for then you have come to the right place. For everyone else where thinking hurts your head, go watch the new Transformers Movie.** On a side note** To the one reviewer who thinks Clooney shoots Brad out of no where, if you had actually bothered to pay attention during the movie you could see that when Clooney opens the closet the first thing he grabs for is his gun hanging on the wall. Then because of his yeeaars of service as an air marshal his training kicks in and out of instinct he shoots before he thinks. This may be also partly due to his paranoia of being followed by spooks
Probably the funniest comedy of '08! (by griffolyon12)
Burn After Reading is the Coen Brothers returning to what they do best, comedy. After the superb No Country for Old Men, the two brothers decided that for their next project they'd do a wacky and fun screwball comedy, and it paid off very well. The film is very funny and entertaining; like previous Coen Brother's comedies it is filled with dark humor and quirky, yet likable characters. If you asked what the film was about, I'd have to say nothing really; it's really just a movie about a bunch of idiots who are somehow connected in a plot that turns out to mean absolutely <more>
nothing, but that's what makes it all the more hilarious.The Coen Brothers did a superb job directing, and their screenplay was as tight as always. Of course it is the acting from this stellar A-List cast that makes the film such a joy to watch, in particular the performances by Brad Pitt and Frances McDormand steal the show in practically each scene that they're in. Overall if you're a fan of previous Coen Brother's comedies you'll love this film, and even if you have never seen a Coen Brother's comedy, but like dark humor, you'll love this film. It is easily the best comedy of the year.A perfect 10 out of 10!
Adults only?... I think NOT!! (by frodolives0102-1)
I have read several reviews, and I was amazed at one in particular. That one review focused on how only adults would be able to grasp the significance and beauty of the film as a film. I completely and utterly disagree. I am, what some would call, a child. I am sixteen years old. Not old enough to even see the movie alone, though I did. I loved the movie, the humor, as is the case with all Coen brother movies, was indeed dark. The story had a wonderful arch. It was simply well made and well acted. Though i would have to say, from the perspective of an actor, John Malchovich's character <more>
seemed to have nowhere to go. It reached the zenith in the first scene. Yes he was a misanthropic, smart-ass, jerk, for lack of a better word, but his anger peaked then had nowhere to go but down. So anyone who still believes that only an adult audience member could even understand or enjoy this film, think again.
The Coens' funniest film since "The Big Lebowski" (by ametaphysicalshark)
I'm not the only one to notice the pattern in the Coens' filmography: "Blood Simple." was followed by "Raising Arizona", "Fargo" by "The Big Lebowski", and "No Country for Old Men" by "Burn After Reading". The main concern one had about this film is whether it would be an "Intolerable Cruelty" or a "Big Lebowski" for the Coens. Let's put it this way: the reviews have been mixed, especially from major mainstream media critics. Guess what other Coen comedy received mixed reviews and was accused of being <more>
a somewhat tired mess? Yep, "The Big Lebowski".The Coens' sense of humor is very distinctive, and I'm not talking about stuff like "Intolerable Cruelty" this one the mainstream media liked, go figure and "The Ladykillers", which featured numerous commercial concessions. I'm talking about the vicious, cruel, misanthropic farce that gets self-important critics' knickers in a twist. Describing "Burn After Reading" as a screwball spy farce makes it sound much more "Austin Powers" than it is. There is a lot of silliness, but the sort of silliness one finds in a Howard Hawks comedy, not in most comedies that have been made recently. It's a screwball comedy but a pretty dark one.This is most certainly an acquired taste. It is not going to go down well with people who can't laugh at murder, things going terribly wrong for innocent people, or the Cones' trademark dialogue that pops up even in 'serious' movies like "Fargo" and "No Country for Old Men". However, "Burn After Reading" was seemingly tailor-made for my cruel sense of humor, as I found it to be easily the most inspired comedy script in a long time. It's a conspiracy espionage thriller with no stakes, nothing to fight over, a bunch of complete fools and idiots caught in the middle of it "a league of morons" if you listen to John Malkovich's character , and disastrous consequences for just about everyone. Take out the jokes and you could have a tragedy but as it stands this is the funniest movie the Coens have made since "The Big Lebowski", if not the best, and that includes "O Brother, Where Art Thou?". One really shouldn't know anything about the plot or how it unfolds prior to seeing it, as this is a film which is far more intricately-plotted than most critics are giving it credit for. The basic concept is that Frances McDormand and Brad Pitt's characters come across a disc they think contains top secret intelligence. What follows is, as described above, a thriller with no stakes and a bunch of idiots. It's one of those movies where you really shouldn't be laughing for ethical reasons but are, and it will have you laughing through your disapproval for basically the entirety of the film after the opening fifteen minutes or so, which are rough in comparison to the rest of the film, and to be honest the only thing that keeps this film from being absolutely brilliant and the Coens' best movie since "Lebowski". Just don't go in expecting a movie that looks as beautiful as many of their movies do- Lubezki is no Deakins, at least not based on his work here, and the Coens are very clearly attempting to emulate in many ways the look of the sort of thriller they're basing this on. It's functional, well-shot, and well-directed, but the writing and acting are the main attractions here.Of course, "Burn After Reading" will be dismissed as having little worth and for being a disposable farce by many. Well, if only they knew how hard it is to do comedy well. I'd reckon this was harder to write than the admittedly tremendous "No Country for Old Men", which was adapted from a novel that might as well have been a screenplay if formatted correctly. The movie may not start brilliantly not that it isn't good even early on , but once the Coens start firing on all cylinders they never stop, and the dream cast certainly doesn't either Brad Pitt has a smaller role than most cast members here, but he is absolutely brilliant in the role , showing tremendous comic skill that few would have guessed most of them had. The final scene may very well be one of the best I have seen in a long, long time. "What a clusterf-ck!", indeed.9/10
Another Hit from the genius of the Coens. (by swlabr413)
There's a point in this movie that George Clooney's character, Harry Pfarrer shows Frances McDormand's character Linda Litzke something that we've seen him working on for about half the movie. It was so surprising when I first saw it, that at first, I didn't even know what it was.Once again, the Coens have created wonderful characters, including Clooney, who is a womanizer and paranoid that people are following him, and McDormand, who just wants plastic surgery in order to look better. Also, there's John Malkovich as Osbourne Cox, who "doesn't have a drinking <more>
problem," and maybe the best in the movie, Brad Pitt as Chad, a clueless gym employee who is pushed along by McDormand.The only character that isn't up to par with the rest is Tilda Swinton's character of Katie Cox, Osbourne's wife. She doesn't get as many laughs as the rest, and it seems like the Coens just needed her as a plot device rather than an actual character. However, she may not be funny, but she does play the character well.The writing is brilliant and the Coens weave the story in such a way that it reminds me of their previous movie, The Big Lebowski. In the end, as J.K. Simmons character sums it up himself, nothing really happens, but while watching it all unfold, you can't help but laugh at the absurdity.
The point here is that this movie is for adults, with adult themes and adult situations. As with all Coen brother movies, there are going to be people who love it and people that hate it. There doesn't seem to be much middle ground. I loved this movie. It was entertaining, dark and very funny. I really liked "No Country for Old Men" but I have to say, "Burn After Reading" was a more enjoyable film for me. Some of the reviews here have said that the film rambles around pointlessly, without any clear direction; well I have to disagree, if you are paying attention and you <more>
are an adult, you should have no problem understanding what is going on. The best part of the movie is watching this great cast perform brilliantly with the odd-ball material they are given. They are all straight men for the Coen brother's antics. There is violence, bad language, and everyone is sleeping with everyone else, especially George Clooney. But the movie is very funny and while the rest of Hollywood seems to have lost there way, the Coen brothers continue to put out intelligent, entertaining and thought provoking material.
Nobody is quite there in this new bright farce by the Coen brothers. The plot is a smart excuse for a movie about nothing but appearing to be about a lot of things. Going backwards and forwards at the same time. Talk about "The Russians?" or planning to write a memoir. Brad Pitt is priceless and the innocence of his character is so believable that I wondered how many more surprises this actor has up his sleeve. He is a joy. George Clooney is also terrific and the Coens move through their crossed purposes with speed and elegance. I was totally immerse in their universe even if I <more>
didn't quite care what was going on. John Malkovich, Frances McDormand, Richard Jenkins and the unnerving Tilda Swinton complete the package of this movie that feels as if it was made for the sheer pleasure of it.
Norman Cousins would have loved the Coen Brothers' "Burn After Reading." The late great Saturday Review editor had treated his illness with Marx Brothers movies, having "made the joyous discovery that 10 minutes of genuine belly laughter had an anesthetic effect and would give me at least two hours of pain-free sleep."I have never felt healthier than after 96 minutes of explosive and grateful laughter at the "Burn" screening, also marveling at the array of British-stage caliber acting from "Fargo"-invoking Frances McDormand, witchy-icy Tilda <more>
Swinton, a more-manic-than-ever John Malkovich, and a dozen major players, such as J.K. Simmons as the deadpan CIA boss and Richard Jenkins as the former Greek Orthodox priest, now running an upscale gym.Others may lead the cast list with George Clooney and Brad Pitt, but to me, their performances were just a bit on the self-conscious side, trying too hard. At any rate, it's a great cast, and while the plot might have turned into a dud in somebody else's treatment, the Coen Brothers' writing is hilarious, their zingers deadly.A critic, probably with bad digestion, has decried this "very black comedy set in a blanched, austere-looking Washington, D.C. an uninspiring and uncomfortable place in which everyone betrays everyone else, and the emotional tone veers from icy politeness to spitting rage and back again." If I had a chance to think, instead of enjoying "Burn," I would have contemplated Molière and Evelyn Waugh, their comedies of manners, psychological insight, and unbridled great humor.Yes, there are betrayals none better than the totally unexpected one at the end of the film , and there is rage, but all contained within a glorious bubble of writing-directing-acting excellence. "Burn" grips and holds, surprises and entertains, it is a virtuoso piece.Don't be misled by the a "action-trailer" on TV, saturating the airwaves; it says nothing of the film. Malkovich punching Pitt over a compromising CD of spook stuff is not at the heart of this - the McDormand character's pursuit of cosmetic surgery is, what with her self-examination, a lengthy session with the surgeon Jeffrey DeMunn, in a brilliant turn , her desperate quest for a way to pay for it. Funny and going deep at the same time, "Burn" presents a series of character studies hence the thought of Molière , in the context of mannered yet true social interactions Waugh .Skip descriptions of the plot, reject self-righteous denunciations of smart skepticism and charming evil, go and wallow in life-affirming laughter.
I saw the film at the 65th Venice Film Festival yesterday. The red carpet was a huge attraction of course with Brad Pitt and George Clooney. I'm not surprised to tell you that the Coens will not disappoint any fans with Burn After Reading.Two gym employees Brad Pitt and Frances McDormand find a computer disc containing Osbourne Cox's John Malkovic CIA informations and they try to get money from him.Original story, awesome cast, great direction, many hilarious moments, marvelous acting and highly unpredictable actions are at the rendez-vous.Though the movie is a bit short 95min. , <more>
Burn After Reading is a very enjoyable film that you won't soon forget. **** out of 5