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Burn After Reading
- George Clooney

Overview - With their overtly comedic follow-up BURN AFTER READING, the Coen Brothers return--about a third of the way--from the dark, dank recesses of the human psyche they traversed in their Oscar-winning NO COUNTRY FOR OLD MEN. For those unfamiliar with the landscape of modern movie psychoanalysis, this puts the fraternal filmmakers square in the cruel, misanthropic, and farcical realm of their 1990s-era body of work, somewhere between the tragicomic crime thriller of FARGO and the disconnected noir-homage anti-storytelling of THE BIG LEBOWSKI, with 2007's NO COUNTRY retroactively adding new nihilism-tinged dimensions of smart skepticism to the proceedings.  Read more...

 
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Overview

With their overtly comedic follow-up BURN AFTER READING, the Coen Brothers return--about a third of the way--from the dark, dank recesses of the human psyche they traversed in their Oscar-winning NO COUNTRY FOR OLD MEN. For those unfamiliar with the landscape of modern movie psychoanalysis, this puts the fraternal filmmakers square in the cruel, misanthropic, and farcical realm of their 1990s-era body of work, somewhere between the tragicomic crime thriller of FARGO and the disconnected noir-homage anti-storytelling of THE BIG LEBOWSKI, with 2007's NO COUNTRY retroactively adding new nihilism-tinged dimensions of smart skepticism to the proceedings. In a more linear trajectory, BURN AFTER READING also stands as the third entry, after BLOOD SIMPLE and FARGO, in what could be an unofficial Tragedy of Human Idiocy trilogy, wherein characters make the most outlandishly moronic moves to devastating consequences simply by adhering to true human behavior. Indeed, Carter Burwell's emotionally weighty score, which washes over biting scenes of explosive, anesthetizing belly laughs, is very reminiscent of his FARGO work. BURN is ostensibly structured and propelled by a spy-thriller plotline involving a classified CD lost by a disgraced CIA spook and found by two simple gym employees. But, in actuality, it's simply--amazingly--a collection of brilliant caricature studies interwoven by veracious, if Coenesque, social interactions, as epitomized by the pathos of the Frances McDormand character's precipitous quest for cosmetic surgery. The CIA superior who learns of the film's events (always second-hand and sometimes along with the viewer) doesn't know what to make of it, and why would he? This is the first Coen film in almost 20 years not shot by cinematographer Roger Deakins, yet the "new" guy, Emmanuel Lubezki (CHILDREN OF MEN), has created as visceral and emotionally fraught a high-definition cartoon as any since BARTON FINK.

Cast List

Joel Coen - American director/screenwriter/producer
Ethan Coen - American producer/screenwriter/director
Tilda Swinton - Oscar-winning British actress, MICHAEL CLAYTON
Brad Pitt - American actor/producer, INTERVIEW WITH THE VAMPIRE
William Bradley Pitt - American actor/producer, INTERVIEW WITH THE VAMPIRE
Richard Jenkins - American actor
Carter Burwell - American composer, NO COUNTRY FOR OLD MEN
Roderick Jaynes - Coen brothers pseudonym: created this fake editor as a prank
Frances McDormand - American Actress
John Malkovich - American Actor/Producer
Tim Bevan
Robert Graf - Executive Producer, NO COUNTRY FOR OLD MEN
Emmanuel Lubezki
J.K. Simmons - American actor, Oz/SPIDER-MAN movie series
Jonathan Kimble Simmons - American actor, Oz/SPIDER-MAN movie series
George Clooney - American actor/director
Eric Fellner - Producer

 
Details
    DVD Format
  • Format: DVD
  • Run Time: 96
  • Color Format: Color
  • UPC: 025195016490
  • Genre: Comedy
  • Rating: R (MPAA) (for pervasive language, some sexual content and violence)
  • Release Date: September 2009

Related Categories:
Movies > Comedies

Related Keywords:
Enemies
Black Comedy
Thieves
Live-Action
Politics
Spies
Spoof
Social Issues
Mishaps
Outlaws
Farce
Mistaken Identity
Blackmail
Recommended
Character Study
Satire
Big City
Corruption
Theatrical Release
Parody
Spy
CIA

 
Movie Reviews

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Reviews:
3 stars out of 4 -- "[T]he brothers have conjured a crazy-quilt comic thriller that takes on our growing national stupidity in the form of a sex farce. The result is wildly funny." - 09/18/2008 Rolling Stone, p.116


"This latest offering from the Coen brothers is an outlandish dark farce/spy spoof with some hilarious characters and quotable lines." - 09/12/2008 USA Today


"Pitt, a newcomer to the Coen's world, is completely at ease with this material....The actor matches McDormand laugh for laugh playing a doltish accomplice who means well but is not really cut out for the espionage game." - 09/12/2008 Los Angeles Times


3 stars out of 5 -- "BURN AFTER READING has some outstanding comic highlights -- many of them courtesy of Pitt himself. Loose-limbed and absent-minded, his hyper performance stays the right side of mannered." - 11/01/2008 Total Film, p.47


"[T]he dialogue pops as usual with musical idiom....[The] perfectly shifting plot mechanics hold appeal in an era wanting for screenwriting basics." - 11/01/2008 Sight and Sound, 52-53


4 stars out of 5 -- "This is precision-built madness. Beneath these chattering lunatics and the pinballing plot lies an intricacy worthy of Kubrick." - 11/01/2008 Empire, p.57-58


Included in Entertainment Weekly's 2008 Films Of The Year -- "[T]he Coen brothers' richest caper since FARGO. Like that film, it's an acrid thriller in which ordinary people commit desperate crimes." - 12/26/2008 Entertainment Weekly


3 stars out of 5 -- "Pitt amuses, Clooney gurns, McDormand crinkles and Malkovich steals the show." - 02/01/2009 Total Film

 
Customer Reviews