Burn After Reading (2008)

DailyView: Day 277, Movie 392

Joel and Ethan Coen do this kind of film really well.

Burn After Reading falls right in with Fargo and Raising Arizona as black comedic crime films with complicated and intricate plots and somewhat cartoonish characters.

According to IMDB: “Osbourne Cox (John Malkovich), a Balkan expert, resigned from the CIA because of a drinking problem, so he begins a memoir. His wife (Tilda Swinton) wants a divorce and expects her lover, Harry (George Clooney), a philandering State Department marshal, to leave his wife. A CD-ROM falls out of a gym bag at a Georgetown fitness center. Two employees there try to turn it into cash: Linda (Frances McDormand), who wants money for cosmetic surgery, and Chad (Brad Pitt), an amiable goof. Information on the disc leads them to Osbourne who rejects their sales pitch; then they visit the Russian embassy. To sweeten the pot, they decide they need more of Osbourne’s secrets. Meanwhile, Linda’s boss (Richard Jenkins) likes her, and Harry’s wife leaves for a book tour. All roads lead to Osbourne’s house.”

This was a riot. I laughed multiple times and found these characters to be so over-the-top that they were so enjoyable. Are they too cartoonish? Maybe, but that did not bother me even a little bit. None of it took me out of the film.

The CIA supervisor, played by J.K. Simmons, was absolutely hilarious. His deadpan reactions to the ridiculousness of the story being told to him by David Rasche. The difference in POV between Simmons, who couldn’t give a bigger crap about what was happening and downplaying everything, and the chaotic thoughts of everyone else involved.

George Clooney is off the charts with his paranoid U.S. Marshal character. He was a real womanizer, bouncing around to several women as his wife was on tour with her book. Clooney threw himself into this role and he was fantastic.

Clooney was involved in the best moment in the movie with Brad Pitt that lead me to scream out in shock. It was so great and I couldn’t stop laughing at his behavior. In fact, that moment is when this movie really came alive and became more than just another clever black comedy.

This was a great film that I had a lot of fun with.

2 thoughts on “Burn After Reading (2008)

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