Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Wednesday Movie Night: Burn After Reading (2008)

Ethan and Joel Coen can bring some of the most quirkiest situations to life on screen and make it funny and intriguing. I have to say the cast isn't ask likable in this movie as the other Coen movies I've seen, but they do have some funny bits where they play up the stereotypes of their roles well enough to make it overly comical. You also have a really huge cast of people in this movie, and a plot that ties together to be funny in how it all comes back around to the characters in the movie.

Summary: Osborne Cox is an ex-CIA agent and he is now going to publish a memoir about his time there. He leaves his manuscript at the gym one day, and it falls into the not the brightest of hands. Linda and Chad work at the gym and also find the manuscript. Believing that they stumbled upon something valuable enough to blackmail Cox they begin to do so. He reacts a bit differently than they expected though. So to try to amp up the reaction they go to the Russian Embassy hoping to beef up the blackmail. Meanwhile Linda is desperate for love and seems to be missing it right under her nose and Osborne may have more problem on his hands with his wife cheating on him.

Acting: The acting is really good from the cast and the strongest part of the movie. Brad Pitt is one of the workers at the gym, Chad. I think Pitt's part was the funniest of the movie with the comical way he played the stereotype of being a dimwit. Frances McDormand is also Linda as the other gym worker, and she is becoming one of my favorite actresses. McDormand is probably the only character that comes close to likable along with George Clooney's Harry. Clooney isn't a bad actor, but so far his characters seem difficult to tell apart. There is also John Malkovich as Osborne, and he plays up the unlikable guy well, and Tilda Swinton is his cheating wife, and there is always something entrancing when Swinton is on screen.

Filming: The color is well done in the film with bright, warm colors that give the story life. Along with the very characteristic shots that define a Coen brother film. You have all the angles that allow the alignments to look interestingly framed in the shot. The lights make for side way lines, and catching the characters in a way that gives them more personality. It's simple, but still makes a strong statement to view.

Plot: The plot can be a bit confusing at first if you don't stay focused, but it's easier just to stay on the basics of who they are and how they found themselves in the complex situation. It's quite simple when you just follow that manuscripts have been stolen and made out to be more important than they are, and that an affair is happening as well, and somehow everyone ends up being affected by two oddballs who think they have something special. I like the unique script, the quirky comedy, and the way the characters are portrayed. It makes for an interesting watch.

Burn After Reading I would say has narrow appeal as the quirkiness isn't everyone's cup of tea, and you don't really have dominant relatable characters to work with either. The directing is good and it's a good shot at making something unique in the movie market that is feeling generic of late. It shows there is still talent with the writing and directing out there.

Rating 7 of 10.

Burn After Reading (2008) on IMDb

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