Burn After Reading

Burn After ReadingBBB

(out of 5)

After getting fired from a relatively low-level job at the CIA, irate former agent  decides that the best plan of action is to write a tell-all memoir about the agency. Sexy wife  downloads his finances from his computer to use against him in divorce proceedings and accidentally includes a draft of his book onto the disk. A copy of it ends up on the floor of a gym locker room and into the hands of clueless personal trainers  and  and from there spirals a mountain of mishaps that all stem from information the CIA could give a rat’s ass about leaking. The Coen Brothers, returning to the snarky, self-aware cinematic tone that marks most of their worst movies are so desperate to be ranked with Preston Sturges that this harmless comedy seems all the worse for their begging. While it features some fun performances (especially McDormand), it also suffers from movie star syndrome:  (as Swinton’s bumbling agent lover) and Pitt are too busy patting themselves on the back for playing against type to give actual performances–look at Swinton’s commitment to the role for a proper comparison of skill–while the plotting is clever but in the end amounts to little more than a silly, comedy souffle. That, you say, was what it was meant to be, but the Brothers film it like they’re anticipating its being a classic in the decades to come and, while I can’t say I have the foresight to know the eventual truth to that possibility, I also don’t know that any movie ever hit the history books because its director(s) said it should.

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USA/United Kingdom/France, 2008

Directed by ,

Screenplay by Joel Coen, Ethan Coen

Cinematography by

Produced by Ethan Coen, Joel Coen

Music by

Production Design by

Costume Design by

Film Editing by Ethan Coen, Joel Coen

Film Festivals:  TIFF 2008

Cast Tags: ,, ,, ,, , , , ,, , ,, , , , , ,, ,, , , ,, ,, , , ,,, , ,, , , , ,, , ,, ,, , , , ,,

Golden Globe Award Nominations
Best Motion Picture-Comedy or Musical
Best Performance by an Actress in a Motion Picture-Comedy or Musical (Frances McDormand)

National Board Of Review Award
Top Ten Films

Writers Guild Award Nomination
Best Original Screenplay

British Academy Award Nominations
Best Supporting Actor (Brad Pitt)
Best Supporting Actress (Tilda Swinton)
Best Screenplay – Original



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