Directed and Written by The Coens Bros
Starring: George Clooney, John Malkovich, Frances McDormand, Tilda Swinton, Richard Jenkins, JK Simmons & Brad Pitt.To say that Burn After Reading is a comedy of fools is to underestimate its final message delivered by the drunken and defeated Ozzy (Malkovich): “You are the kind of idiots I’ve fought with all my life! But this time I win!” Sadly – albeit humourously as presented by Simmons in the film’s epilogue – no one really wins in this film.This is a movie that I’m tempted to label “mysanthropic” – not because it hates all its characters, but because it is so intent in finding the laughter in all their reprehensible features and lofty “goals”: Linda’s depressing love life and hopeless vanity, Chad’s airhead-ness and greediness, Ozzy’s alcoholism and lack of anger management, Harry’s sex-addiction, and Katie’s icy coldness (that scene with the kid is pretty amazing). If No Country for Old Men left you with no hope (but scared shitless) Burn After Reading will leave you with a similar sense of hopelessness that only sinks in when you stop laughing: is the world populated with just these type of people? If that’s not as depressing as knowing society can create such a brutal force as Anton Chigurg, I don’t know what is.
The Coens new film may not be a comedy for the ages, but it sure knows how to garner laughs at their characters’ expense, and considering that’s what I usually do in real life it was thoroughly enjoyable. And also, where else do you get a sex-crazed George, a dumbass Brad, a drunken Malkovich (okay don’t answer that!), and a bitchy Tilda? (or that either). A-
– Every time Ozzy says “memmoah” (in his mind “memoir”)
– The first phone call between Ozzy and Chad (“We have your… shit”)
– The first encounter between Ozzy and Chad (“Give me the stuff!”)
– The first scene (“I have a drinking problem?”)
– The last scene (“What have we learned here?… Not to do it again. We don’t know what it is… but yeah, okay.”)