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Burn After Reading

Burn After Reading (Coen Brothers)

"The Coen Brothers Rush Burn After Reading"

After a disc containing the memoirs of a recently fired CIA analyst ends up in the hands of two dim wits who work at a gym, they go around trying to sell it thinking it contains important classified CIA stuff.

The Coen brothers are taking a different shift from last years highly praised "No Country For Old Men" and going back into their comedy genre in which they seem to excel at. Here is a film that is full of characters that do stupid things, at yet we still seem to like them. Even when they are hacking away at other people. While "Burn After Reading" is a decent film, the entire project feels rushed and the ending too forced. It's as if they had no other way of ending the film, so they tack on the wrap up job.

The film opens with the firing of John Malkovich, because he seems to be an alcoholic. We are introduced to his wife, Tilda Swinton, who is having an affair with George Clooney. Clooney is also married, but is not satisfied with just those two women, so he begins dating Francis Macdormand. She has been trying to find love online with no luck. Her co-worker, Brad Pitt, finds the disc with the CIA stuff and they both begin to blackmail Malkovich. Somehow these stories intertwine with each other in a dark and humorous manner.

Everyone involved seems to be having fun. Brad Pitt and George Clooney are specially funny in their roles. One as a young, gum-chewing, doofus. The other as a paranoid treasurer who decides to build a very unique chair. Both Clooney and Pit are playing against type. Which is nice to see from such big A list actors, in a comedy anyway.

McDormand is another one to watch. She seems to slide into this role perfectly, nailing every bit of dialogue that comes out of her mouth. It seems natural, even though most of the dialogue is not. Malkovich is the alcoholic CIA analyst who is mentally breaking down. Losing his job, cheating wife and other things. This character is dragged through the mud until he decides to explode. Malkovich plays it with a sense of integrity. An upper class way of presenting himself, much like how he portrayed himself in "Being John Malkovich." Tilda Swinton seems to have the cold hearted bitch role down pat.

For those expecting a laugh out loud comedy, you'll be really disappointed. "Burn After Reading" is a slow moving film. It wasn't until half way through did it really start to kick up and peak my interest. There are a couple bits that are really funny, and others then just seem out of place. Don't expect it all to but fluffy funny stuff, this is a dark film. It is a Coen film after all.

J.K. Simmons has a small role as a CIA supervisor who has no idea as to what is going on with these character. The audience feels the same way. While it's not entirely hard to follow, some people may have some problems with it. I guess that could have been there intention, especially with how they ended the film.

While "Burn After Reading" is good, it's not Coen good and that may disappoint some fans. But the film is basically about stupid people doing stupid things, done in an intelligent way. The film has a few surprises, I was caught off guard at least twice. I just hope they put more time and effort into their next project.