Friday, September 12, 2008

Burn After Reading review

Once again, the Coen Brothers are out with a dark comedy, after their impressive work on No Country for Old Men.  It's set up like a typical Coen Brothers film, but with a few more plot points.

John Malkovich is a CIA analyst who quits his job after being demoted.
His wife, played by Tilda Swinton, is a pediatrician and is having an affair with George Clooney's character, a married womanizer and a retired federal marshal who works for the Treasury Department.
Francis McDormand and Brad Pitt play two dim-witted gym employees who find a disc with Malkovich's memoirs and Malkovich's financial files, which his wife copied, in preparation to divorce her.  McDormand wants liposuction and various other surgeries.  They attempt to blackmail Malkovich for money, particularly enough to start the operations, and hilarity and death ensue.
The plot is coherent and followable.  The movie does have holes here and there, but they are holes that the audience can fill in, provided that they can comprehend what's going on.  The movie is realistic because of the plot holes and not quite resolved "Happily Ever After" ending.  It highlights the absurdity of spy conflicts quite well.  Two of the funniest moments of the film: Pitt getting punched and Clooney's "workout" machine.

4 stars out of 5.

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