Sunday, September 21, 2008

Review: Burn After Reading

Yesterday, I finally got back to the movies! I've been trying to get to a film for weeks - but something always seemed to come up to prevent me. I was tired, or my friend Susan had something come up, or I was uninspired by the choices. So yesterday, as a treat since I was stuck working half the day, my buddies and I caught the new film by the Coen Brothers. And considering I was in a feisty, negative state of mind after having my weekend blown by work, it was a good choice!

In this dark - well, black - comedy, John Malkovich is a CIA operative who is fired. He decides to write his "mem-whas" - which his wife downloads when trying to get their financial statements with an eye toward divorce. The CD is left at the local gym, where Brad Pitt and Frances McDormand find it. They try to cash in by blackmailing the operative, who is unaware that wifey is sleeping with George Clooney and wants a divorce.

This is a pretty simplistic summary! As is typical in the Coens' films, there are so many layers and under-plots, well, they simply can't be explained. They get some wonderful performances from all their actors - especially Tilda Swinton and George Clooney (one of my pals thought he overacted, but I loved his role). And a special award needs to be created for the absolute theft Brad Pitt does of every scene he's in. He is so funny in his role as a totally clueless personal trainer - I sometimes forget what a gifted actor he is.

So, a funny, funny film - but very dark. And very bloody, of course - a great deal of shocking violence. Very nuanced performances all the way around.