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Burn After Reading


Jeff Nelson

Burn After Reading is at least entertaining, although it didn't deserve the Golden Globe nominations that it received.

Burn After Reading
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Joel and Ethan Coen have certainly climbed their way up the Hollywood ladder. The Academy Awards and critics seem to absolutely love the two of them. They definitely are creative people and know how to make movies. However, their films aren't for everyone.

An ousted CIA official loses his memoir to a pair of idiotic gym employees who try to use for black mail. Others in the area are having affairs and relationships in which they are all connected. There are many of these films on the market and almost feel as if it the idea become somewhat stale. The screenplay is rather decent. The dark humor is hit and miss with the funniest character being performed by Brad Pitt. Not everyone will appreciate the route it takes with its humor. As the film continues, more ridiculous events begin to occur. It begins to feel unnatural and completely fake. It's predictable and loses its steam later into the film.

With the Coen brothers behind the camera, don't expect anything other than a top-notch cast. George Clooney, Frances McDormand, Brad Pitt, John Malkovich, Tilda Swinton, and others all interact throughout the film. All of the actors do a good job, but the screenplay doesn't give these actors too much room for bringing personalities to their characters. None of them. The only character in which I feel has a lot of personality is Brad Pitt. His character is funny and he fits the role to a T.

Since this is a dark comedy, there aren't any big FX to speak of. The camera work is never called upon, as the camera is still or moving steadily throughout the film.

If you're new to the Coen brothers, this clearly isn't the film to start with. It feels forced throughout in all aspects. It doesn't feel like this story moves anywhere and that the situation gets worse, but nothing is accomplished or moves forward. The ending is unsatisfying and disappointing, to say the least. It's not the type of film one must rush to their nearest video rental store to see, but it's not the worst way to spend an hour and a half viewing. Burn After Reading is at least entertaining, although it didn't deserve the Golden Globe nominations that it received.

My Rating = Three Stars

Next movie: Dawn of the Dead (1978)
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