DIR/WRI: Ethan Coen, Joel Coen • PRO Tim Bevan, Ethan Coen, Joel Coen, Eric Fellner • DOP: Emmanuel Lubezki • ED: Ethan Coen, Joel Coen • DES: Jess Gonchor • CAST: John Malkovich, George Clooney, Tilda Swinton, Frances McDormand, Brad Pitt
Burn After Reading is the latest offering from Joel and Ethan Coen, their first since their Oscar®-winning No Country for Old Men. The film stars John Malkovich, George Clooney, Tilda Swinton, Frances McDormand and Brad Pitt. With this strong cast and the brothers’ reputation, how can this be anything but a great film?
Indeed it can’t. This is a classic Coen brother’s black comedy. The film is very dark and violent in some places but isn’t that to be expected from this duo? The film is an interesting take on CIA conspiracy theory movies, even the music is reminiscent of spy movies. Malkovich plays Osbourne Cox, a CIA analyst whose memoirs end up in the hands of gym employee Chad (Brad Pitt) who sees an opportunity to make some money. Any further attempt to explain this storyline would be far too confusing; you’ll have to see it to fully understand and appreciate it.
John Malkovich is excellent, as is Tilda Swinton who plays his cold wife. Brad Pitt is another stand out as he proves yet again that he’s much more than a pretty face. The entire cast is solid even if these aren’t the most realistic or relatable characters. The ending is a little bit of a let down, but only because you aren’t prepared for the film to end so soon.
Burn After Reading is another classic from the Coen Brothers. Fans shouldn’t be disappointed and newcomers will be convinced.