Billy's Film Reviews.

A series of film reviews and opinion pieces from a film student and all round movie lover! Happy reading!

Burn After Reading – 2008

Burn-After-Reading-DVD-L025195016490Continuing the Coen Brothers marathon that is turning out to be tougher than I imagined given other commitments, comes my favourite picture of the lot.
This doesn’t have the popularity of “The Big Lebowski”, the grandeur of “No Country For Old Men” or the style of “Inside Llewyn Davis”, but it is by far, one of the most outrageously hysterical pictures I have ever seen.
As I state time and time again, the initial experience of a film is the most paramount factor for how much you can take from it. My experience of this film was perfect. I knew nothing about it and I was fully invested from the word go.

Reviewer Mark Kermode (who didn’t appear to enjoy it very much) says “the gap between quirky and irksome is very very small.” I agree with this to an extent, but I feel as though the gap is slightly larger, therefore I have a a bit more time for ‘zany’ and ‘whacky’ pictures like “Burn After Reading”.
Essentially assembling a stellar ensemble cast and having them play polar opposites of themselves, “Burn After Reading’s” plot could simply be described as a snow-balling calamity of separate and equally stupid plots that manage of intertwine with one another at a certain moment in time.
Revolving around a CD containing a memoir that gets mistaken by a dopey gym instructor for some “heavy C.I.A shit”, “Burn After Reading” is a series of silly and outrageous events that makes it’s audience shake their heads in disbelief – but that’s exactly the point!
Burn After Reading 14

Starring famous faces like George Clooney, Brad Pitt, Tilda Swinton, John Malkovich and Frances McDormand, the film is pointless at it’s core and could have easily flopped, but it is written and acted so incredibly well that these famous faces do get masked by the character portrayals and you do in fact get sucked into this crazy and curious world of stupidity.
Just when you think the lead characters couldn’t choose a worse option, they pursue another horrendous idea, landing them in even more hot water, and the journey is incredibly entertaining!

Brad Pitt steals the show as Chad, a complete characterisation of a gym instructor who is slightly camp, incredibly dumb and incredibly funny. Two scenes in particular make Chad one of Pitt’s best characters involving negotiations with Osborne Cox (Malkovich), a frustrated ex-C.I.A employee. Whether it’s via a phone call or one-on-one in a car, the chemistry between these two kingpins makes for some brilliantly comedic scenes that are definite highlights of the film.
The all round chemistry between the general cast is superb and it is obvious that they are all having an incredibly fun time with it all.

burcoenGeorge Clooney is at his best in a very long time, and personally I don’t think I’ve seen him better since his efforts as Harry in “Burn After Reading”.
He’s everything you don’t expect the real life Clooney to be at certain points; he’s relatively ugly, taboo and crude, but he also possesses the typical Clooney charm we’ve grown accustomed to; the mix is perfect.

Arguably one of the Coen Brother’s most outrageous pictures that lacks some “genuine substance”, “Burn After Reading” is stupid beyond belief, ultimately about nothing at all and a laugh riot that will leave the audience in disbelief about what is going on (which for the most part is mind-bogglingly confusing).
This is my personal favourite from the Coen Brothers and I truly believe it deserves a better iMDB score than a 7/10 – this is a brilliantly enjoyable picture that deserves a watch.

If at any stage you find yourself not understanding what is going on, don’t panic, the characters have no clue either…



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