Sunday, February 15, 2009
Burn After Reading
I heard so many mixed reviews about Burn After Reading, and I was wondering what the general consensus is on this film.
I watched this movie yesterday and expected something entirely different. The previews set the movie up to be a quirky comedy (in my opinion), making Brad Pitt dance around as an airhead gym fanatic and Jon Malkovich scream in a silly way that seemed over-the-top. Or maybe the previews gave away too little of what it really was going to be. Or maybe it's hard to convey this movie in a trailer.
The movie WAS kind of strange. It had all these different angles that eventually intersected (which I really liked), but it was kind of bizarre. So many different angles were opened and were left that way: Clooney's "toy" he made in his basement and that connection to his wife, the CD with information, Malkovich's memoir, Clooney's addiction to cheating, the Russians...
I do think the Coen brothers are clever, and they make good movies. I was just wondering what the purpose of this movie was. At the end, I was thinking to myself: Well, so what? What is the overall message here? What are we supposed to take from this movie?
I enjoyed how they portrayed plastic surgery. No one needs it, especially if you work at a gym. I like how they portrayed the voice messaging system where you have to respond to a computer to direct you to a phone line (say "agent"). I liked how they showed cheating and how it just can't ever end soundly. Online dating was also interesting to explore in this film.
One thing that the Coen brothers do very well is create characters. Each of the actors did a fantastic job of conveying their character, but they were created very well. The actors seemed to get a good sense of their characters, but it was through the writing that probably lead them to really encapsulate them.
It also also noteworthy to commend the actors in this film. All very well done. The beginning scene where Malkovich gets fired absolutely blew me away. He's a very flamboyent, eccentric guy, but he really impressed me with that scene. Pitt even played a character very different from his others, and a smaller role, and he did a fantastic job. Very impressive acting.
Why would the FBI (or whatever that government agency was that Juno's dad played the head cheif) cover up all of these murders? To save their asses? It just seemed out of character and not true. I know the whole plot spun out of control to something that would never really happen (which is really the beauty of film and getting lost in a fictional plot), but I didn't understand that angle. What were the trying to say about the FBI? That they're willing to break the law to save reputation?
And the purpose of the title? Someone help me out there.
So what are we supposed to make of this movie? What messages are there?
What did you think of Burn After Reading?