Burn After Reading is a 2008 black comedy film written, produced and directed by Joel and Ethan Coen and features a star-studded cast in John Malkovich, Tilda Swinton, Frances McDormand, George Clooney and Brad Pitt in the lead roles.
Oh, and it also happens to be an absolute bloody waste of time.
Okay, wow, it’s not that often that one comes across a movie as bad as Burn After Reading, a movie so rubbish that not even the sparkling, often over the top performances by some real Hollywood Heavyweights can save it from the bottom of the trash heap. And this sucks. I saw the trailer for the movie. I liked the trailer for the movie. I liked Brad Pitt in an almost unrecognizable role as a lovable doofus. I even thought George Clooney was as polished and accomplished as ever.
But worst of all?
A quick overview of the story sums it up as a CIA agent gets turned loose, he takes to writing a memoir, in the process of investigating the option of divorcing him, his cheating wife manages to get his personal files lost, they get found by some incompetent gym employees who then try to get money out of the agent for the return of his notes.
And that is pretty much it.
Everything and everyone is confused, nothing really goes anywhere, and pretty much everyone is cheating on one another. The story isn’t funny (apart from the laughs gained out of the bumbling Brad Pitt), it isn’t particularly smart, it isn’t particularly action-packed, heck, it doesn’t even have a decent end or beginning for that matter! It’s just an absolute exercise in pointlessness.
Unfortunately, to add even further to its woes, the soundtrack isn’t particularly interesting either and as a whole, the movie just really doesn’t feel or come across like a finished, well thought out piece of work, instead it just kind of fakes its way through the whole mess and then tries to smile as the end credits roll. Honestly, it isn’t pretty.
Though funnily enough, despite my rather harsh criticism of the film and its ‘story’ as a whole, nothing can be faulted about the extremely strong lead cast’s performances as each and every one of these talented superstars puts in extremely competent, enjoyable (if admittedly slightly over the top) performance that does slot in perfectly with the feel of the movie, but unfortunately just can’t do enough to save this sorry mess.
Sorry, but hopefully the Coen brothers can churn out something a little better on their next attempt because after all, these boys do hold an Oscar or two you know…
Related link: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0887883/