johnlink ranks BURN AFTER READING (2008)

I meant to see BURN AFTER READING in theaters, but never had the opportunity to. I heard much complaining about the end of the film, and some criticism that it was too convoluted. There were also many who liked it, so I went in expecting a lot out of this Coen Brothers movie starring Clooney, Pitt, McDormand, and Malkovich.

Usually, this is where I sum up the movie in one short sentence because I hate plot synopses that tell you everything. If I tried to give this movie a one sentence rundown, it would either be the worst run-on sentence in history, or it would tell you nothing. Basically, this movie has a bunch of characters who sleep with, deceive, love, hate, cheat on, and kill each other.

I watched BURN AFTER READING on 7.23.09. It was my first viewing of the film.

NOTE: THIS RANKING UTILIZES THIS SITE’S ORIGINAL SYSTEMIC ARTICLE WRITING METHOD. THE METHOD BY WHICH THE RANKINGS WERE ARRIVED AT, HOWEVER, REMAINS THE SAME.

FILM

As always, the Coen Brothers attack a genre with sharp with and excellent craftsmanship. This film takes on the spy genre, while also poking jabs at our country’s obsession with image and our complete lack of knowledge about world politics (among other issues). This movie is paced well, surprises often, and keeps the audience involved. But, the ending does suck. I was sure that as a pretentious movie watcher I was going to find out that the people who disliked the ending just didn’t get it. But no, the ending just sort of… ends. Not in a 400 BLOWS kind of way either. It tries to wrap everything up (even asking J. Jonah Jameson to cameo in order to give it weight), but ultimately fails. SCORE: 6

MOVIE

Does the ending ruin the movie? In a way, yes. But does it take away from the enjoyment of the rest of the film? I wouldn’t say so. I still found several moments to be of classic Coen quality, though the beginning does take quite a bit of time to get us up to speed with all of the movie’s characters. I’m not sure I’d ever watch it again, though. On the other hand, Coen Brothers movies are well known for rewarding repeat viewing (see: BIG LEBOWSKI). SCORE: 6

ACTING

This isn’t Clooney being himself or Pitt being Brad Pitt like in OCEAN’S 11. There is an attempt to create a bit of character here. Pitt is great as the loony gym worker. Frances McDormand is awesome (as always), here she plays a woman who will do whatever it takes to get a boob job and a tummy tuck. Malkovich is… well he’s Malkovich. The only one who bugs me is Tilda Swinton. She is a great actress, I know. But I’ve never really enjoyed her style myself. She’s a real bitch in this movie. I know she plays it well, but there is no fun or joy in the comedy at all. I could be completely wrong in this one, but I just found myself wishing for more Pitt and McDormand every time Tilda Swinton was on screen. SCORE: 7

WRITING

I have to kill the ending again here. It feels too… forced. It’s not even Deus ex Machina. It’s actually the exact opposite of that (is there a term for the opposite of Deus Ex Machina…?) A lot of the script is funny, whimsical, and enjoyable. It’s not the powerhouse that FARGO is, nor does it have the quotability of LEBOWSKI. I think its just… normal. And for the Brothers Coen, that’s a little abnormal. SCORE: 4

FINAL TALLY

FILM: 6; MOVIE: 6; ACTING: 7; WRITING: 4

6+6+7+4+0= 23

FINAL SCORE: 5.75

Advertisements

~ by johnlink00 on July 23, 2009.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

 
%d bloggers like this: