Love and scandal are the best sweeteners of tea. —Henry Fielding

22 September 2008

The New Coen Brothers' Movie

I really liked Burn after Reading. It's classic Coen Brothers' humor and more than worth the watch. I may even see it again. Joe Morgenstern called the movie a "cheerful trifle" and "forget after seeing," and I understand how people can thing that Burn is rather inconsequential when compared to the Coens' most recent powerhouse of a feature No Country for Old Men, but there is a lot to be said for funny, and Burn is hilarious.

In Coen fashion, it's absolutely ludicrous. The characters are figures of deep ridicule, making inane (and hilarious) decisions, and the whole film is a riff on the real spy movies of the 1960s and 1970s and all of those pseudo-spy movies of the 1990s (and even more recently—I should mention—the unbearable Charlie Wilson's War). Burn never takes itself seriously even when it is pretending to do so. The thing is, it pretends really well, and it is the very pretense which is so funny. We know we aren't supposed to be taking this seriously from the get-go, and so every ridiculous nuanced character trait that these characters have becomes hilarious. I thought it was great.

Oh yeah, the film stars George Clooney, Frances McDormand, John Malkovich (who is brilliant), Tilda Swinton, Richard Jenkins and JK Simmons. The best part, though, is Brad Pitt. He is absurd, and his acting is flawless. I am laughing just thinking about his moronic behavior in this movie.