Friday, 25 September 2009

Film Review: BURN AFTER READING (2008)

Director: Ethan Coen & Joel Coen
Running time: 92 mins (approx)
Certificate (UK): 15

Watched on Sky+ Friday 25th September 2009.


I’ll admit to being a bit of a fan of some of the Coen brother’s work, particularly their comedies. This is, without doubt, the best one since The Big Lebowski (1998), a film for which I still have great affection. Enough about me, there’s a great cast, a very funny story, if a little complicated at times, and a lot of laughs. I certainly enjoyed it, but I’ll tell you a bit about the plot before I go on…

Osbourne Cox is a CIA analyst who has been in the job a long time when his superiors decide his time has come to leave. He decides to write a memoir no that he has some free time, a copy of which ends up in the hands of Linda Litzke and Chad Feldheimer, two employees of a Georgetown gym. Linda wants plastic surgery and has been turned down by her health insurance and Chad, well; he’s just an amiable goof. The incompetent pair tries to blackmail Cox, only to discover that he’s not playing ball. The plot is complicated by a relationship between Linda and Harry Pfarrer, who is also having an affair with Cox’s wife Katie. Got it so far? Having failed to persuade Cox to part with any money, the conspirators decide to go to the Russians. I won’t say any more, you’ll have to watch it…

I loved Frances McDormand in Fargo (1996) and she was even better in this as Linda Litzke. Great performances from the entire cast, particularly George Clooney as Harry Pfarrer, Brad Pitt was really good as Chad Feldheimer, John Malkovich as Osbourne Cox and Tilda Swinton as Katie Cox. As I said, a great cast. The production was good too, it was like a modern twist on a fifties screwball comedy. The only thing I felt that let it down was the way the ending was done. It was done through narrative rather than letting it be played out on the screen, which IMHO I found rather disappointing, apart from that, a really fine effort!

My score: 7.5/10

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