BURN AFTER READING is wildly funny, but it’s also very sly and subversive as a piece of filmmaking, and is a spoof of the American way of stupidity, narcissism and paranoia, a shaggy-dog tale set in the spy-vs-moron style. It stars George Glooney, Brad Pitt, John Malkovich, and Francis McDormand.
Clooney has never played it goofier than he does here as Harry, who has been virtually castrated by his successful career woman wife (Elizabeth Marvel), who is always traveling overseas to promote her children’s books. All the while, Clooney’s character isn’t sure what foods he s allergic to and keeps teetering noisily on the verge of anaphylactic shock with phlegm. However, this does not stop Clooney from screwing Malkovich’s wife, and for that matter any other woman he can lure into his sex dungeon whenever his own wife is out of town.
Brad Pitt plays Chad Feldheimer, a clueless gym employee with a bizarre streaked hairdo and a toned body continuously in motion. Brad Pitt adds another fantastically quirky character to his resume as a meathead personal trainer and the rest of the cast is wonderful as well. John Malkovich is hilarious and Tilda Swinton plays Malkovich’s wife with heartless acidity that is as funny as it is cruel.
Malkovich is a CIA agent about to be demoted to another branch of the government, with lower security clearance, because of his alcoholism. When his memoirs accidentally falls into the hands of two unwise Washington, D.C. morons when a CD copy of the rough draft ends up on the locker room floor of the Hardbodies fitness center, employees
Frances McDormand basically reprises her role from “Fargo” as a clueless yet determined woman, but the role is not tired.
Interestingly and perhaps ironically, in Burn After Reading the civilians engage in subterfuge with more passion, but no more success, than the so-called professionals. But if you didn’t mind the hit or miss mania of The Hudsucker Proxy, or just find everything these actors do to be fascinating, you’ll easily enjoy Burn After Reading.
Burn After Reading is that rare satirical thriller–a devilish, delicious, diabolically dark, irreverent and insanely funny movie that could only have come from the minds of Joel and Ethan Coen.
Whom audiences can rely on the Coen brothers for snappy acting, hilarious dialogue and off-putting amounts of bloodshed, and Burn After Reading is no exception.