Thursday, December 3, 2009

Burn After Reading

Released: 2008

Reviewed: 11.27.09
Star rating: 2 out of 5

George Clooney (Harry), Frances McDormand (Linda), Brad Pitt (Chad), John Malkovich (Osbourne), Tilda Swinton (Katie), David Rasche (Palmer), J.K. Simmons (Supervisor), Olek Krupa (Krapotkin), Richard Jenkins (Ted).

When CIA analyst Osbourne loses his job he decides to reinvent himself and write his memoirs not expecting an idiotic pair of health-nuts, Linda and Chad, to get their hands on the raw writings and try to sell them to the Russians as spy secrets. When that fails the pair turn to extortion but with everyone sleeping with and spying on everyone else things get more than a little complicated.

If I had to guess at how this came to life it would be as such; someone came up with a somewhat interesting spy story that had been done before in one form or another. When it was pitched someone looked at the story, realized it had no spark and came up with a bright idea, have everyone sleeping with everyone else! It will add complexity; we can have gratuitous sex scenes, and a bunch of sub-plots that distract from the overdone main plot! Interestingly enough, it actually works and the film is entertaining. They just forgot one thing, an ending. Instead this one just sorta fizzles without a lot of closure.

I do have to give credit to the actors. Clooney, Pitt and Malkovich were impressive to say the least. Even McDormand, Jenkins and other supporting actors did very well.

Production quality was very nice with an obviously decent budget. Camera work, sets, background, sound, and dialogue were all well done.

This was a very interesting film that I both enjoyed and disliked at the same time. The acting and plot convolution were interesting and I just kept waiting for the big revelation. The problem; there never was a revelation. The film left an empty feeling at the end, as if nothing was resolved or completed, and felt like a waste of time. This is going to be one of those folks either like or hate but probably not many in between.

With plenty of foul language, sexual content including sex toys, and violence including a delicious shot of Pitt getting his brains splattered, save this for the oldest teens and above.

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