10.18.2008

Burn After Reading : 3 of 5

I'm not really a fan of the Coen brothers (although I really enjoyed O Brother, Where Art Thou back in 2001), but I wanted to see Burn After Reading since my parents enjoyed it and my pals Matt & Kumiko wanted to go. The best feature of this movie is its well-crafted story, which is really complex and yet easy to follow, with lots of characters and plots that keep winding around until they all intersect in various ways (it reminded me a little of Short Cuts). It's entirely too much to summarize in a short review, but the story includes a retired CIA agent, his horrific wife, her lover, a lonely fitness club employee, her bizarre friend, and even more, including the Russian embassy. Everything in this movie is about deception, either on purpose (as in all the affairs going on) or by accident (as in the incredible misunderstandings the characters go through regarding CIA "data" and paranoia). The acting is all terrific - George Clooney is cool in any role (even when he's freaking out), and Brad Pitt is pretty hilarious as the somewhat stupid personal trainer. But even with a great story and actors, I still wasn't totally entertained, since I just couldn't connect to a single character in the film. For me to really enjoy a movie, I need to care about the people in it, or identify with someone, and all of the characters in Burn After Reading are so unlikable. Everyone is either a complete bitch or too insane for me to relate to! I know I'm in the minority, especially with all the good reviews that have been written, but at least I still had a good time at the theater and I'm glad I saw it!