Burn After Reading (2008)

There are some movies that greatly benefit from a re-watching.  Fight Club was that way for me, having to see it again in theatres just to process exactly what I’d seen.  It just helped, and the first time I watched Burn After Reading in a theatre, I enjoyed it, and I’m pretty sure I got what it was about… at the end.  However, if you go into the movie having previously seen it, there are so many other levels that it works on (no matter what any message board thread on IMDb says) and it just makes me think that no matter how much praise we give them, the Coen Brothers will never get enough.

To go into the plot detail of this movie is to invite madness, so if you want to know all about that, check the Wiki article on it.  Suffice to say, it involves a large group of characters in Washington, D.C. dealing with infidelity, intrigue and idiots.  I think the Coens themselves would endorse that as a tagline for the poster.  The characters all have high levels of self-delusion about their own worth, and the worth of the activities of their lives.

I cannot stress how amazingly executed the movie is, and how that might not become apparent until you re-watch it again and “get it”.  Everything is overblown, from the score to the camerawork to the reactions of the characters.  It’s a parody of such a high class nature that it takes place on a trapeze wire, one misstep away from disaster.  At first glance the acting is just playing roles, but with a second watch, man, there’s so much more to the performances.  Other than Frances McDormand’s Golden Globe nomination, it was criminally overlooked in my opinion.

I would go full marks on this one, but I will readily admit that it won’t work for everyone and almost any movie that you have to re-watch to fully enjoy isn’t a perfect movie.

4.5 / 5

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About SkoochXC
Long-time blogger, Canadian, cine-snark-aphile, Tweeter and generally lonely hearted guy.

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