Monday, September 15, 2008

Method to Their Madness

                        Burn After Reading

Another shaggy-dog story from the Coen Brothers, this spy thriller/comedy noir is, on its surface, a character-driven farce. The complicated plot functions merely as the track which this roller-coaster of a movie rides upon. This is really a movie about love and desire, but the love is self-love, personal gratification on a very base level, the comedy/tragedy is caused by hormones, not hubris. I read a few reviews which have taken it to task for being cold and heartless; it is that, but that is the point of it. This is a subtle morality play, with a Deus Ex Machina in the form of a CIA director who lets events play out in their own twisted logic.

The Coens love movies, love reshaping genres and love confounding expectations. This is not a 'great' film, it is too funny for that. It isn't a trifle either, in a market saturated with stale sit-coms and tired formula flicks, it is a guilty pleasure.

By Professor Batty


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