Friday, September 19, 2008
Burn After Reading: The Coen brothers do it again
From time to time I saw glimpses of things familiar and beloved. Shades of previous Coen brother movies peeking through, as if waving at the audience between the scenes. Movies like Fargo and The Big Lebowski, movies that seemed to start slow.
Trust me. That slow start is just a warning. Fasten your seatbelts.
Once this ride gets started you won’t want to miss a minute.
I'm talking about the latest edition in the Coen brother's hall of film fame: Burn After Reading. As expected, the casting was superb. From Brad Pitt’s opportunistic simpleton to Francine McDormond’s aging lonely-heart to George Clooney’s suave philanderer, every actor was spot on. And the writing was Coen-classic; the story built, layer upon layer, until you discovered you were standing on top of a flawless skyscraper and it was time to watch all the characters nosedive off the edge.
I haven’t laughed so hard in the theater in years. In fact, I missed half of the ending because I was laughing so loud.
An elderly gentleman sat a few seats away, perplexed by the movie. At one point, he even leaned over, almost accusatory, and demanded to know, What’s so funny?
I felt like I got caught laughing out loud during school.
He continued to lean over and stare at me throughout the rest of the film. A strange experience, but it didn’t stop me from enjoying myself.
I think he just missed the humor. I’m sure there will be other people who don’t get it either. Even when the entire theater is roaring with laughter, there's always one person left behind, befuddled and confused.
I think the movie’s tagline says it best.
Intelligence is relative.