Saturday, September 13, 2008
Burn After Reading
"The biggest punch line is Linda, whom Ms. McDormand plays with a grin that tends to look more like a grimace, perhaps because she’s been saddled with yet another one of the Coens’ ghastly pageboy dos. (Really? Again?) It’s a punishing look for a cruelly unflattering character whose narcissism is matched only by her witlessness."
When the Times said the above about Francis McDormand in its Burn After Reading review, all I could say post-film viewing was, 'ouch, very ouch.' [Notice reference to Mike Myer's Mr. Powers].
I happened to find McDormand's performance in the film one of its highlights. Perhaps the only other character that truly makes this Coen brothers' film watchable would be John Malkovich's character, Osborne Cox, aka 'Ozzie.' Ozzie's disdain for most things is captured intriguingly by his words and wardrobe choices. It almost makes me wish that the brothers had featured him in their other films. So, should one watch this? Well, they have made better films, of course. However, a loyal Coen-ite should give this film a chance as it seems to be sprinkled adequately by the brothers' humor and cinematic genius.
Other things that help this film are Brad Pitt's portrayal of a fitness-obsessed personal trainer with a deplorable hairstyle, George Cloony's passable performance as a paranoia-ridden foible character, and the litany of one-liners which seem to be placed well in the film.
graph per ny times