Thursday, December 18, 2008

Burn after Reading DVD

DVD Review by Kam Williams

Headline: Coen Brothers Screwball Comedy Comes to DVD

Here, the Coen Brothers serve up a screwball comedy which might best be described as a combination sex farce and political potboiler. What really makes the movie hilarious is the willingness of some A-list talent, especially Brad Pitt and George Clooney, to throw themselves so convincingly into unflattering roles which make them look like idiots.
The action opens at CIA Headquarters in Langley, Virginia where we find Agent Osborne Cox (John Malkovich) being confronted about his drinking problem by his boss. Ozzie opts to quit the Agency to write his memoirs rather than accept a demotion to a position with a lower clearance level.
This development doesn’t sit well with his disenchanted wife, Katie (Tilda Swinton), a pediatrician who’s been conducting a clandestine affair with Harry (Clooney). Harry’s a government bureaucrat married to Sandy (Elizabeth Marvel), a best selling children’s book author.
Katie decides to divorce Ozzie, expecting that Harry will choose to leave his spouse, too. But what Katie doesn’t know is that he’s already cheating on her with women he meets via the internet.
Meanwhile, she consults an attorney who advises her to dig up some dirt on her husband prior to filing any papers. The plot thickens when the classified CIA documents she downloads onto a disc off her hubby’s computer accidentally land in the hands of blackmail-minded Linda (Frances McDormand) and Chad (Pitt), co-workers at Hardbodies Fitness Center. They end up under the surveillance of the CIA which mistakes their motivations as far more sinister than mere greed.
The madcap antics which ensue are every bit as funny as they are shocking. Alternatively mirthful and macabre, while poking fun at modern mating habits and the paranoia of espionage culture, Burn after Reading proves to be a refreshingly-intelligent diversion designed with the more cerebral cineaste in mind.

Excellent (4 stars)
Rated R for sexuality, violence and pervasive profanity.
Running time: 96 minutes
Studio: Universal Studios Home Entertainment
DVD Extras: “The Making of” plus a couple of other featurettes.

To see a trailer of Burn after Reading, visit:

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