The Coen Brothers have always seemed like they have a multiple personality disorder to me. Maybe it’s because there are two of them.
Take their last two offerings. No Country for Old Men was a pitch-perfect novel treatment. It held the darkness in itself until it bursts its seams.
And then there is Burn After Reading, an example of the Bros.’ delve into humor. I’ve always found their funny stuff to be less satisfying than their dark stuff.
Blood Simple, Fargo, The Man Who Wasn’t There I loved. Raising Arizona, O Brother Where Art Thou, The Big Lebowski I struggled through. I don’t mind being the only guy in a movie theater who doesn’t laugh.
And that was the position I found myself in watching Burn After Reading. The first shot is a nice zoom-in of the entire Earth. From there it only gets complicated. The plot has enough twists and turns to satisfy Lady Winchester.
John Malkovich has still failed to find a suitable role after Being John Malkovich. He plays a fired CIA twit whose creepy-looking wife is cheating on him with the twitchy George Clooney who also has an affair with Frances McDormand. Brad Pitt is a surprise playing McDormand’s ambiguously gay gym coworker. And the plot hasn’t even gotten its sleeves wet yet.
There are guns, mistaken identities, Russians, a bicycle, and a dildo. Gee, when I put it like that, I don’t know why I didn’t like the movie.
Well, it’s not so much that I didn’t like it. It’s just that I didn’t find it as funny as everyone else in the theater seemed to. So I guess, if you go out and watch it, you will laugh too.