“Burn After Reading”

Is it just me or has the crime drama genre gotten out of hand?

It seems like every week there is a new criminal mystery or conspiracy that takes great stars from serious melodramas to running the streets of L.A. in the rain to catch a predator. Not to mention the superfluous amount of detective shows on TV that takes timeslots from the usual sitcoms.

However, this week’s new cinematic release Burn After Reading moves the genre into a new satirical art form.

Directed by the Coen Brothers, the film makers that created the masterpieces Fargo, No Country for Old Men, and the college student favorite The Big Lebowski, this film is a well crafted satire that raises the question. Why does everyone involved in a cinematic conspiracy take themselves so seriously?

With an all-star cast led by George Clooney, Brad Pitt, Tilda Swinton, and John Malkovich, Burn After Reading tells separate stories involving blackmail, the Russian government, broken marriages, and gym trainers all revolving around the mounting anxiety over a computer disc found on a locker room floor.

The brilliance of this film is how well it is crafted. The first 20 minutes is pure stereotypical C.I.A. drama and later unfolds into a hilarious soap opera filled with bizarre scenes of goofy angst and high ranked government officials dealing with ordinary idiots. The actors are all wonderful and play their characters with such believability, even during outrageous breakdowns toward the end.

Burn After Reading is in no way the Coen Brothers’ best film; however, with five cinematic gems and a Best Picture Oscar in a single decade, it must be hard to compete with themselves.

The only reason a person would not enjoy this film would be because they took it too seriously.

In reality, how can they, when in the film Brad Pitt uses the phrase, “I got your shit” to a CIA investigator while he is wearing bicycle shorts and has more volume in his hair than Donald Trump? On a final note, two older women sitting in the front bought tickets to Mama Mia!, but sat through the entire film.

They must have preferred the scene of a rugged George Clooney handling a dildo over Pierce Brosnan’s singing any day.

My Grade: A-