New Review – ‘Burn After Reading’

Just got back from Toronto – plenty of coverage on GreenCine, more  to follow – but first, my review of the Coens’ Burn After Reading is in the P-I. this is definitely the brothers in inconsequential mode, having fun spinning their comic ideas and dark humor in a film with no ambitions beyond making you laugh.

George Clooney gets top billing in the Coen brothers’ new comedy, an espionage farce played with a straight face, but it’s Frances McDormand’s desperate, single, health-club employee who really drives this ensemble. She’s determined to get her plastic surgery makeover — which, for reasons she can’t understand, her HMO won’t cover — at any cost. Hell hath no fury.

The Coens shoot the film with the sober crispness of a genuine spy thriller, never telegraphing their punch lines. Instead, they let the cast have fun with enthusiastic performances. Clooney perhaps has too much fun: He plays big, bugs his eyes and goes screwball in scenes of comic mayhem.

Read the complete review here.

Author: seanax

I write the weekly newspaper column Stream On Demand and the companion website ( I'm a contributing writer for Turner Classic Movies Online, Keyframe, Independent Lens, and Cinephiled, and the editor of Parallax View ( I've written for The Seattle Post-Intelligencer, The Seattle Weekly,, Senses of Cinema, Asian Cult Cinema, and Psychotronic Video, among other publications, and I am a contributing editor to Parallax View. I currently live and work in Seattle, Washington, with my two cats, Hammet and Chandler.

One thought on “New Review – ‘Burn After Reading’”

  1. Brad Pitt can be so funny, as long as he’s not taking himself too seriously… in any case, it’s about time someone made good use of his habitually spastic arm movements

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