I have to be honest, as I watched Burn After Reading, I found it more than a little dull and plodding. While touted as a “dark comedy,” I didn’t find much funny about it at all, and actually suffered more apathy in regards to the film than anything.
However, and here’s the sign of good moviemaking, once it ended, I couldn’t stop thinking about it.
And then, as I kept thinking about it, I started connecting all these little nuanced dots that didn’t reveal themselves until the end of the film. The movie kept creeping into my thoughts, and I suddenly found much of it very funny. Then I realized what a complexly simple, well-written movie had been made, and I appreciated it all the more so.
Burn After Reading is a series of interrelated events of absolutely no relevance that have dastardly (and mercilessly funny) consequences. Frances McDormand and George Clooney steal the show in this Coen Brothers project, but Brad Pitt, John Malkovich, and Tilda Swinton more than hold their own. This is a fine cast of fairly likable actors who successfully made their characters unlikable yet charismatic at the same time-especially Tilda Swinton.
Burn After Reading is a “slow burn” of a movie, but one that will demand your consideration even after you’ve finished watching it.