Burn After Reading almost has everything. A killer cast featuring such greats as George Clooney, Brad Pitt and John Malkovich, an interesting blackmailing plot surrounded by unique lifestyles and the Coen Brothers directing. Almost everything?
The story is largely how a few people’s lives escalate into madness, triggered by a gym personal trainer, Chad (Brad Pitt), who finds a disc left behind which contains information of the CIA. The disc came about from Osbourne Cox’s (John Malkovich) wife Katie (Tilda Swinton) who was gathering financial information as she considers a divorce. She is hoping to move in with sex addict Harry (George Clooney) after he ditches his wife. Gym worker Linda wants to use the disc information to blackmail Oz and get some money so she can afford cosmetic surgery which leads Chad and herself on a quest which ends up wrecking a whole bunch of lives. Pity the info they are dealing is largely useless.The story travels between the characters and their lives which eventually all connect together and the chaos ensues. It’s tightly put together and the development and chain of events is satisfying. No faults can be put down to the plot.
The characters play their roles perfectly too. Brad Pitt steals the show for me being the most entertaining and loopy guy. He has so much charisma in pretty much any role he plays, and the gym note with the charming smile and energetic movements is always fun to watch. Linda is a crazy psycho as she tries to bargain different people for money, Malkovich is typically out there with his role and George plays his charm as he woos numerous ladies and creates his greatest invention yet. Just a pity the scenes sometimes fall a bit flat.
Burn After Reading is one of those films which doesn’t really leave a lasting impression in my mind after watching. The actors are great, the story is decent and it can be quite funny too. What’s missing? Perhaps the amount of the ‘f’ word got a little tiresome and the jokes were thinly spread. I also wasn’t satisfied with the ending which tied up a bunch of characters stories off-screen, even if it was the amazing JK Simmons talking about it. I think I was just expecting more with the killer line up and the hype. It was like that the first time and nothing has really changed. It is a good film, just not a great one.