Burn After Reading

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Blackmail never failed so quickly in this fall's film by the Coen brothers (No Country for Old Men, Fargo). The pair who wrote and directed Burn After Reading poked fun at the aloof practices of the CIA, while demonstrating the truly moronic nature of most men. The intertwined story lines, encompassing love, sex and plastic surgery, left the audience laughing, but scratching their heads.

When the memoirs of CIA analyst Osbourne Cox (John Malkovich) are found on the floor of a mediocre gym and mistaken for confidential government information, all hell attempts to break loose in Washington, D.C. Chad Feldheimer(Brad Pitt) and Linda Litzke(Frances McDormand), two dimwitted employees of Hardbodies fitness center attempt to sell the disc to Cox, who refuses to pay, by means of profanities and alcohol. What follows is a comic pursuit that leads no where. After attempting to utilize the skills of the Russian embassy, Feldheimer is accidentally murdered by Litzke's boyfriend, who is sleeping with Cox's wife and believes he is being stalked by some sort of government official. If you're confused—good. The constant laughs, induced by the idiocy of the gym employees and the infidelity of the rest, did not surpass the unconventional plot and viewer's confusion. By the end of the movie, neither the audience nor the characters knew what Feldheimer and Litzke were after, who was married to whom, or what was actually on the disc.

This movie falls short in terms of the storyline, despite its comic interpretation of corruption and greed. I left the theatre as fuzzy about the plot as Feldheimer was about the execution of extortion. There was no clear message or theme to the film, and the ending left me questioning, what exactly was one supposed to burn after reading?





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