Thursday, October 2, 2008

Burn After Reading (Any Bad Reviews)

(This was supposed to have posted days ago; this is the worst server ... moving to WordPress for my self-indulgence. Good lord.)

I have a huge fear of confrontation – real or imagined, as it were.

Until late Tuesday night, I’d avoided confronting the Coen Bros, by making excuse after excuse to not see “Burn After Reading.” I’d read mixed reviews; friends had given mixed reactions; and that paralyzing fear of face-offs had me gripped in such a way that would’ve made No Country’s Chigurh proud.

But after being closed out of Cosi a couple nights ago, I walked into the muggy Manhattan air, breathed deep, and headed south to Union Sq. I would see the 10:50pm showing.

I know the Coens have a weird sense of humor, but, for me, they are brilliant.

Since I was a little kid, “High” from Raising Arizona was a favorite character of mine. The parole board responding to his affirmed rehabilitation with “Well, Okaaaaaaaaaay then,” was a line oft-repeated in the Grice household.

For its part, Lebowski is a name only dropped when someone is ready for a full-blown impersonation, replete with spot-on quotes and gestures to boot.

Burn After Reading doesn’t quite reach the heights of Arizona or Lebowski, but it shares several similarities. The brothers clearly have certain stock characters that they continue to draw upon. But Burn has some startlingly brutal punches, showing just how versatile they are – hence the brilliance.

How people find much fault with this film is beyond me. Brad Pitt could’ve been a little less overzealous, but alas.