Burn After Filming… Coen Bros Disappoint at Venice


Apparently the word out of Venice about the new Coen Brothers film isn’t too good. Here’s a report from Ronald Bergan of the Guardian.

“Burn After Filming, more likely. Opening the Venice Film Festival tonight is another attempt by the Coen Brothers to enter the mainstream, trying to live down the time when their films were more personal, quirky and less commercial. Here the starry cast does their one-dimensional turn: George Clooney is the skirt chaser, an uncharming Cary Grant, Brad Pitt plays a bubble head gum-chewing gym trainer, John Malkovich is his irascible self. The women come off worse. Tilda Swinton and Elizabeth Marvel play two coldly intellectual cheating wives, a doctor and a children’s author respectively, and Frances McDormand, the most irritating character, is so dumb she doesn’t know the Cold War is long over. It seems that the Coens had so little confidence in their own convoluted plot, involving the CIA, that they make fun of it when an agent tries to explain the intricacies of the happenings to his superior. Despite some attempts at contemporary relevance, it really is a very old-fashioned juvenile farce, with elements of the 70s paranoia films, which except for the stream of “fuck”s, could have been made a few decades ago.”

And then this from Variety’s Todd McCarthy

“[T]he Coen brothers revert to sophomoric snarky mode in Burn After Reading. A seriously talented cast has been asked to act like cartoon characters in this tale of desperation, mutual suspicion and vigorous musical beds, all in the name of laughs that only sporadically ensue. Everything here, from the thesps’ heavy mugging to the uncustomarily overbearing score by Carter Burwell and the artificially augmented vulgarities in the dialogue, has been dialed up to an almost grotesquely exaggerated extent, making for a film that feels misjudged from the opening scene and thereafter only occasionally hits the right note.”

Even though I generally like the Coens and their work, I’ll go into a viewing with low expectations.


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