Hi everyone this is Rose. First off I want to thank everyone for reading the Bawdy Wench one of my alter egos. She’s not what she was but that person is still there. 😉
We went to see “Burn After Reading” this afternoon at our local theater. The movie is R-rated for language and violence and lots of non-graphic sex. It stars John Malkovich, George Clooney, Tilda Swinton, Frances McDormand and Brad Pitt but interestingly enough it’s Frances McDormand’s character that steals the limelight. A black comedy “Burn After Reading” revolves around the CIA and what happens when the dynamics of two couple’s lives are changed.
The opening scene has Osbourne Cox [John Malkovich] called into his boss’ office at the CIA and being told he’s being demoted. Osbourne’s favorite word is ‘fuck’ and the various derivations there of and he spends the rest of the movie slowly spinning out of control. His wife Katie [Tilda Swinton] is having an affair with Harry Pfarrer [George Clooney] who in turn, although married to Sandy [Elizabeth Marvel] a successful author of childrens books, is a serial sex addict who trolls internet dating sites when he’s not out jogging. Harry is also very paranoid and begins to see strange men conducting surveillance all around him but believes it’s because of some intelligence operation not because of his constant sex with random women.
One of those random women is Linda Litzke [Frances McDormand] who is drawn into a blackmail plot when her co-worker Chad Feldheimer [Brad Pitt] finds a lost computer disk with CIA secrets at the fitness gym where they both work. The disk has Osbourne’s name on it and after Chad makes the initial call it is Linda who becomes the leader in extortion. Linda is as unstable as Osbourne and even though they never quite meet face-to-face it is her obsession with getting enough money to have plastic surgery and Osbourne’s anger at quitting , being fired, being demoted from the CIA that causes the escalation from ‘fuck you’ to murder. Linda keeps driving the movie forward with her insane ideas and determination to get what is hers, namely the right to have her insurance pay for her necessary cosmetic surgery. When she meets Harry who in between bouts of sex with Katie Cox is building a gift for his wife and finding other women online, she believes she may have found the ‘One’.
The movie ends back at the CIA with Osbourne’s boss expressing bewilderment over the chain of events that has resulted in so much chaos and the Director closing the file with the statement to the effect that at least they’ve learned to never do again whatever it was they did.
This movie doesn’t make any sense and that’s why it’s funny; it doesn’t make any sense. Nothing in the entire movie makes sense and in a sense, that’s the point. Our world doesn’t make sense and when people’s emotions get in the way of reality, bad things happen to people who are not exactly pure as the driven snow. Suffice it to say, not one character in this movie is worthy of sympathy and that at least makes sense.