Brad Pitt shows off his two-toned hair and great comic timing in Burn After Reading.
Burn After Reading (Alliance, 2008) D: Joel and Ethan Coen, w/ Frances McDormand, Brad Pitt. Rating: NNN; DVD package: NNN
Like No Country For Old Men and Fargo, this is one of those Coen brothers movies that doesn't so much end as stop in its tracks, leaving everyone wondering just what the hell happened, an appropriate response since this is the spy business and everyone involved is a complete idiot.
Linda Litzke (Frances McDormand) is an aging personal trainer desperate for cosmetic surgery. She and her buddy Chad (Brad Pitt) get hold of some secret data belonging to newly fired CIA intelligence analyst Osbourne Cox (John Malkovich), whose wife (Tilda Swinton) is having an affair with his friend Harry (George Clooney), who is romancing Linda on the side. Linda and Chad go for blackmail. Chaos ensues.
The fun comes from watching the high-powered cast ham it up for comic idiocy yet deliver believable characters in the same breath. McDormand walks a fine line between unconscious desperation and relentless optimism. Clooney makes a great cowardly seducer, and Pitt stands out in a perfect moment of understated physical grace as we watch all traces of thought gently evaporate.
The extras are thin, less than half an hour in total, but amusing and informative about the Coens' approach to writing and directing.
EXTRAS Three-part making-of doc.English, French audio. English, French, Spanish subtitles.