In a Facebook status update after this morning's Toronto International Film Festival press screening of the Coen Brothers' "Burn After Reading," I wrote something that has stirred some responses and a number of direct email messages. But, the following is not necessarily meant as a condemnation of the movie.
Eugene in Toronto: laughing *at* the new Coens film (as opposed to *with* it)...
There are couple of strikingly appropriate lines of dialogue that conclude the Coen's often hilarious new film. I certainly won't reveal them here because they are a terrific payoff to a film that is clearly quite self-aware. The conversation that concludes "Burn After Reading" vocalizes what the Coens may have expected that many in the audience are thinking. It certainly supported a growing sense I had while watching "Burn After Reading."
In the wake of their wildly successful "No Country For Old Men," this farcical film subverts so many expectations, playfully positing that the Coens' joke is on us (and probably also on themselves). If this seems incoherent, or confusing, it is probably meant to be. Go see the movie and let me know what you think.
[photo copyright focus features]