Hammerman Ikon

Hammerman Ikon Film Guide

Burn After Reading
Director: Joel Coen, Ethan Coen
Cast: John Malkovich, George Clooney, Frances McDormand, Brad Pitt, Richard Jenkins, Tilda Swinton, Elizabeth Marvel, David Rasche, J. K. Simmons

Two dimwits who work at a gym accidentally find a disk which contains potentially sensitive information written by an ex-CIA agent, but their clever-sounding moneymaking scheme doesn't go to plan. While the Coen brothers gained universal praise for the grim No Country for Old Men, their follow-up is an utterly disposable dark comedy. The cast looks great on paper, but many of the characters are mere caricatures, and some of the performances (Pitt and McDormand, first and foremost) are the worst of their career. The film lacks the sharp dialogue I've come to expect from the brothers, and their dark humour no longer has the element of surprise.