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Monday, March 9, 2009

Movie: Burn After Reading

One from a very occasional series on books and movies in or about DC:

Remember way back when to my first annual city-wide scavenger hunt when "the real, live George Clooney" was worth 150 points, the same value as a U.S. Senator? That was because rumor had it that Clooney was in town, on the Mall and in Georgetown, filming a Coen brothers movie. About a year later, Burn After Reading came out, and then about six months after that, I finally got around to Netflixing the darn thing.

I know I'm a bit late to this party, but I really liked it! Granted, I pretty much love anything that comes from the dark and twisted brains of Joel and Ethan Coen, but this dark, dark comedy had the Boyfriend and I laughing out loud. Brad Pitt in particular steals the show, but I loved John Malkovitch, Richard Jenkins and Frances McDormand as well (Clooney, for all his high point value, left me kind of cold). And the Langley suits, well, I liked them best of all, with all their abrupt, clipped, sweep-it-under-the-rug efficiency.


As a DC-phile, of course I loved our beautiful city's central role in the film -- Frances and George meeting in the park benches along the Mall, George running along the Potomac, Georgetown's stately townhouses and the towering Russian embassy in Ward 3. But mostly I loved how perfectly the Coen's got our number -- capturing in their trademarked way how nerdy and self-important we all are. Oh sure, I know that "official" Washington and "real" Washington are very different, but there is some overlap, and surely we've all been to parties like the one hosted by SWINTON, in which plenty of self-important people tout their self-importance.

I loved that two of the characters worked at a gym and were not much to look at, highlighting DC's failed attempts to be cool or beautiful. In reality, we're all just a bunch of regular people who think we're in the know, but really, we're just along for the ride.

Of course, it's all exaggerated and extra dark, but I really enjoyed it. What did you think?

Two years ago: I was disappointed by Tonic.

2 comments:

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Jared said...

I loved it too! And I can't believe it didn't get very good reviews when it came out. I think it might be better appreciated by Washingtonians.