Sunday, September 21, 2008

Burn After Reading

I finally got back to the theater this weekend, to see a Coen Bros. film, of course. I mean, if you're going to make it out the theater, it might as well be a film that promises to be good.

Burn After Reading was quite good -- expertly made and acted. It's a "lesser Coen Bros." movie, in the sense that it isn't too deep and it covers ground that they covered well in past films like Fargo.

But lesser Coen Bros. work is still pretty good work.

I went to the movie with a friend, and he noted afterward that this was the kind of movie either of us would love to write -- but which would never get made if we did. It's just one of those industry things, I guess. The Coen Bros. can make a movie like this, given their clout, but if I wrote this exact same script as a spec and sent it around, it probably wouldn't spark too much interest...

That might sound annoying or pessimistic, but I'm just at the point where I view it as reality and nothing more. Frustrating, yes. But it's just the way it is.

I'm being charitable to myself, I think, because on another day this past week, I would have happily railed about how unjust that is...

4 Comments:

Blogger Shane B said...

Dude join the club... do you know how many film students are desperately trying to get our "Hitman type" scripts made?

9/22/2008 5:01 PM  
Blogger Christopher said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

10/01/2008 11:50 AM  
Blogger Christopher said...

What did you think about the violence in Burn After Reading? I felt it was too bloody, real, and classically tragic for a comedy, and actually brought me out of the movie to ask if they really just died. Both deaths were sad, not funny. It left me very unsatisfied at the end of the film.

10/01/2008 11:55 AM  
Blogger Chris Hansen said...

I actually thought it was quite an effective way to get the audience's attention -- i.e., in the midst of what you think is going to be a comedic moment, it is a major shock to see someone killed. When the first brutal/accidental killing occurred (the shooting -- I don't want to spoil the specifics for those who haven't seen it), I was so stunned that I almost laughed at it, and I think I actually said -- out loud in the theater -- "Oh my G*d."

The second killing (the one at the end) stunned me as well, both because it was SO brutal in the midst of this movie that was mostly comedic in nature, and because it reminded me so much of a killing in another Coen Bros. movie. The scene looked like a direct reference to when Gaear Grimsrud (Peter Stormare) kills Carl Showalter (Steve Buscemi) by coming up behind him with an ax.

Of course, in that film, it cuts to black right before the ax connects, whereas in this film, we get to see the killing in gruesome detail (albeit from a distance). I wonder if the Coens thought that they chickened out by cutting to black and are here rectifying that. I mean, it's THAt reminiscent of the previous scene...

10/01/2008 7:10 PM  

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