Blu-ray Review: Burn After Reading


The Coen brothers’ Burn after Reading, while flawed, is a fun watch and I would say even more so a second time around. I continue to laugh at all the right beats and Brad Pitt is a lot of fun as the bumbling fitness instructor Chad Feldheimer while Clooney, McDormand and Malkovich are their usual entertaining selves. The film may not be perfect and since it is the Coens we are talking about many may consider it to be closer to Intolerable Cruelty than it is to Fargo, but it remains far better than the majority of comedies you will see this year. However, this flick remains a rental rather than a buy.

The story behind Burn after Reading figures out a way to turn misguided sexual escapades among CIA analysts, Treasury agents and fitness instructors into a violent affair many would rather leave unsolved. The story centers on a found disc of secret CIA documents and an urge for plastic surgery as a group of misfit middle-aged adults find themselves involved in a madcap tale of stupidity.

Unfortunately, as with most (all?) Coen home video releases this one comes with a limited number of features as a trio of makeshift making-of featurettes and character profiles talk very little about the picture. Even though the making of feature isn’t half bad, it would have been a HUGE bonus had the large group of A-listers managed to take the time to record an audio commentary, or at least get the Coens into the lab for an extended chat. The little bit they have to say in the making-of featurette is entertaining to the point I can only imagine a feature length commentary would be a blast.

The Blu-ray release looks phenomenal with crisp colors and a flawless picture, but it would be hard for me to recommend you spend the money for a Blu-ray if you aren’t going to watch it more than once. Therein lies the question. If you have seen this flick you already know whether you would watch it over and over again, and I bet there are some of you out there that truly love it and would do just that. For the rest of you, give it a rent, DVD or Blu-ray is fine, if you like it to the point you think it would be added to your movie rotation then pick it up and enjoy. Otherwise, just let it be, I am sure Netflix will always have it in stock.

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