Checked out this new Coen Brother's flick after reading a few lukewarm responses (Isaac's for example.)
My take: Burn After Reading fits perfectly into this era of American political thought. We're in a time of real consequence, marked by deeply inconsequential thought. In the midst of massive American decline, we're obsessed with what the word "pig" means. In a time when foreign policy is at its most complex and challenging, we're watching a Vice Presidential candidate struggle to keep up with a news reporter. At at time when Wall Street is in turmoil, we're discussing whether or not Rachel Maddow can be the left's Rush Limbaugh.
So it is perfect that the entire plot of Burn After Reading is about a group of selfish, small-minded, nitwits who believe that their actions and behavior are of great importance. What makes it all the more wonderfully terrifying is that the actions of these semi-aware fools have very real, very violent consequences, due almost entirely to negligence.
At the center of the action is Linda Litzke (played by Frances McDormand) who works at Hardbodies Fitness Center. She trolls the internet for dates, and is flummoxed when she finds that her expensive tummy tucks and liposuction procedures aren't covered by her health insurance. What does she want? Money for cosmetic surgery. How will she get it? A combination blackmail, hit-and-runs, break-ins, threats and even going to the Russians. All the while, she demands a "can-do" spirit. People like her, want to make her happy...who cares if her plan makes absolutely no sense?
The movie exists in a world when a positive attitude and a desire to "get what you want" trumps all other important considerations, including logic. If that's not the Bush legacy in a nutshell, I don't know what is.
- Matthew Freeman is a Brooklyn based playwright with a BFA from Emerson College. His plays include THE DEATH OF KING ARTHUR, REASONS FOR MOVING, THE GREAT ESCAPE, THE AMERICANS, THE WHITE SWALLOW, AN INTERVIEW WITH THE AUTHOR, THE MOST WONDERFUL LOVE, WHEN IS A CLOCK, GLEE CLUB, THAT OLD SOFT SHOE and BRANDYWINE DISTILLERY FIRE. He served as Assistant Producer and Senior Writer for the live webcast from Times Square on New Year's Eve 2010-2012. As a freelance writer, he has contributed to Gamespy, Premiere, Complex Magazine, Maxim Online, and MTV Magazine. His plays have been published by Playscripts, Inc., New York Theatre Experience, and Samuel French.