The latest film was supposed to be a return to the lighter side, which doesn’t exist in the Coen’s world. Burn After Reading is just as smart as Fargo or The Big Lebowski, but it lacked the heart. The writing is funny, yes, and the acting is spot-on. The Coens have proved that they can handle an ensemble cast like nobody else. But in the end, the film is simply “enjoyable.” Burn After Reading is missing its Dude, its Marge Gunderson, its Anton Chigurh, its H. I. McDunnough. But after Intolerable Cruelty and The Ladykillers, this was a huge step backwards — which most of us were hoping for.
To judge the film based on story alone, Burn After Reading is worth seeing. And I think that those who flat-out didn’t like this movie were the same people who didn’t understand why No Country for Old Menhad to have so much darn violence in it. But to judge based on what we’ve come to expect from these filmmakers, it falls short.
The film definitely has its moments — bittersweet, surprising, and funny — and the dialogue between the CIA duo is especially entertaining. But more than anything, it makes me curious about thefive new projects the Coens now have in various stages.