The Coen brothers are the quirky and film noir savvy brothers that are known for their original black comedies. Their most recent release Burn After Reading finds the two brothers once again dealing with similar themes found in their other films. I felt that Burn After Reading was made around the idea of having smiling Brad Pitt's brain blown out. Underneath the Coen brother’s niche for unsettling humor lies a certain contempt towards certain individuals. The humor added to the Coen Brother’s films merely acts as an excuse for the brother filmmakers to not feel bad about their cinematically channeled hatred.
While watching Burn After Reading I couldn’t help but think that the character Osbourne Cox, played by John Malkovich, was modeled after the arrogant character traits of the Coen brothers. Malkovich, an actor I have always hated, plays a weasel-like and arrogant narcissist that is not too pleasant to look at. The character of Osbourne Cox is the sort of individual that reminds me a deranged yapping Chihuahua that seems to ignore the confused people looking at it. The question is; who really deserved a bullet in the skull? A yapping Cox or a retarded Brad Pitt?
Once again, Joel Coen casted his manly and unintentionally funny wife, Frances McDormand, in yet another film. McDormand once again proves that she has nothing new to offer in the way of interesting characters. She gave her “best” in Fargo as the tough and ambiguously female police officer. In Fargo, her character has a sort of sexual role reversal with her passive husband. I wouldn’t be surprised if the same situation was present at the Coen household. Just because Frances McDormand wears the pants in the relationship, doesn’t mean that “hubby” Joel should passively accept her demands in starring in his films.
I truly believe that the Coen brothers pretty much made the same film their entire career. Their greatest achievement is the almost masterpiece Barton Fink. Burn After Reading should be burned after watching. But I say this with respect to the brothers Coen’s finer achievements of yesteryear.No Country For Old Men showed that the Coens might have a little spark left in their now banal minds, but it’s doubtful. Over a decade of disappointments is hard to burn out of your mind.