Fog and mist, translucent pavilion sidewalls, blowing curtains, dark water, shadows, reflections: the film is full of motifs evoking the murkiness in which Macbeth’s last days play out.
The Coens’ film is franker than its predecessor about the violence of the old West and of Portis’s book; it is also franker about the religiosity, from frequent scriptural references to a score shot through with hymnody.
Burn After Reading reminds me a little of the Darwin Awards. It’s morbidly absurdist, thoroughly pointless, and can certainly be funny at times, even acutely so, with a freakish bathos that can be hard to look away from. But if you don’t feel a little queasy for laughing, and perhaps you should, you might at least feel bothered that someone wanted to put the whole thing together for your amusement.
Copyright © 2000– Steven D. Greydanus. All rights reserved.