While there might be a number of slow sections in each of the Coens’ previous work, the idea of espionage along with that odd web of sex keeps the pace moving. But as Linda attempts to hock the supposed intelligence information she’s acquired, the various disparate parts of the film start to become a bit over whelming.
Linda accompanied by Brad Pitt’s Chad character engage the Russian embassy host. And with cash seemingly promised at some point, Linda appears satisfied that she’ll get what she needs to reinvent herself physically.
Chad and Linda’s buffoonery, though, is offset by the various and infrequent CIA higher ups discussing what all is going on with this collection of nitwits. What’s interesting – and what might pass for some sort of critique of the American political organ – is that these CIA fellows don’t heed the law too much. Pretty frequently, there’s mention of burning bodies or holding people for absolutely no reason. These various scenes do serve as overt comedic times within the film – but really, that’s most of what the film is and probably accounts for some of the luke warm critiques out there. Burn surely is a departure from the Coens’ previous film. But in its distance from seriousness, the film, for the most part works.
A Serious Man would follow this feature and tone down some of the more overt comedic elements, but retain a sense of cultural critique. Both that film and Burn sport salacious affairs, the earlier film more so. But each effort comes off as a broad commentary on all things that go into rendering modern reality. There’s no quick way to make a dollar. Nothing can be assured in one’s personal life. And even the most rewarding moments in anyone’s life can quickly be followed by some awful times.
To a certain extent, all of that sounds like the reviews levied on each of the Brothers’ successive filmic endeavors. From one feature to the next, the pair has attempted to create a sense of Americana in all of its expanse. Most often the Coens’ use comedy – No Country being the obvious exception - so perhaps its difficult to understand the art of comedy as art.
Whatever the case is, the impending True Grit, a western with Jeff Bridges in the lead role, looks to hedge towards the serious. the Coens’ may have already figured presenting a mature front grants them some leeway. But we’ll see how much.