Der neue Film der Coen Brüder Burn After Reading eröffnete das Filmfestival in Venedig und nun gibt es auch schon die ersten Stimmen zum Film. Das Echo ist dabei bei weitem nicht so begeisternd wie beim Vorgänger No Country for Old Men, aber bis auf das Branchenblatt Variety sind zumindest alle Kritiken positiv:

The Guardian, UK:

Clocking in at a crisp 95 minutes, Burn After Reading is a tightly wound, slickly plotted spy comedy that couldn’t be in bigger contrast to the Coens’ last film, the bloodsoaked, brooding No Country for Old Men. Burn, in comparison, is bit of a bantamweight: fast moving, lots of attitude, and uncorking a killer punch when it can.

Where does this film leave the Coens? Their unique position, as darlings of both the Hollywood set and the festival circuit, is unchanged. What they have managed to come up with here, somehow, is a light-as-fluff flipside to hardcore “insider” films like All the President’s Men, Michael Clayton or, indeed, The Insider: it paints the powers-that-be as goofy, chaotic and definitively non-sinister. This lot, you feel, couldn’t bug their way out of a paper bag.

Variety

A seriously talented cast has been asked to act like cartoon characters in this tale of desperation, mutual suspicion and vigorous musical beds, all in the name of laughs that only sporadically ensue. Everything here, from the thesps’ heavy mugging to the uncustomarily overbearing score by Carter Burwell and the artificially augmented vulgarities in the dialogue, has been dialed up to an almost grotesquely exaggerated extent, making for a film that feels misjudged from the opening scene and thereafter only occasionally hits the right note.

The Coens’ script, which feels immature but was evidently written around the same time as that for “No Country,” is just too fundamentally silly, without the grounding of a serious substructure that would make the sudden turn to violence catch the viewer up short. Nothing about the project’s execution inspires the feeling that this was ever intended as anything more than a lark, which would be fine if it were a good one. As it is, audience teeth-grinding sets in early and never lets up.

EmanuelLevy.com (B)
Will the movie become a cult midnight item in the manner of "The Big Lebowski," which did, though unexpectedly, and years after it was made? Hard to tell. However, like most cult films, this comedy has at least half a dozen scenes or moments and lines that will be revisited by fans. Just watch the performance of J.K. Simmons as an eccentric CIA boss, or the eccentricties allotted to each actor. When Clooney's Harry makes comments about the floor, you inevitably think of the line in "Big Lebowski" about "the rug that ties the room together," a motif that gets increasingly hilarious by sheer repetition.

"Burn After Reading" was in the works during the shoot and Oscar campaign of the superior "No Country for Old Men," so it's not like the Coens were exploiting the phenom of carte blanche, the freedom given to artists to do whatever they want for one film right after winning the Oscar. In other words, there is a method to their madness.

It's a relief to know that the Coens' next picture will be very different from--and hopefully better than--this one.

Outnow.ch (10/10 Punkte)
In Burn After Reading geht's in erster Linie um Leute, die Scheisse bauen. Gleiches kann man freilich von den Coen-Brüdern nicht behaupten: In ihrem neuen Werk verquirlen die beiden ihre bewährten Stilelemente mit denjenigen des Spionagefilmes, mischen einige aktuelle Themen bei wie Jugendwahn und Internet-Dating und erzielen ein Resultat nahe der Perfektion. Gleichzeitig gelingt ihnen das für kaum möglich gehaltene Kunststück, den oscarüberhäuften Vorgänger No Country for Old Men noch einmal zu übertreffen. Chapeau.

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