Burn After Readingi is absolutely fucking wunderbar. Their understanding of how things work is so utterly exquisite I don't imagine anyone professionally involved in the field could possibly complain. This isn't a feat of tolerance, like how old crows may still appreciate Hopscotch as a construction of metaphore and wishful thinking, frustration relief, tongue in cheek, amusement once or thrice removed. No, Burn After Reading is actual, correct and complete summary, it's exactly how the whole thing goes, if you had to explain it in ninety minutes on film.
So, J.K. Simmons as the Agency point man keeps being assaulted by irrelevant organized idiocy.
Why did they do that ? What sense does that make ? Ok, so what level is he ? 3 ? Fine, whatever, no big deal. No, no, don't get those idiots involved, they'll fuck it all up [read: expand the bogon field further]. Burn the body. Get rid of it. Get back to me if any of it starts making sense, I guess ?
I can literally taste his despairii. He can't commit to this curl of insanity, because it's not worth it. His commitments are expensive, he can't afford to waste them, he can't just drop everything and follow some irrelevant threat on the grounds that it is irksome. Every unemployed postgrad student out there, focusing on "digital library organization" because at least that's a task he knows how to approach and even vaguely similar to the actual task of ordering his life ; every bankrupt ex-something on the verge of unemployability sinking his time on DIY projects because he knows how to do that, notwithstnading it's not what's to be done by any conceivable stretch ; every refined intellectual in his own estimation, spending his time calling call centers and gratulating minimum wage workers with unsolicited performance reviews -- the whole army of confused nobodyes and ineffectual morons stands always ready to commit irrelevantly for the sake of "nobody could accuse them" of not committing. But not him.
Not him. J.K. Simmons is the Agency point man because he doesn't do that stupid shit. His boss knows he doesn't, of course, but it's not even about his boss. J.K. Simmons would rather fucking quit than give in to the bogon field. Quit, not "quit his job". Quit-quit, as in quit your life for you, and everyone else's for them. He'd quit in the sense the Jesus Nut quits, world-ending quittage of no return.
He would, but it's not quite there yet. So far, his subtle mind can perceive sense, can order the world, can seamlessly cut through the bogon mass, the swarming horde of zombie morons. His cuts are unhindered, of the very substance of perfection, [one of] his slavegirl (David Rasche) admires him for it like nothing else, like you admire transcendence personified. The slavegirl would love nothing more than to make sense for her owner, to bring him useful in proper wrapping, to have herself and everything justified in his own eyes, by her own competent application to the tasks defined. Instead, she just comes in time after time bearing incomprehensible updates on inconsequential nonsense. Nothing's right nor anything's even vaguely proper, but there is no punishment... yet her master's confused gaze is worse than any punishment.
John Malkovich is not a man. He could've been a man, but he isn't, not really. He drinks too much. He's incredibly lacking self control. The whole story starts with him being let go, for being insufficient, which he liberally reintreprets in any other terms than the plain evidence -- he's a husk, some thing superficially but no more like a man. He confronts his direct equivalent, embodied by Richard Jenkins, something just as superficially but no more like a man, bearing this time the monkey colors. They're exactly symmetrical, and pointedly equal, grunts on either side of the only divide that matters. "I have fought you my entire life", the words sound, the fight's a dribble.
George Clooney's a dumber grunt. All muscle memory, as he correctly explains. He shoots the unexpected right in between the eyes on the strength of training imbued into him by the men, for their own purposes, but once that's exhausted he reverts to monkey, monkeying about. The vague memories of manhood in the monkey's flesh are rendered as a thing of superlative beauty, the Coens absolutely outdid themselves in this jewel -- and the fact that they had the perverse subtility to employ George Clooney as the clueless vessel of this meta-accomplishment... the film literally re-does with the actor what the character's supposed to have been doing in the film, it's a pinnacle of cinematic achievement of outright philosophical proportions. Rarely will you chance to see anything nearly as crafty brought forth from the crooked timber, it's just beautiful.
So the story continues, on and on and foreveron. Ultimately, as the underpinning other pole, it's simply that... well... the dumb woman from Fargo wants her delusions actualized. She's benefit immensely from caging. She belongs spending the brief rest of her life chained to a pole on the roadside, but J.K. Simmons incorrectly believes that'd be an improper outlay of resources (because he's bought into puritan iconoclasm, always and everywhere certain doom of the arts and in their footsteps following industries). Because J.K. Simmons does not understand the importance of elaborate statuary in church, Frances McDormand and her sad ilk get to roam free and produce, complicatedly, multi-layeredly, "impredictably" the very bogonic field effects J.K. Simmons is stuck dealing with as if they were "a thing of itself". Yet they're not -- they're cuntal emanations one and all -- cage the cunts in the morning, watch the zombie swarm disappear overnight.
There's not many better films out there.———
- 2008, by E. J. Coen, with J.K. Simmons, David Rasche, John Malkovich, Richard Jenkins, George Clooney, Brad Pitt, Tilda Swinton, Frances McDormand sorted by character bogon order. Remarkably well fit to actors' bogon order too, and notice how the old women are firmly at the bogon end ? No, it is not a coincidence. [↩]
- Just... the reference-counter / garbage collector working behind his eyes, in those short half second pauses... you can fucking see it, behind his eyes, collapsing trees, searching, checking... [↩]