John Malkovich, Brad Pitt, Frances McDormand, George Clooney, Tilda Swinton
Directors: Joel & Ethan Coen
“A disk containing mysterious information from a CIA agent ends up in the hands of two unscrupulous and daft gym employees who attempt to sell it.”(IMDb)
»Currently streaming on Netflix«
What to Expect
Frances McDormand on a war path to get plastic surgery
Brad Pitt is such a Chad
Why You Should Watch It
Because it’s the Coen Brothers.
The acting (and cast) is wonderful, and there are many hilarious jabs sprinkled throughout the film. Personally, I was so confused with how everything fit together on my first viewing that I didn’t care for it. My second time around I appreciated the humor more, and the fact that three people died and one fled the country all because some woman was desperate for a little nip/tuck. This story is still a little convoluted, though, so lieu of an explanation I’ll just give a synopsis:
Osborne Cox (Malkovich) is fired from his job at the CIA and resolves to write a memoir in retaliation. His wife, Katie (Swinton), is sleeping with Harry (Clooney). She wants to leave Osborne for Harry, and in plotting her divorce copies down Osborne’s financial information onto a CD that she loses at her gym. Linda Litzke (McDormand) and Chad (Pitt) obtain the CD, but they can’t understand what they’re looking at and presume they have found top-secret government files. Chad discovers Osborne is CIA, and together with Linda they attempt to blackmail him for money. After a lot of swearing and insulting of Chad’s bike, Osborne refuses to give in, so Linda gives the CD to the Russian embassy. Since there’s jack shit on the CD, Linda and Chad need more information and decide to stake out Osborne’s house.
Besides committing blackmail and treason, Linda is also in search for love. She matches with Harry on an online dating site and thinks he may be the one, completely unaware that he not separated from his wife like he claims, and is also sleeping with Katie Cox at the same time. While staking out Osborne’s home, Chad sees Harry and Katie leaving and goes to poke around. But Harry’s leaving was only for a brief, post-coital jog around the block. He returns to the house, finds Chad hiding in the closet and shoots him – discharging his weapon for the first time in all his 20 years of marshall service.
Harry has been increasingly worried that people have been following him, and finding Chad in his closet only makes things worse. He runs down the man who has been tailing him and discovers he was hired by Harry’s wife to prove his infidelity and divorce him. After getting over the shock of the news, he calms down a bit and meets up with Linda, who is upset because Chad is missing. Through asking Linda of Chad’s last whereabouts, Harry realizes Chad was the man he killed in the closet and has a mental breakdown, thinking she and everyone around him is spying on him. Harry attempts to flee to Venezuela.
Meanwhile, Osborne is breaking into his own house. Katie served him, transferred money from his bank accounts, threw his stuff out on the porch and changed the locks. Osborne obtains “the new keys” in the form of a hatchet and finds Ted (Richard Jenkins) in the house, trying to get more dirt on Osborne to impress his crush, Linda. Ted is shot and makes a run for it, but Osborne hatchets him to death in the street. CIA operatives, who have been keeping eyes on all the characters since Linda went to the Russians, shoot Osborne and put him in a coma. Linda is taken into custody and agrees to cooperate if the CIA pays for several plastic surgeries she wants. CIA Superior JK Simmons agrees to the surgeries with a wave of his hand, musing over how much of a clusterfuck the whole ordeal has become.
“What did we learn, Palmer?” Simmons’ character asks.
“I don’t know, sir,” Palmer replies.
“I don’t fuckin’ know, either,” and the Superior closes his case file, leaving the audience asking themselves the same question as the credits begin to roll.