I keep thinking that Burn After Reading is a dead serious movie. I guess it’s the combination of still having the Coens’ latest (No Country) fresh on my mind with the strong title (burn!).
But as this poster (and the trailer) makes obvious this is a a return to comedy for the brothers.
Many people have mentioned the influence of the well known Saul Bass posters in this. The designer even went out of the way to make the paper look a little old in order to give this a more authentic vintage feeling. And I think it works wonderfully, creating a distinguished image that, as far as I can tell, fits the movie’s sensibilities perfectly.
The funny thing is that some of Bass’s most famous posters we made for serious Hitchcock films. Burn After Reading seems to be taking a much more comedic approach to the suspense genre, but his style feel right at home with that. Meanwhile I though that last year’s poster for Before the Devil Knows You’re Dead, which was also clearly Bass inspired, felt a little awkward when attached to such a serious movie.
But then again plenty of people liked the Devil poster, so maybe it’s just me that feels that way.