Belfast Telegraph

Wednesday 17 September 2014

Did the Coen brothers pre-empt a scandal with Burn After Reading?

George Clooney starred in the Coen brothers' Burn After Reading
Tilda Swinton starred in the Coen Brothers movie Burn After Reading

America's political elites have spent the past five days trying to get their head around the intricacies of the circumstances that led to the resignation of David Petraeus.

Petraeus, the former CIA director and general in charge of the US Army in Iraq and Afghanistan, resigned on Friday in circumstances that felt like the second act of a Byzantine farce.

Namely, the woman Petraeus was having an affair with sent messages to another woman, who reported them to an FBI agent (who was later suspended) and who had also received "inappropriate communication" from Petraeus's successor in Afghanistan.



It wasn't long before comparisons were made between the mucky affair and the Coen Brothers' 2008 black comedy Burn After Reading starring Brad Pitt, George Clooney and Frances McDormand. The plot of the film follows the demise of most of its players – including a CIA agent – due to a similar combination of lust, greed, vanity and clumsiness.



There's also a hagiographical memoir at the root of the scandal in the film. Paula Broadwell, of course, recently published her account of the former general's career – All In – The Education of General David Petraeus.



Let's just hope there are no political forewarnings in the bloody murders of No Country for Old Men and Fargo.

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Your Horoscopes by Russell Grant

Virgo:

Your partner may be irresponsible with money and you're tired of paying the price for it. Keeping separate financial accounts may be the arrangement for the two of you. If your amour continues to accumulate debt without fear of the consequences, it may be time to part ways. You're a practical person who yearns for financial security. Putting money into a savings account gives you the freedom to travel, write and study. Don't be ashamed of your needs; they encompass your personality.More