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Burn After Reading [Blu-ray]

15 customer reviews

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Product Details

  • Actors: Brad Pitt, Frances McDormand, George Clooney
  • Directors: Joel Coen, Ethan Coen
  • Format: NTSC
  • Language: English
  • Region: Region A/1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • MPAA Rating: UNRATED
  • Studio: Focus Features
  • Release Date: May 22 2012
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (15 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #12,079 in DVD (See Top 100 in DVD)
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Product Description

A disk containing the memoirs of a CIA agent ends up in the hands of two unscrupulous gym employees who attempt to sell it.

Customer Reviews

3.7 out of 5 stars

Most helpful customer reviews

7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Amanda Richards HALL OF FAME on Dec 16 2008
Format: DVD
CIA Superior: So what did we learn from this?
CIA Officer: Um... I don't know.

Short Attention Span Summary (SASS):

1. CIA analyst Cox (John Malkovich) has a falling out with the agency, and decides to write a tell-all memoir.
2. His wife (Tilda Swinton) wants a divorce, and to make sure she's forearmed with his finances, she burns a copy of some of his computer files
3. Said files fall into the incapable hands of clueless gym employees Chad (Brad Pitt) and Linda (Frances McDormand), who decide to try extortion as a fund raising exercise.
4. No prizes for guessing that it doesn't quite work as planned
5. Meanwhile, Mrs. Cox is having an affair, Linda is looking for both love and cosmetic surgery, and Treasury agent Harry (George Clooney) is sleeping around.
6. Black comedy of errors follows with some rather unpredictable twists.

Fans of black comedy will thoroughly enjoy this movie, which is well directed, brilliantly acted and immensely entertaining. Kudos go to Malkovich, Pitt, Swinton and Clooney, but the top award definitely goes to McDormand, who will have you sharing her pain.

Four and a half stars go to the Coen Brothers for this bleak look at life, adultery, blackmail and people behaving badly.

Amanda Richards
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Matthew King on Dec 21 2008
Format: DVD
Burn after reading involves a stellar cast of actors, including George Clooney, Brad Pitt, John Malkovich, Frances McDormand and other all-star calibre characters who all play, to a certain degree, loser types, who get involved with secret CIA material. All of them lead unconnected lives that will soon be connected by a common thread tragedy. It's basically like Fargo, mixed in with some Pulp Fiction for good measure. Highly recommended.
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By Steven Aldersley TOP 50 REVIEWER on April 13 2012
Do you remember the first Blu-ray you ever bought? Mine was Burn After Reading on the same day that I purchased my first Blu-ray player. It's a title that receives very little recognition and it regularly features in sales. Why is that the case?

The movie is directed by the Coen brothers and stars Clooney, Pitt, McDormand, Malkovich and Swinton. What's not to like?

I'm hard to please when it comes to humor, but several Coen brothers films hit the spot. It's clever dialogue rather than slapstick physical humor, and some of it is unpredictable. I can't laugh when I see a joke coming from a mile away wearing a T-shirt with "This is funny, laugh now" written on it. I like to be surprised.

So what is surprising about Burn After Reading?

Harry Pfarrer (Clooney) has no redeeming features. He's married, but sees other women at every opportunity. He's having an affair with Katie Cox (Swinton). Harry is shallow, paranoid and somewhat stupid and Clooney plays the character with his usual charm and good humor.

If there is anyone dumber than Harry, it has to be Chad Feldheimer (Pitt), who works in a gym. Chad is a complete idiot in every way. His friend at the gym is Linda Litzke (McDormand), who is obsessed with undergoing cosmetic surgery to improve her appearance.

Osborne Cox (Malkovich) is married to Katie and works as an analyst for the CIA. Most of his sentences include at least one profanity and he's borderline alcoholic. The story begins with a meeting in which Osborne is told that he will be demoted, but instead of accepting the situation, he quits. Katie is not pleased, even though she's on the verge of leaving him for Harry.

There's not much of a plot.
Read more ›
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By Kona TOP 500 REVIEWER on June 23 2009
Format: DVD
In Washington, D.C., a group of seemingly unrelated characters and a tangle of subplots makes for an entertaining, if lightweight, star-studded comedy with tragic overtones. A CIA man (John Malkovich) gets fired while his wife (Tilda Swinton) is having an affair with a playboy (George Clooney); an insecure woman (Frances McDormand) and her dippy co-worker (Brad Pitt) find the CIA man's memoir and try to peddle it to the Russians.

This film has all the delightful earmarks of a typical Coen Brothers film: It's full of ordinary, somewhat dim characters, greed has a major role, the dialogue is often hysterically funny, and things get quickly out of hand and disaster ensues. The casting is typically odd; Clooney is made out to be a pretentious and rather unsavory guy despite his charisma and Pitt is a foolish simpleton. McDormand is wonderful as the naive middle-ager who gets mixed up in international affairs, and Malkovich is manic and off-kilter as usual.

It's all chaotic and weird, silliness gone wild that is fun to watch but soon forgotten.
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By Ian Gordon Malcomson HALL OF FAMETOP 50 REVIEWER on March 28 2009
Format: DVD
Classed as one of 2008's more engrossing and spell-binding movies, "Burn After Reading" didn't quite live up to my expectations. Sure, I found the plot to be full of intrigue that only the Washington, D.C., scene could produce. The director, Ethan Coen, brings together a star-studded cast of big-name actors who, in the course of ninety minutes, manage to get in each other's way in a search to retain what is left of their crumbling lives. What they encounter in this adventure is a growing inability and futility to get other people to play along in their search for self-preservation. They are either too consumed with getting revenge for personal hurts or too fearful that they will lose their ill-gotten gains to really restart their lives. While the characters in this movie interconnect in strange and disturbing ways, they never really get to know each other in respect to what they want out of life. Consequently, they seem to be at continual cross-purposes with each other. Their only contact are coded messages, computer disks containing half-written memoirs, phone calls, and covert meetings in the most awkward of settings. No wonder there isn't a great deal of conflict resolution in this story. It is meant to reflect the world of disharmony and self-destruction, full of insecure people who are bent on exploiting others to stay ahead. There is one exception to this rule of the jungle: satisfaction has to come to the last person left standing who, in this case, happens to be the one who began the whole nasty affair in the first place. It is the unscrupulous woman gym trainer who started the extortion scheme in the first place. She gets her money in the end because it is strictly intended for improving her chances of employment: a face lift, breast implants and other cosmetic enhancements.Read more ›
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