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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Thanks for the memoir
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...
Published on Dec 16 2008 by Amanda Richards

versus
3.0 out of 5 stars I've seen better movies..
I finished it ... barely... don't expect a typical Coen brothers movie...
Published 3 days ago by RAMBOSMITH


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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Thanks for the memoir, Dec 16 2008
By 
Amanda Richards (Georgetown, Guyana) - See all my reviews
(TOP 1000 REVIEWER)    (HALL OF FAME)   
This review is from: Burn After Reading (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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4.0 out of 5 stars Good mindless movie, Nov. 20 2013
Pretty good movie that has no rhyme or reason. If you have time to waste it's worth watching, fun times.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Intelligent, funny and meaningless, April 13 2012
By 
Steven Aldersley (Oshawa, Ontario, Canada) - See all my reviews
(TOP 50 REVIEWER)    (REAL NAME)   
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. Chad acquires a CD containing the beginning of Osborne's memoir and believes it to be secrets of national importance. He thinks that Osborne is sure to give him a reward if he returns it and that leads to an amusing phone call. Linda decides that the Russians may be interested in the worthless CD and that they might reward her for the useless information.

Everybody seems to be sleeping with everyone else and what could go wrong does go wrong. This is not a serious story in any way.

There's a great cameo by J. K. Simmons who plays a CIA boss. He's utterly clueless about the significance of the events we witness because they are all meaningless. Watch his reaction at the end of the movie when he makes a decision about what further action to take.

Burn After Reading is a good way to spend an hour-and-a-half. No analysis is necessary. All of the characters have funny moments. Ignore the negative reviews and see it for yourself. You can pick it up for under $10 if you like it.

Overall score 4.5/5
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3.0 out of 5 stars I've seen better movies.., Aug. 19 2014
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: Burn After Reading (DVD)
I finished it ... barely... don't expect a typical Coen brothers movie...
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Another wacky one from the Cohen Brothers, Dec 21 2008
By 
Matthew King - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Burn After Reading (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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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Not funny at all, March 29 2009
By 
This review is from: Burn After Reading (DVD)
I will not waste my time analyzing that boring movie. I gave it 1 star because I cannot give 0.5 star or zero star. Again the cohens bore me to tears. I hate when the critics makes us believe something is funny when it is not. Great talents wasted on a worthless movie.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Weirdly funny, March 31 2009
By 
S. Lavigne (Canada) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Burn After Reading (DVD)
This film is similar in style to The Big Lebowski - another movie made by the Cohen brothers - in that the plot is triggered by events that should be banal but that evolve into a complete (and complex) mess. It is definitely worth seeing if you're looking for an original story and a good laugh.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars, Aug. 8 2014
This review is from: Burn After Reading (DVD)
Excellent quality
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1.0 out of 5 stars Pointless Waste of Time, Oct. 11 2010
By 
Francesca (Ontario, Canada) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Burn After Reading (DVD)
I couldn't watch more than 45 minutes of this movie. Brad Pitt's "look I'm a dumb guy" portrayal was painful to watch. I wanted to like this, but it just irritated me. I didn't care about the characters or how the movie would end.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Good Coen Brothers romp, June 23 2009
By 
Kona (Emerald City) - See all my reviews
(TOP 100 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: Burn After Reading (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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Burn After Reading
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