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Burn After Reading (2008)

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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.

Directors:

Ethan Coen, Joel Coen

Writers:

Joel Coen, Ethan Coen
Reviews
Popularity
1,432 ( 65)

A Guide to the Films of the Coen Brothers

From Blood Simple to the new The Ballad of Buster Scruggs, we take a look at the offbeat stylings of Academy Award-winners Joel and Ethan Coen.

Dude, let's go bowling

Nominated for 2 Golden Globes. Another 8 wins & 29 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
George Clooney ... Harry Pfarrer
Frances McDormand ... Linda Litzke
Brad Pitt ... Chad Feldheimer
John Malkovich ... Osborne Cox
Tilda Swinton ... Katie Cox
Richard Jenkins ... Ted
Elizabeth Marvel ... Sandy Pfarrer
David Rasche ... CIA Officer Palmer DeBakey Smith
J.K. Simmons ... CIA Superior (as JK Simmons)
Olek Krupa ... Krapotkin
Michael Countryman ... Alan
Kevin Sussman ... Tuchman Marsh Man
J.R. Horne J.R. Horne ... Divorce Lawyer (as JR Horne)
Hamilton Clancy ... Peck
Armand Schultz ... Olson
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Storyline

Osbourne Cox, a Balkan expert, resigned from the CIA because of a drinking problem, so he begins a memoir. His wife wants a divorce and expects her lover, Harry, a philandering State Department marshal, to leave his wife. A CD-ROM falls out of a gym bag at a Georgetown fitness center. Two employees there try to turn it into cash: Linda, who wants money for cosmetic surgery, and Chad, an amiable goof. Information on the disc leads them to Osbourne who rejects their sales pitch; then they visit the Russian embassy. To sweeten the pot, they decide they need more of Osbourne's secrets. Meanwhile, Linda's boss likes her, and Harry's wife leaves for a book tour. All roads lead to Osbourne's house. Written by <jhailey@hotmail.com>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

Intelligence is only their job. See more »


Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for pervasive language, some sexual content and violence | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Official Sites:

Official Facebook | Official site

Country:

USA | UK | France

Language:

English

Release Date:

12 September 2008 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Burn After Reading See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$37,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$19,128,001, 14 September 2008

Gross USA:

$60,355,347

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$163,720,069
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

SDDS | Dolby Digital | DTS

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The poster for the film within the film, "Coming Up Daisy", states it is based on a book by Cormac McCarthy (who really wrote the book "No Country For Old Men", which the Coen Brothers (Joel Coen & Ethan Coen)' previous film (No Country for Old Men (2007)) was based on), and that it was directed by Sam Raimi (a friend and collaborator of the Coens'). See more »

Goofs

Mr. Krapotkin asks, about the CD, "PC or Mac"? Most data CD formats are readable by either type of computer, however the character could be asking in case the data is in a format readable only on one type of machine, e.g. a word processor package that exists only for the Mac. See more »

Quotes

Krapotkin: This is Mr Krapotkin from the Russian embassy.
Linda Litzke: Mr Crapkin... Is this a secure line?
Krapotkin: Are you joking?
See more »

Crazy Credits

There is credit for 'The Walrus' See more »


Soundtracks

Picked Up (Niyi Remix)
Written by Tiff McGinnis (as T.McGinnis)
Performed by Tiff McGinnis (as Crazy Girl)
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

 
A Plot-less Movie Can Only Go So Far
31 December 2008 | by alexkolokotronisSee all my reviews

Burn After Reading in a strange way reminded me of 8 1/2 in that both movies are about nothing. But these kind of movies can only go so far and Burn After Reading pushed it to the limit. I would explain the plot to you but as I explained there is none.

The writing and directing was excellent by the Coen brothers. They took the storyline about as far as they could some how making their message believable showing that things never really go according to plan and they showed this in all aspects of life. The Coen brothers are show how they are quite a quirky duo when they make movies such as The Big Lebowski, Brother Where Art Thou and of course this. With their talent though they take movies like this further than almost anyone I can think of could.

The acting in here was very entertaining to watch. John Malkovich is always entertaining to watch, his anger and rage is just a pleasure to watch as ironic as that may sound. Brad Pitt's total embodiment of stupidity in here is probably his best role I have seen to date but then again that maybe shouldn't be too surprising. Francis McDormand was very funny with her need for artificial improvements all over her body. George Clooney, who seemed to be sleeping with everyone was very charming and probably the most interesting to watch behind John Malkovich. Tilda Swinton has began to impress me a lot and has only done so more with the her cold blooded performance. Lastly Richard Jenkins and JK Simmons were actually the most entertaining to watch despite having a superstar cast in front of them.

Despite this movie being so technically sound I still did not think it was an amazing or profound movie. It was a movie with an average story that was totally uplifted by its cast and directors.

My rating: 7.3/10


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