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Burn After Reading
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Customer Reviews:

  • Don't encourage this sort of movie with your resources
    Sadly, we rented this movie on the fact that Cloney and Pitt are normally a dead ringer for some great laughs and just plain good movie watching, but this movie was not worth the money, time or listening to the 500 or so fbombs it takes.

    If a movie comes together in the end or the story line is just great, I can take quite a bit of language in a movie, but if the movie is leaning on foul language to be a big part of the humor...it's just plain trashy and lacking true comedy.

    I was also pretty shocked at how obnoxious the intimate scenes in the movie were...just pretty darn gross. That coupled with a handful of nasty relational situations, just makes for a stupid movie.

    There is one endearing and funny character in the film who meets an early end which is a bummer b/c nobody else has much going on for them in the character department.

    Overall...just to much trash and not enough true humor to make this worth much of anything...least of all your resources to encourage this sort of movie making to be repeated....more info
  • Funny film
    This is a quirky funny flick about the CIA and it should be no surprise that it came from the Coen brothers. Brad Pitt is fine as an air head and John Malkovich and George Clooney are great as usual. If you like the other Coen brothers films, as I do, you will enjoy this one. ...more info
  • Coen Brother do this?
    Listen, I've never watched a Coen brother's movie. Perhaps thats just me being dumb or it not being on my to-do list. But this movie looked funny in the trailers. So I decided to rent it, the Blockbuster guy having told me he didn't like it. I didn't believe him because 1) He was flirting with me. Never trust someone who flirts with you and you don't know them. 2)He smelled like Beef and cheese.
    So I get to my place and decide to watch this. Then I realize something. This movie has no plot. Wonderful actors, yes. But no plot for them to feed on. What were the writer's doing, spending a weekend in Vegas then waking up with a hangover the day the script was needed? So they took a bunch of ideas and put them together?
    And because of this, I don't even remember the chracters names. I know that Brad Pitt's was the funniest, even though he was too retarded to live. And Geogre clooney's guy? What is that machine? I was digusted. So my review; burn in general. Don't even bother reading...more info
  • Burn After Reading
    Great movie!!!! George and Brad are great acting together in this movie. Would definatly reccomend....more info
  • Great Movie
    I am only giving this film one star to gather peoples attention to ignore everyone else who is giving it one star. This was a very funny and entertaining movie with a great cast. Great film noir. I REALLY AM GIVING IT 4-1/2 STARS. ...more info
  • Incomplete - waiting for the sequel
    First things first , brilliant acting by all. I loved Fargo and Frances M. in it and I was looking forward to seeing her again with Coen brothers' work. I wouldn't have disliked it so much if it did not end so abruptly. I seriously thought if I had hit some button accidentally. Not every movie should have a point , but this one seemed like it was headed for one. Such a waste of great great performances. ...more info
  • "Jesus, What a Clusterf***"
    The Coen Brothers send up of the "spy thriller" genre, Burn After Reading followed on the heels of Best Picture-winner No Country for Old Men and, like almost all Coen Brothers films, was a completely different direction from that previous film. It's a dark/screwball comedy that does go over the top, but is completely comfortable in its absurdity. The Coen Brothers said they wanted this to be their "Tony Scott movie." Well (different genres aside), it's better than most Tony Scott movies.

    The film grabbed my attention immediately in the brilliant opening scene where Osborne Cox (John Malkovich), a CIA analyst, is told he is being demoted to a lower clearance level as a result of his "drinking problem." Seeing this as a political crucifixion, Osborne quits his job and decides to pen an "explosive" memoir. George Clooney plays Harry Pfarrer, a U.S. Marshal who works in the Treasury Department. Harry is happily married to a children's book author, happy to point out he has "never fired his gun in 20 years of Marshal Service," and is having an affair with Osborne's wife Katie (Tilda Swinton).

    Frances McDormand plays Linda Litzke, a loudmouthed, na?ve gym employee looking for love...And a way to pay for all the plastic surgery procedures she wants. Linda works with Chad (Brad Pitt), a gum-chewing, clueless simpleton who works Linda at Hardbodies gym. When Chad finds a disc that seems to contain Osborne's memoirs, the two decide to bribe Osborne for some money to return his "intelligence s***." Richard Jenkins co-stars as Ted, the nervous, insecure manager of Hardbodies.

    Few movie character's need you to use two adjectives when describing them. These characters do...All are multi-dimensional, bumbling idiots that don't feel like "written" idiots. The Coen's wrote these characters specifically for the actors that play them and each actor (knowing they're not shooting for an Oscar) has a blast playing they're character. The Coen Brothers have always excelled at creating memorable film characters, but I found their creations here some of their most memorable and easily some of their funniest.

    Much of the credit goes to the actor's, two I'll talk about specifically. George Clooney, Tilda Swinton, and Frances McDormand are all Oscar winners; both have played this character before. Clooney is hilarious and has received his fair share of attention for this role. It's nice to see a serious actor not being afraid to let loose. Swinton has also played this character before; as the most humorless character in the film, it's not even much of a stretch from her Michael Clayton (Widescreen Edition) character. And McDormand is great as always, especially in movies directed by her husband Joel Coen. The characters she plays in Coen movies always seem to be adored by their creator(s) and usually have the happiest ending. This is no exception.

    The two actors' that really stand out, for me, are John Malkovich and Brad Pitt. I love Malkovich and will watch any movie he's in. Anyone who's seen a Malkovich film has probably noticed that he has one of the most commanding, attention-grabbing voices especially when he's yelling. The Coen Brothers seem to have noticed, as they wrote this part specifically for him and I think there are two or three scenes where Malkovich isn't yelling. This is a great comedic performance. Not just because Malkovich is a revered actor of film and stage, as he's had no problem breaking away from type in the past...But he's absolutely fascinating, empathetic, and hilarious. People tend to say that Osborne is the most intelligent character, but as the tagline of this film said: "intelligence is relative." Osborne is smart, but like all the people in this film has their idea of what's going on all wrong. Even the smartest character in this film lacks common sense. You laugh at Osborne, but you feel a bit bad for the guy too.

    Brad Pitt, an underrated actor, comes out of nowhere with his performance as Chad. I know people who won't see a Pitt film, but he steals the show here! Not only that, he's created one of the most brilliant character's of his career. He disappears into the role of Chad, bringing such an energy and hilarity to his role. In character, Pitt saying the word "s***" can cause you to cry tears of laughter.

    The confrontation between Chad and Osborne in the car is a perfect example of the comedic genius of the script and the great comedic timing of the actors. Everything about this scene is ingenious from Pitt's squinty eyes, to the expletive-filled exchange between the two, and finally to "you think it's a Schwinn!"

    Anyway, as for the rest of the film; the dialogue is brilliantly written. There are lines in this film that you will very likely remember for a long time. There's quite a bit of swearing in the film, but it never feels gratuitous. If not further the development of the characters, I find that no one can say the "f-word" like Malkovich can. The musical score is your typical "spy movie" music that works so wonderfully here, adding to the absurdity of the film and seemingly remarking on the false tension that these "spy thrillers" attempt to build.

    Burn After Reading is a screwball comedy, Coen style. It's a film that takes nothing seriously and, at a 92-minute running time, only has scenes necessary to the plot. Before you disagree, there are scenes that seem to have no place in the film whatsoever. If this film wasn't as ludicrous as it is, they wouldn't. However, even the scenes that don't seem to have any relevance add to sheer randomness of this film. And it is random; the Coen's have no problem leading the film is one direction only to jerk it into completely different one moments later.

    Many people have rejected this film. All Coen Brothers films have their detractors, but this one seems to be taking a lot of heat. I honestly can't understand why. The Coen Brothers have always made films like this, but this is distinctly different from any previous comedy efforts...And it IS better than their last comedy The Ladykillers (Widescreen Edition).

    The script seems to get the biggest amount of complaints. The first time I saw the film (I've seen it four times now), I had no idea what was going on and I was wondering where this movie was going. What was the point? The two scenes that J.K. Simmons is in sum up the entire "point" of the movie. Is the plot "contrived?" Yes. Does the film seem to be going nowhere throughout? Yes. If you paid attention to the (hilarious) scenes with Simmons, you should realize that the entire point of the film is that there really isn't one. The characters have as good of an idea as you do about what's happening. It has a central conflict that is really not of much importance and the rest of the film is the hilarious situations that come from this conflict. I don't see how even people who disliked the film can't admire the brilliance of the plot structure.

    Burn After Reading is the most inventive, unique comedy of 2008. I really love this movie. It's not a masterpiece, it's not perfect, and it's not one of the best Coen Brothers movies. But it's a very intelligent comedy with great characters and witty dialogue that is absolutely bursting with creative energy.

    How can you dislike a movie that can be summed up with one word; "clusterf***."

    GRADE: A-...more info
  • less than one star
    I agree with other reviewers that this movie is horrible. The story line is extremely boring and with excessive four letter words....more info
  • Ummm....What?
    i watched this movie one night and was left with a feeling of emptiness. not because the movie made me evaluate something missing in my life, but because it was suck a horrible film. ...more info
  • Definitely Not Drivel
    The Coen Brothers are back. I know they won the Oscar for "No Country for Old Men". What I mean is that they are Lebowski back. Nobody could make absurdist comedy like the Coens when they were on their game. In this case they've made a caper film that's not really a caper film. To give away the film's imaginative twists would be a disservice. Just imagine, though, a film where the paths cross between a disgraced alcoholic Level 3 CIA analyst(John Malkovich), a sex addicted Treasury Department employee (George Clooney), a love-lorn gym employee(Frances McDormand) and a Good Sammaritan(Brad Pitt). Throw into the mix a disc that could shake this country to it's foundations. Imagine the mayhem that only the Coen's could concoct. This film seems to have a love it or hate it reaction. I loved it....more info
  • Ladykillers II
    If you liked Ladykillers, you'll like this film. The general arc of the plot is similar enough to make me wonder why the Coen brothers even bothered. The acting is excellent, and the movie is quite amusing right up until the moment--SPOILER ALERT--Brad Pitt's brains splatter against the back of the closet. After that, it's hard to find much to enjoy in this picture. A disappointment, all the more so for having started well....more info
  • Much better than I thought it would be.....
    Most of the hype I heard regarding this film was negative. It implied that this was not what you would expect to see from the "Cohen Brothers". Fortunately, the cast was so strong that I wanted to watch it in spite of the negative reviews. If you enjoyed watching their previous films, you will not regret watching this one. It is very entertaining and has the usual black humour and moments of unexpected violence. J.K. Simmons and Frances McDormand really stand out.
    Enjoy!!!!...more info
  • Burn after WATCHING
    Just because you're the Coen Brothers doesn't guarantee that the film will be good but it does give the film credibility - although after watching it - that credibility is all taken away.
    Worst performance in the film is Brad Pitt - surprisingly - trying to play a dim-witted gym trainer. He tries to hard to become dumber than what the character would be in real life making his role in the film a spoof.
    The real star in the film is Richard Jenkins - should be no surprise there. Even Clooney falls short.
    Somehow all the pieces of the puzzle don't fit - don't believe the hype about this movie. No Country for Old Men still should be regarded as the Coen's Brother's masterpiece - this one is a flop!...more info
  • More like Burn Before Watching
    Was totally disappointed with this movie. Brad Pitt was funny at times but other than that a complete waste of time....more info
  • Burn Before Viewing!
    One of the worst, if not THE worst, movie I have ever watched. I thought good cast, seemingly interesting plot line - decent previews so should be a good movie... but what a piece of junk. The actors did not seem to want to be in the movie, the plot went nowhere, the characters never explained, let alone developed.

    Save your money watch paint dry, it will have about the same dialog, plot and you will have a greater sense of purpose after the hour and a half of paint watching....more info
  • The Coen brothers have certainly done better
    The Coen brothers have made some truly wonderful films. Fargo and O Brother Where Art Thou? were both brilliant. So why this sudden descent into pointlessness? On the positive side, this movie wasn't nearly as bad as No Country for Old Men, which was absolutely pointless. Burn After Reading was just mostly pointless, however, unlike No Country for Old Men, it was saved by its humor. I won't summarize the plot, because there wasn't one. (Silly people get all mixed up and kill the wrong people for the wrong reasons.) The best thing this film had going for it was excellent acting. Brad Pitt, Frances McDormand and George Clooney were all magnificent. Even John Malkovich, who normally is as expressive as a tree stump, did a commendable job. The movie could have used a plot - and an ending - but, hey, you can't have everything. ...more info
  • makes the 3 Stooges look like geniuses
    Proves conclusively that ideal casting is NOT all you need to make a good movie. All five stars are unlikeable. The shocking stupidity isn't funny. It's just shocking. If the Coens were happy with this pratfall onto a bed of nails then their funnybones have obviously been amputated....more info
  • Right, Right, Naysayers, We Get It! Now please, No More "Burn BEFORE Viewing" Jokes
    The reviews have been mixed, and I'm not at all surprised. BURN AFTER READING won't be everybody's cup of Gatorade, but if you're one of the many naysayers who claim to find the film a major letdown after last year's officially designated Best Pic NO COUNTRY FOR OLD MEN, well, let me just say, I do understand your point. But has it occurred to you that maybe you're less of a COEN BROS. fan and more of a CORMAC McCARTHY fan?

    Yes, yes, I know that NO COUNTRY was supposed to be a case of the source material (the McCarthy novel of the same name) being the perfect fit for our two most idiosyncratic filmmakers, and in many ways, it was just that. But there was one significant difference, in my book anyway. And that was the person(?) of Anton Chigurh himself. We all know by now that Chigurh is quite simply the personification of implacable evil, less of human being than a force of supernature. And like a malevolent phoenix, he rises from the ashes more than once. One thing he's NOT is a bumbler. In that, he differs from just about every other Coen "bad guy," or for that matter, just about every other major Coen character.

    Heck, even the seemingly invincible biker dude in RAISING ARIZONA turned out to be Wile E. Coyote in the end.

    I know the Brothers don't particularly like to be intellectualized about, but if there's one common theme uniting all their work, it's probably that the entire human race is the Gang That Could't Shoot Straight. In the Coen's universe, we're all bad comic actors strutting and fretting for about 90 minutes on atarnished silver screen. Good guys or bad, small or mighty, it don't make no never mind. Usually, just like in real life, the misterioso elements that do occur (a cow on a barn, say) are just enough for us fools to scratch and wonder if just maybe there aren't more things in heaven and earth than are dreamt in our philosophy...OR our cinema. Or my name isn't Horatio!

    If you keep the Coens' basic worldview in mind, you just may find that BURN AFTER READING is a near perfect expression of same. This is an absurd world where EVERYBODY is out of their league. And they've all watched too many spy movies. Even the spies--who really should know better. When John Malkovich--being the quintessential John Malkovich here--rails at Brad Pitt's buffoonish would-be blackmailer/"Good Samaritan" and tells him that he (Pitt) has no idea what he's up against, he's so into his espionage mode that you might forget for a second that he's just a (fired) CIA analyst penning what appears to be a not very revealing tell-all. In other words, this is not "spy vs. spy." It's "schlub vs. schlub."

    And you gotta love that. Or at least I do. You can do what you want....more info
  • The Title Is a Literal Translation of What The Actors Should Have Done When Given The Project
    The Title Is a Literal Translation of What The Actors Should Have Done When Given The Project. The movie had some high expectations for me, given I'm a huge fan of the Coen brothers and of the rat packers Clooney (Lexington born) and Pitt...unfortunately this particular movie is a horrible train wreck of plot and acting....there is no literal plot, but a mismash of events that don't even really have anything to do with one another....great disappointment. This isn't even the kind of movie you wait to catch of cable, just a waste of time. ...more info
  • Bad . . . Just Plain Bad!
    My wife and I just rented this movie and it was not only a waste of time, it just left us with a bad feeling. Yes, a true waste of 2 hours of our life. We loved "O Brother Where Art Thou" and hoped this would be of equal quality. Like a previous reviewer, we kept watching, hoping it would get better, but it just got worse, and fast. I rarely write reviews, but felt compelled to warn others about this movie.

    SPOILER ALERT: The trailer and clips had almost all of the good clips, which happen in the first part of the movie. It starts out as off beat and quirky and moves along well. [Be warned, there is an exceptional use of the "F" word from the very first scene]. Then it just turns mean and violent. One of the main characters, unexpectedly, has his head blown off and another gets shot and then has a hatchet taken to him. Then, it has a weak ending, almost like a throw off scene. This movie is NOT what it appears in the trailer or previews.

    One way we judge a film is if we really like or "root for" any of the characters. In the end, there are no really likable characters in the movie and we didn't root for them. We just disliked them. Granted, this has a terrific cast. But if you want to see a movie that Hollywood loves, and demonstrates how out of touch they are with regular "people", then this is it. It's as if they made it for themselves so they could sit around and pat each other on the back. Yeah, one might call it a dark comedy, but it is not in the same league as others of this genre.

    In the end, I recommend you stay away from "Burn After Reading". Don't waste two-plus hours of your life on this movie!



    ...more info
  • Burn Before Watching
    I have seen some bad movies but this one has got to be in the top 10 some where! The ploy is very disjointed, it was like it was written by 5 people, and each one had to takeover from the last without being allowed to change anything the prior writers did.

    There was so much untapped potential, the acting was actually ok, but no actor can fix such bad material, I would not even recommend renting this, wait for it to be on free TV, at least then you may get to enjoy some good commercials.

    The plot never gells, the character are never fully developed, there is no point, unless its don't try to sell CD'd to Russians and even that was not made well.

    People were shot for no given reason, some unkown agency was invloved but why, perhaps one of the 5 writers know, but they did not bother the share that with the viewers.

    There are about three plot lines that never really connect, there are no characters you really come to like or even feel sorry for and half the movie the characters are swearing like drunken sailors, which I would not really mind but they were swearling in scenes where there was nothing really to swear about, it was like one of the writers got writers block so just filled in the diaglog with swearing.

    ...more info
  • Very humorous
    This lighthearted comedy is full of quirky characters, and a couple dead bodies. Brad Pitt plays a different role than we're used to seeing him in as the silly, airhead gym employee who thinks he's stumbled upon a way for him and a female co-worker to collect a 'reward'. Unfortunately, the owner of a missing c.d. sees the two as a threat and responds violently to any hint of blackmail. All the characters have their own flaws and struggles, which makes them very realistic. A great comedy with many favorite actors.

    Chrissy K. McVay - Author...more info
  • How about..burn before watching
    With all the talent behind and in front of the camera..you would think that the Coen brothers did it again...well think again. This is by far the worst Coen brothers movie. Cloony hams it up over acting, as does Brad Pitt. Malcovich and Mcdormand are good..but there is nothing in the screenplay for them to be good at...this movie is not even a rental...I'd say if you have to watch it on network television when it comes on...the commercials will break the horrid monotony of this mess....more info
  • Burn before watching
    What started out as funny, clever, witty and rather unique, slowly but surely became tawdry, insignificant and boorish.
    I watched the movie with two friends when about half way through all three of us were scratching our heads wondering how the writer/s had gone so terribly wrong.
    The actings was great. None of us had any gripes in that department but the storyline got out of control and soon, anything that was remotely interesting about the characters in the movie seemed overshadowed by the various outrageous amounts of idiot antics that each and every character was stuck having to act out.
    And a question here: WHO in their right mind would find a computer CD with classified info on it and then, when trying to blackmail the owner of the material, would be offended that the victim was a bit "peeved" (to put it mildly) about being blackmailed??
    It was at that time in the film when all three of us knew, "It's all downhill from here."
    And we were right.
    If you're looking for some thought provoking indy black humour entertainment, there are SO many more out there that can provide it for you and done so much better!
    This isn't one of them though.
    It was a total waste of time for me and my friends.
    Perhaps my attitude is due to the high expectation's I had for a film with such a dynamic cast, etc.
    Whatever it is ..
    The film left me cold....cold as in Antartica cold.


    ...more info
  • This was The Coen Brothers?
    My husband and I are huge Coen brothers fans, in fact we own all of their films on DVD. We were both, frankly, shocked at how bad this movie was. The beguiling thing about a Coen character is that even though they may be "bad" people in society, they have some endearing human frailities that draw the viewer. Not in Burn After Reading. These folks are morally, intellectually, and emotionally bankrupt. We didn't care what happened to them if they would just leave. They are like the annoying, uninvited guest at a party that just won't go home. The only character that endears is horribly killed in the movie and that tells it all right there. Finally-the humor is just not there. Not recommended....more info
  • Burn After Ready
    burn after reading is a querqy dark comedy. cohen bros style.

    Its a good movie, with a twist or two. Not the best work by Brad Pitt and Clooney, but good enough for a watch.

    7 out of 10...more info
  • Burn after Watching
    Burn after Reading is one of those movies that is going to appear on everyone's rating radar. The movie in general was slow and difficult to really understand what was going on until half-way through. THere were unique performances by Brad Pitt and George Clooney while John Malkovich stole the show. His performance was the only reason this movie was tolerable.

    This movie isn't really a comedy but definately isn't what I would classify as a drama. I was expecting more from the star studded cast but overall felt the film came up short. ...more info