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Burn After Reading

  R HD Closed Captioning

Joel Coen & Ethan Coen

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Plot Summary

An all-star cast, including George Clooney, Brad Pitt, Frances McDormand, Tilda Swinton and John Malkovich, come together in this outrageous spy comedy about murder, blackmail, sex addiction and physical fitness! When a disc filled with some of the CIA's most irrelevant secrets gets in the hands of two determined, but dim-witted, gym employees, the duo are intent on exploiting their find. But since blackmail is a trade better left for the experts, events soon spiral out of everyone's and anyone's control, resulting in a non-stop series of hilarious encounters! From Joel and Ethan Coen, the Academy Award®-winning directors of No Country For Old Men and The Big Lebowski, comes this brilliantly clever and endlessly entertaining movie that critics are calling, "smart, funny, and original" (Ben Lyons, E!).

Rotten Tomatoes Movie Reviews


  • Reviews Counted: 227
  • Fresh: 178
  • Rotten: 49
  • Average Rating: 6.9/10

Top Critics' Reviews

Fresh: These are functioning morons, they walk and work among us. And they are brilliant and funny and in spite of the screwball-comedy nature of the story, they are completely believable. – Ben Mankiewicz, At the Movies, Jun 24, 2010

Fresh: , Frances McDormand might get nominated for an Academy Award in a supporting role. She was great. – Ben Lyons, At the Movies, Jun 24, 2010

Fresh: It might be the same old song, but I could watch these guys play it over and over again. – Simon Miraudo, Quickflix, Nov 2, 2014

Rotten: Halfway between a good Coen brothers movie and a terrible Coen brothers movie. – Matthew De Abaitua, Times [UK], Jun 24, 2010

Read More About This Movie On Rotten Tomatoes

Customer Reviews

Not that good. Sorry.

If you are expecting a Coen brothers' movie like "Fargo" or "No Country", then "Burn After Reading" is NOT up your alley. I know my review will be rated poorly, but I refuse to buy into the hype of this movie. Not only did I not care about any of the characters, but the self-perpetuating idiocy that drove the plot did not strike me in any way as original, but rather seems to be closely related to the slap-stick comedic fatalism that Lucille Ball made famous (a la the chocolate factory episode when the chain of events keeps getting worse and worse, regardless of how hard she attempts to fix things). Further, I understand that the two directors are known for pushing the envelope and being "cutting edge" or even "existential" (and I can imagine people now, saying that I did not understand the movie), but unlike their other brilliant films, this is not a character study or a journey, and any possible merit that it had is muddied by the pervasive and, frankly, unrealistic language (particularly the "f-bomb"). Really, do people truly use that much foul language in "real" life? That, for me, sullied my viewing experience and hampered the effectiveness of the feature as innovative; for that is what the two brothers are specialists in. Nevertheless, Brad Pitt's character is worth a glance on Youtube. Check out some of his highlights and funny moments. Though I believe the trailers already showed all of them, since they are few and Pitt's character is probably the main draw to the movie after the directors. Not 1 star. It's better than "Big Trouble in Little China," but it is not what I expected at all--i.e., it did not meet my expectations, quality-wise, at all. You are not missing anything if you skip "Burn After Reading" and go on to another new release, or if you revisit a tried-and-true Coen brother's movie.

Typical Brilliant Coen Brothers Movie

If you are a fan of the Coen brothers, you will not be disappointed. Twists and turns in Cohen Brothers fashion. Perfect cast, will keep you thoroughly entertained.

OMG! What a great movie!

I laughed so hard at the end, I was in tears! The movie is intelligent, witty, and requires some thought to get why it's so funny. Some people walked out of the movie completely baffled. The acting is great. I've never been a big fan of Brad Pitt until this movie, but if you see this movie wanting to see him as a heart throb, don't. This will be one of the few movies I buy.

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Burn After Reading
View In iTunes
  • $14.99
  • Genre: Comedy
  • Released: 2008

Customer Ratings