Burn After Reading (2008)

Posted: April 24, 2011 in Hollywood

Burn After Reading


Osbourne Cox, a Balkan expert, is fired at the CIA, 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 diskette 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 elective 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.-IMDb


Ethan CoenJoel Coen


 Intelligence is relative.

As with all Coen brother movies, there are going to be people who love it and people that hate it. There doesn’t seem to be much middle ground. I loved this movie. It was entertaining, dark and very funny.

Well, I am not much of a fan of “No Country for Old Men”(Coen Brother’s Oscar winning movie) but I’ve always loved Coen Brother’s work and I have to say, “Burn After Reading” was a very enjoyable film for me. Some of the critics  have said that the film rambles around pointlessly, without any clear direction; well I have to disagree, if you are paying attention, you should have no problem understanding what is going on. The best part of the movie is watching this great cast perform brilliantly with the unusual material they are given.

I loved it – from the very first scene to the end. I laughed a lot, enjoyed the dialogs and the acting. How could I not with the dream cast that include John Malkovich as Osbourne Cox, who “doesn’t have a drinking problem”, and his every appearance in the film as forced to quit his job, very angry CIA Analyst who then decided to write a memoir which he pronounces ‘Mem-waah’, was a blast. Tilda Swinton as an arrogant icy cold professional woman, George Clooney who is a womanizer and paranoid that people are following him, Francis McDormand who just wants plastic surgery in order to look better, and very funny and deliciously clueless, Brad Pitt as Chad, a clueless gym employee who is pushed along by McDormand. He is priceless and the innocence of his character is so believable and many familiar faces in the small cameos. George Clooney who has made three films with The Coens got the funniest scenes, and gave one of his best performances.

Brad Pitt in Burn After Reading

As usual, the Coens’ dialog is a real treat. When a co-worker points to Malkovich’s alcohol problems as a reason for his demotion, Malkovich retorts, “You’re a Mormon. Next to you we all have a drinking problem.” The writing is brilliant. In the end, as J.K. Simmons character sums it up himself, nothing really happens, but while watching it all unfold, you can’t help but laugh at the absurdity. The funniest, to me, are the people at the top at the State Department who are watching this maniacal feast and simply let things happen because they don’t have a clue what to do. There are three incredibly funny scenes where the lead man has the events explained to him. At one point he tells them not to notify the FBI and instead burn the body.

All in all, typical Coen Brother’s movie in a posotive way. So give it a watch for the great dialog, fantastic writing and of course amazing acting. I rate it 7.5 out of 10.


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