Burn After Reading

Burn After Reading

DVD - 2008
Average Rating:
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Osbourne Cox is a CIA analyst who quits his job after being demoted. He decides to write a memoir about his life in the CIA. His wife, Katie, wants a divorce and, based on the advice of her divorce lawyer, she downloads many of his personal and financial files onto a disc. Katie's lover is Treasury agent Harry Pfarrer. The disc eventually finds its way to Hardbodies, a workout gym. An employee of the gym, Chad Feldheimer obtains the disc and ascertains that it contains classified government information. Along with his fellow employee, Linda Litzke, he intends to use the disc to blackmail Osbourne. When blackmailing him fails, Linda decides to take the information to the Russian embassy. At the embassy, she hands the disc over to the Russians, promising that she will give them more information. Linda and Chad don't have any more information, so they decide to break into Cox's house. This brings about a series of events that no one foresees.
Publisher: Universal City, CA : Universal Studios Home Entertainment, [2008], ©2008
Edition: Widescreen version
Branch Call Number: 7.914 Bu
Description: 1 videodisc (96 min.) : sound, color ; 4 3/4 in
Audience: MPAA rating: R; for pervasive language, some sexual content and violence

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t
ThomasJWhiting
Oct 09, 2017

VERY GOOD Coen Bros. 2008 black comedy - terrific acting by everyone in an at times bit slack plot, but overall quite enjoyable.

c
chriscoleman
Oct 15, 2016

This is a Coen brothers film along the lines of Fargo. Two airhead personal trainers find a CIA analyst's personal memoirs on the floor of the locker room and, believing it to be state secrets, they try selling the memoir to the Russians to fund their plastic surgery. Like Fargo, almost everyone in this film is so stupid you wonder how they manage to breathe.

t
TrafficChopper
Sep 01, 2016

I wish that this was a TV series like GET SMART so that I could watch episode 2 next week.

g
gmcw
Aug 25, 2016

I was singularly unimpressed by this film. While by the Coen Brothers, it does not reach the standard of "Fargo". While humorous in parts, it just didn't gel for me. The acting was excellent, but I felt the actors were wasted in this film. The plot seemed labored and overdone.

j
Jayroc
Apr 02, 2016

Cohen brothers -- you just never know what is going to happen! I saw it in theaters and one particular violent scene shocked me. Still brilliant, funny and dark.

j
jimg2000
Mar 09, 2016

Not sure why my ratings/comments/quotes all disappeared on this entertaining farce. Other than the memorable comic script, two scenes come to mind: Brad Pitts as a self absorbed dim-wit and Clooney's grabbing for his "back pillow" after row with Swinton.

f
fdb045
Nov 11, 2015

Burn After Reading !?!?! Literally should have been burnt after watching ... or better yet - burn before watching.

n
Nursebob
Dec 05, 2014

Like a dummied down version of Dr. Strangelove aimed at the YouTube crowd, Ethan and Joel Coen’s screwball satire strives to take the “I” out of C.I.A. while proving yet again that proper style can triumph over a lack of substance. When disgruntled ex-CIA analyst Osborne Cox (John Malkovich, delightfully unbalanced) decides to record his memoirs for a future book he sets in motion a deadly comedy of errors and mistaken identities after a copy of his unfinished work accidentally falls into the hands of a pair of inept personal trainers. Believing they have stumbled upon a cache of volatile government secrets Linda Litzke (Frances McDormand proving she’s still got it) and Chad Feldheimer (Brad Pitt, ditto) quickly give up on the notion of simply returning the incriminating CD and instead decide to sell it to the highest bidder—Linda, a forty-something lonely heart, needs the money to “reinvent” herself through cosmetic surgery while Chad, who obviously rode the short bus to school, just likes playing spy vs. spy. Meanwhile Osborne’s emasculating harpy of a wife (I love Tilda Swinton!) is having an affair with slutty federal agent Harry Pfarrer (a salacious George Clooney) who’s convinced he’s being shadowed by the government which causes him to suspect everyone around him including Linda whom he’s just met through a personal ad while his wife is away secretly contemplating divorce…. And all the while Osborne is getting crazier, Linda’s boss is bent on wooing her, the Russians are mildly interested, and the CIA is walking into doors. In the end everyone involved is either screwing someone else or being screwed themselves, often simultaneously. It’s a madcap mess to be sure, and the separate strands don’t add up to a whole lot despite its tepid Cold War echoes and a few unexpected shocks. Taken as a farce however the laughs come easily, the A-listers provide a host of endearingly idiotic caricatures, and a non-stop barrage of F-bombs spice up a decidedly deadpan script. And even though the all too obvious nods to Kubrick are mostly wasted, they do provide a visual flair which compliments the film’s overall frenetic pace. But the final laugh, which perfectly sums up the preceding ninety minutes, comes from a stone-faced CIA superior who, upon trying to make sense of the conflicting reports crossing his desk, wonders aloud how people could be so damn stupid.

d
drbizzaro
Sep 11, 2014

What a treat! Yes this is a team Gregg movie, a popcorn classic and a bizzaro recommendation with 4 stars.

KateHillier Nov 28, 2013

A comedy of errors if there ever was one. Everyone shines in this nonsensical film that is guaranteed to make you laugh as well as wonder if this "league of morons" is more true than you think.

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Notices

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g
gvlee
Jan 11, 2012

Coarse Language: Lots and lots of gratuitous cursing.

b
bdls206
Sep 04, 2011

Violence: This title contains Violence.

b
bdls206
Sep 04, 2011

Coarse Language: This title contains Coarse Language.

b
bdls206
Sep 04, 2011

Sexual Content: This title contains Sexual Content.

c
Cthulhu
Jul 01, 2010

Coarse Language: Around one hundred profanities.

c
Cthulhu
Jul 01, 2010

Violence: Some violence and blood.

t
tegan
Jun 12, 2009

Coarse Language: This title contains Coarse Language.

Quotes

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d
DavidB
Apr 01, 2012

CIA Superior: What did we learn, Palmer?
CIA Officer: I don't know, sir.
CIA Superior: I don't f---in' know either. I guess we learned not to do it again.

b
bdls206
Sep 04, 2011

Osbourne Cox: If you ever carried out your proposed threat you would experience such a s**t storm of consequences my friend your empty little head would be spinning faster than the wheels of your Schwinn bicycle back there.
Chad Feldheimer: Y-you think that's a Schwinn?

b
bdls206
Sep 04, 2011

Harry Pfarrer: Go around the corner, we'll do it in the back.
Katie Cox: You're so coarse.
Harry Pfarrer: Back of the car... not the... rear-entry situation...

b
bdls206
Sep 04, 2011

Osbourne Cox: Some clown, or two clowns, have gotten a hold of my memoirs.
Katie Cox: Your what?
Osbourne Cox: Stolen it, or I don't know...
Katie Cox: Your what?
Osbourne Cox: My memoirs, the book I'm writing.
Katie Cox: Well why in God's name would anyone think that's worth anything?

Age

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b
bdls206
Sep 04, 2011

bdls206 thinks this title is suitable for 17 years and over

c
Cthulhu
Jul 01, 2010

Cthulhu thinks this title is suitable for 15 years and over

Summary

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b
bdls206
Sep 04, 2011

A disk containing the memoirs of a CIA agent ends up in the hands of two unscrupulous gym employees who attempt to sell it.

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