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Burn After Reading
6 reviews

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Movie Details

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Directed By
Ethan Coen, Joel Coen

Written By:
Ethan Coen, Joel Coen

Brad Pitt, George Clooney, John Malkovich, Tilda Swinton, Richard Jenkins, Frances McDormand, J.K. Simmons, Kevin Sussman, David Rasche, David Huddleston, Lenny Venito, Logan Kulick, Tim Miller, Kimberly Dorsey, Patrick Michael Strange, Matt Gulbranson, Scot Cregan, Devin Rumer, Matt Walton, Hamilton Willis, Bill Massof, Eric Richardson, Hamilton Willis

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Burn After Reading (2008)
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Movie Review by Chris
January 1st, 2009

Joel and Ethan Coen have really invented some great films. Fargo, Miller's Crossing, The Big Lebowski and No Country For Old Men are some of their most stand out films. Their latest film 'Burn After Reading' is not as good as those films listed, but it was still really good. It's a mix of mystery and black comedy, lead by an amazing cast featuring George Clooney, Brad Pitt and Frances McDormand. At times it felt as if maybe the movie was a little dragged on and sometimes writer/directors Joel and Ethan ran out of steam. All in all though there was enough comedy, enough back stabbing and enough plot twists for me to enjoy it. I liked it a lot and I may have to watch it a few more times to understand the plot a little bit more. I wish it was up there as good as No Country for Old Men but its acceptable enough.

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 of Osbourne's musings 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. They try to sell the disc back to Osbourne, who has a short fuse, 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.

With all of the Coen's films, their all backed up by an extremely impressive cast. Let's start off with George Clooney, who recently has been backing himself up as a director, starring in most of the films he directs. Leatherheads and Good Night and Good Luck are two movies that got him noticed as a director. He plays as Harry Pfarrer, a man who's job has him carrying a weapon but has never discharged it once in 20 years of work. All of the characters in 'Burn After Reading' are goofy in one way or another, Harry is a strange man who browses the internet for singles, takes them out on nice dates and ends the night with sex. He also creates a sex toy using some supplies from a local hardware store. George has always been a great actor and I like him more in these goofy roles like he played in O' Brother Where Art Thou. He's hilarious and certainly worth watching in this role.

Brad Pitt really stands out in 'Burn After Readin', more then I thought he would. I really liked him in the Ocean films and certainly in The Curious Case of Benjamin Button. He plays Chad Feldheimer, a goofy off the wall fitness instructor who isnt exactly the smartest person in the world. Brad does an amazing job though and gets most of the goofiness down. I didnt exactly like the way his character left the plot, even though it was funny as hell, but I liked Chad because he seemed to make everything comedic and built up more humor within the plot. Frances McDormand plays a strange role as Linda Litzke, an older woman who browses the internet for single men so she doesnt have to live lonely for the rest of her life. She's getting four different procedures done to her body in which makes her look skinnier and younger. Frances does an amazing job and though a lot of her dialogue scenes become a little angry or emotional, she was funny and nailed the role in the correct manner.

Most of Coen's films in which they direct, they also write, theyre two very smart and funny people who know what theyre doing when it comes to being behind the camera. Their previous film No Country For Old Men was loved by critics and it's one of my favorite movies of all time. With 'Burn After Reading', there's less violence and more drama when it comes to the characters and situations they put themselves in. Many, including Zara, found the film to be extremely confusing and hard to understand. If you pay close attention youll figure it out, its very complicated and thrown away, but most of the dialogue scenes are what you have to pay close attention to in order to understand it all. The dialoge at times seems very emotional, as characters become disconnected and connected back to each other, especially with people theyre close to like a friend or a wife. Though the film is comedic and takes a mystery approach, there is a lot of emotion that runs through it all.

'Burn After Reading' is an entertaining and solid blockbuster film, though it seems a little lacking for the Coen brothers, I loved it. I definitely reccomend it.

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