Burn After Reading

Out Now On-Demand

Hot on the heels of their Oscar-winning No Country For Old Men, the illustrious Coen brothers head back into the black comedy/caper territory.

Ozzie Cox (John Malkovich) is a former CIA agent whose ex-wife (Tilda Swinton) steals a disc containing his volatile memoirs and accidentally leaves it at the gym where it is found by two trainers (a knuckleheaded Brad Pitt and Coen regular Frances McDormand) who believe they can use the info to blackmail Cox. George Clooney plays a needy ex-U.S. Marshall who gets tangled up in the mess - he's dating both Frances McDormand and Tilda Swinton.

This is the first Coen Brothers film not photographed by Roger Deakins since Barton Fink (1991). Emmanuel Lubezki (Children of Men, The New World) takes over.

flicks

Burn After Reading is ridiculous and funny. A fantastic combo.

There will be detractors, mark my words. Those people who think the Coen brothers' films are too cynical and have unlikable characters won't change their minds with this: these characters are despicable. And to that I say: good. Great. They're funny. If you can't see Brad Pitt's idiocy (he plays a knucklehead) or Frances McDormand's vanity (she's a middle-aged player) in yourself and the joker next to you, than you're either too precious or a better person than I. It makes us laugh at how silly we all are.

It's like watching two people having a fight over something mundane. The first guy jimmie-jammies this way and that way, and then distracts the second guy by waving one hand. The second guy, turning to the hand and his concentration diverted, receives a firm slap to the head. And you laugh, and you like seeing this. Some people just don't like seeing that.

The Coen brothers's talent is a very underrated one - the ability to make things interesting. Burn After Reading is a beat ahead of the audience and is always unpredictable, the details and character oddities are stacked. This is why their films, even their not so good ones, are intriguing and it's why you can watch them over and over (often seeming to improve the second time).

Plus it's put together with precision, and not a moment of your time is wasted. Washington DC looks all washed out and alabaster, pleasingly contrasted with some pretty dark elements. Seamless shot and sound design is on show during the set pieces.

This is a caper-like film, similar in step to Raising Arizona and Intolerable Cruelty. At times it's a bit spoof-y. So the actors overplay it, which I found initially hard to get into. I've always struggled with marquee actors in these films too, they distract me. George Clooney and Brad Pitt both deliver at times hilarious, out of the box performances which are fun to watch, but neither slink into place as much as Frances McDormand, Tilda Swinton or the awesome John Malkovich (a genius man).

This isn't The Big Lebowski or Miller's Crossing, but a not so sharp Coen is far sharper than most. Loved it, and it lingers too.

Chicago Sun-Times (Roger Ebert)

press

The characters are zany, the plot coils upon itself with dizzy zeal, and the roles seem like a perfect fit for the actors -- yes, even Brad Pitt, as Chad, a gum-chewing, fuzzy-headed physical fitness instructor. I've always thought of him as a fine actor, but here he reveals a dimension that, shall I say, we haven't seen before.

Empire [UK]

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If "No Country For Old Men" was vintage port, Burn After Reading is a shot of tequila: eye watering and hard to swallow, but the after-effect is terrific.

Hollywood Reporter

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Joel and Ethan Coen clearly are in a prankish mood, knocking out a minor piece of silliness with all the trappings of an A-list studio movie.

Los Angeles Times

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Because it's a Coen brothers film before it's anything else, this is about as dark and nihilistic as comedies are allowed to get before the laughter dies bitterly on your lips.

NZ Herald [Peter Calder]

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Black comedy's farce elements are overwhelmed by the absence of a single likeable character.

Rolling Stone [USA]

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It would be no country for movie lovers without the Coens. They still manage to run unmuzzled while the rest of Hollywood runs scared.

Variety [USA]

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Nothing about the project's execution inspires the feeling that this was ever intended as anything more than a lark, which would be fine if it were a good one. As it is, audience teeth-grinding sets in early and never lets up.

A shame that people had to die for it - nothing!.

user


A shame that people had to die for it - nothing!.

It got 5 stars from me just for one terrific 1second long scene that really marked the second half of the movie. The movie really gets going about then but fails to maintain momentum before petering off towards the end. But then that may be essential to the theme of the movie: something ultimately unimportant becomes everyone's focus without anyone knowing what is going on while the negligible value of the thing returns it to the obscurity it deserves.

Bonux

Bonux

user


Disappointing

Malkovich, McDormand, Pitt and Cloney are great in those very unusual roles, all the more frustrating since there is not much of a script really. Nothing new to be excited about. Apart from a few individual sparks I was bored watching it. The Big Lebowski was fantastic, O Brother Where Art Thou? was different (which is always good) but Burn After Reading... was a trailer wasn't it?

Brilliant

user


Brilliant

A superb mix of comedy, drama and acting form Clooney you dont often see. I loved it

Seek Refund After Viewing

user


Seek Refund After Viewing

or better, don't waste your money in the first place...

Awesome movie...

user


Awesome movie...

Great film. Fast paced, fantastic acting, and easy to understand and well written dialogue. OK not a life changing experiance, but well worth the price of admission and a great way to spend a couple of hours. I went with a group and we all loved it. Brad Pitt is excellent in a minor role.

Should've burnt my tickets after reading

user


Should've burnt my tickets after reading

We expected so much more.. Clearly you either have to be in the right mood or need a certain taste in humour when you watch this movie. This one failed to get me going, or my three friends, should've taken our 100 bux to the bar. Painful.

Don't go

user


Don't go

I would have given this no stars WORST MOVIE THIS YEAR

AWESOME

user


AWESOME

Both Brad Pitt's & George Clonney's characterS are hillarious- A chance to see them as never before! Great supporting cast. Kept the whole cinema laughing!

Ignore the critics, see it

user


Ignore the critics, see it

I'd like to express my disgust at local film reviews, in regards to this film (with the exception of Flicks). Every damn reviewer says the same thing - that Burn After Reading isn't good because of unlikeable characters. What a lazy point of view for a film critic!? Haven't these people heard of villains? Why is it necessary to LIKE characters anyway? I might think a character is a nice guy in a movie, but if the movie is boring than that movie sucks.

This is laugh out loud hilarious - cynical, fresh, quick witted, smart, see it!


George Clooney is a complete

idiot in this film. Brad Pitt is the same. Saw it with my dad, who's 77, and we both laughed out loud. He said it is as good but obviously funnier than Fargo. This is a perfectly poised American comedy: short, sharp and clear.