Burn After Reading

User Score
6.6

Generally favorable reviews- based on 334 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Negative: 59 out of 334
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  1. Apr 24, 2015
    8
    Burn After Reading is another great Cohen brothers movie. It has a slow burn feel to it, with a lot of the fun coming in after repeat viewings. The devil is in the small random details that truly bring on the chuckles. George Clooney's obsession with peoples wood flooring, the way that Mr. Crapokin is always referred to as Mr. Crapkin or the repeated use of the words Tuckman-MarshBurn After Reading is another great Cohen brothers movie. It has a slow burn feel to it, with a lot of the fun coming in after repeat viewings. The devil is in the small random details that truly bring on the chuckles. George Clooney's obsession with peoples wood flooring, the way that Mr. Crapokin is always referred to as Mr. Crapkin or the repeated use of the words Tuckman-Marsh certainly stick in the mind. Burn After Reading is just great stuff all round. Expand
  2. Aug 27, 2014
    8
    Don't look over this one, it's actually the Coens Brothers strongest comedy to date. Burn After Reading is quick-witted and smart. You'll have as much fun as Brad Pitt, Frances McDormand and George Clooney are having.
  3. Jul 26, 2014
    8
    I am usually not a huge fan of the Coen Brothers, but this one was really good. First off, the comedy is on point as this one, in particular Brad Pitt's character, is entirely hilarious. Typically, I do not love their brand of comedy, as I thought Raising Arizona and O, Brother Where Art Thou were ok to pretty good films, but not very funny and I did not enjoy The Big Lebowski. However,I am usually not a huge fan of the Coen Brothers, but this one was really good. First off, the comedy is on point as this one, in particular Brad Pitt's character, is entirely hilarious. Typically, I do not love their brand of comedy, as I thought Raising Arizona and O, Brother Where Art Thou were ok to pretty good films, but not very funny and I did not enjoy The Big Lebowski. However, this one is totally different and takes the best of their past films (in particular, this one feels similar to Fargo, though funnier) and puts it together with some great laughs. As is typical, the writing is great and the direction here is very good. the acting is also good, especially from Pitt, Frances McDormand, and George Clooney. Malkovich and Tilda Swinton are also solid. In addition, the plot is really fun. It is crazy and hectic, but is a ton of fun to watch unfold and really makes for an enjoyable viewing experience. Overall, this one may not be the Coen Brothers' most acclaimed films, but it is certainly a very good film with a ton of laughs and is a worthy entry into their filmography. Expand
  4. Jul 23, 2014
    8
    Burn After Reading is one of the Coen Brothers' most underrated work, who better to gives us a great deadpan/dark comedy than the Coens. The film has very funny jokes in a very specific way. The Cast Is Just Great
  5. chw
    Jul 18, 2014
    6
    Burn After Reading was disappointing because it's a film by Joel Coen and Ethan Coen, and every film of theirs was good, but this one was just weird and I would say it ended too quickly.
  6. Dec 31, 2013
    7
    Burn after reading blazes....
    The plot is crafted with immense precision surrounded by amusing characters and incredible acting performances, a great film from the Cohen brothers.
  7. Dec 24, 2013
    8
    The Dynamics Of The Average Human Motivation Are Revealed and the construction of suburbia is the space of such motors. The social carpet unfolds black and popish resembling a report for those that watch from the sky
  8. Aug 1, 2013
    9
    Me reí mucho con esta película; una dirección magnifica de los hermanos que siempre lo dejan boqui-abierto con sus producciones. Altamente recomendada.
  9. Jul 28, 2013
    4
    you know how when a normal movie ends and you're like "ok, that was ok" while nodding your head.
    and when a great movie ends you're like HOLY waw, that was fantastic
    but when burn after reading ends, i'm like "WHAT, THAT'S IT 1:35 MINUTES, did i download the full movie or something went wrong?" so yeah 1 hour 35 minutes are too short to figure out these 5 characters, and yeah the
    you know how when a normal movie ends and you're like "ok, that was ok" while nodding your head.
    and when a great movie ends you're like HOLY waw, that was fantastic
    but when burn after reading ends, i'm like "WHAT, THAT'S IT 1:35 MINUTES, did i download the full movie or something went wrong?"
    so yeah 1 hour 35 minutes are too short to figure out these 5 characters, and yeah the performances were great,
    but one does not simply enjoy an unfinished movie with terrible ending.
    Expand
  10. Feb 7, 2013
    6
    Right up until the end I wasn't exactly sure what I was looking at. Burn After Readinge alternated between being a drama, a comedy and a spy-thriller. It started out as an incoherent mess and if it wasn't for the closing narrative it would have ended us as such. Still, inbetween it gave quite a few good moments as it tried to portray an "every day" account of people's lives becomingRight up until the end I wasn't exactly sure what I was looking at. Burn After Readinge alternated between being a drama, a comedy and a spy-thriller. It started out as an incoherent mess and if it wasn't for the closing narrative it would have ended us as such. Still, inbetween it gave quite a few good moments as it tried to portray an "every day" account of people's lives becoming intertwined. The characters were slightly one-dimensional but this did also allow for some eccentrics that would otherwise feel out of place. All in all an entertaining movie but don't expect anything award winning. Expand
  11. Feb 4, 2013
    10
    It's deadpan comedy at its best, and who better to deliver it than Joel and Ethan Cohen, along with Brad Pitt, George Clooney, Frances McDormand and the fantastic John Malkovich.
    When a disc containing some of the CIAs most revealing secrets goes missing, it ends up in the gym of the most bumbling, simple minded individuals, who attempt blackmail but get in too far over their heads.
    Its
    It's deadpan comedy at its best, and who better to deliver it than Joel and Ethan Cohen, along with Brad Pitt, George Clooney, Frances McDormand and the fantastic John Malkovich.
    When a disc containing some of the CIAs most revealing secrets goes missing, it ends up in the gym of the most bumbling, simple minded individuals, who attempt blackmail but get in too far over their heads.
    Its an approach at showing just how overreacting individuals can be, but also just how bland or too seriously many Hollywood movies take themselves surrounding this incident, basically a parody.
    Its a very well written dark comedy with brilliant performances, particularly Brad Pitt as an extremely camp gym worker, and retied CIA analyst John Malkovich.
    It has this large ensemble cast that go to extreme length to mock and amaze through sheer stupidity, all for our amusement, and they certainly do not fail.
    Expand
  12. Sep 11, 2012
    9
    Again a masterpiece by the Coen brothers. More bizarre than ever before and starring fantastic actors (every single one of them plays great!) and has a brilliant screenplay. A comedy film like it was meant to be. Everything's really good here, except some over-acting by McDormand and Pitt here and there.
  13. Jul 30, 2012
    8
    Not quite at the level of films like Big Lebowski in terms on Coen Brothers comedies, but still a really fun movie with some really good actors acting like true idiots and having a blast in the process. Brad Pitt is a high point, but the show stealer for me was JK Simmons as the perpetually befuddled CIA superior attempting to follow all the ridiculousness.
  14. Jun 10, 2012
    10
    I loved the castI loved the cast . Expand
  15. Apr 21, 2012
    9
    i thought the film was very intelligent. the jokes are very smart, in a way hard to explain. the characters feel really natural. it is a movie that shows skill on the filmmakers' behalf. if it feels naturally good, it's a good film.
  16. Mar 18, 2012
    4
    Frances McDormand and George Clooney lead this somewhat confusing and at times startlingly violent film about what happens when two people that put money (or possible larger breasts) over their safety. When two gym workers find a CD containing sensitive CIA information, they embark on a dangerous quest to receive their reward for being 'good samaritans'. Despite the label comedy, it is notFrances McDormand and George Clooney lead this somewhat confusing and at times startlingly violent film about what happens when two people that put money (or possible larger breasts) over their safety. When two gym workers find a CD containing sensitive CIA information, they embark on a dangerous quest to receive their reward for being 'good samaritans'. Despite the label comedy, it is not a terribly funny movie, as the jokes are few and far between. It isn't worth the hype, however, if you like crime drama kinda stuff, you should at least try it. Expand
  17. Feb 7, 2012
    5
    Il était presque difficile de croire que les frères Coen nous livre une comédie après le sublime No Country For Old Men. Encore plus étonnant, que ce nouveau film n'ait pas le caractère mordant propre aux réalisateurs. Enfin, si... si l'on décortique à fond cetteIl était presque difficile de croire que les frères Coen nous livre une comédie après le sublime No Country For Old Men. Encore plus étonnant, que ce nouveau film n'ait pas le caractère mordant propre aux réalisateurs. Enfin, si... si l'on décortique à fond cette comédie. Mais il faut bien l'avouer : ce qui ne sont pas habitués à ce genre d'univers ne peuvent pas entièrement accrocher à ce genre d'humour, prenant l'ensemble pour un simple film quelque peu monotone. Mais il faut bien reconnaître que la plupart des quiproquos se montrent jouissifs et que les comédiens se laissent aller (Brad Pitt, exceptionnel!). Bref, une sympathique farce noir qui manque tout de même de mordant. Expand
  18. ALF
    Sep 25, 2011
    0
    A film that is proof positive that if film critics like it, it has to be bad. This film goes back to the time when US comedy did not travel. Actually from brain to mouth is usually to far for most alleged comedy. Frances McDormand great actress but in this I could have quite cheerfully beaten her to death as I found her incredibly irritating all the way through. Brad Pitt. Terrible. As toA film that is proof positive that if film critics like it, it has to be bad. This film goes back to the time when US comedy did not travel. Actually from brain to mouth is usually to far for most alleged comedy. Frances McDormand great actress but in this I could have quite cheerfully beaten her to death as I found her incredibly irritating all the way through. Brad Pitt. Terrible. As to George Clooney. This actor has only made two decent films that I can recall, The Peacemaker and One Fine Day. He was so so in Three Kings, appalling in the dismal US version of Solaris and this was not much better. If you want to see a good spy spoof then watch the infinitely better "Red" with Bruce Willis. This film should be renamed Burn Before Viewing. But as I said it should be thanked for proving how abysmal the film critics are. To those that liked it, I presume they were doing another sale at Lobotomies 'R us! Expand
  19. Sep 7, 2011
    5
    This is the epitome of mediocre movies. After watching it I seriously could not decide if I liked it or not. The acting is great. It has some funny moments. There are some small twists that I seriously did not see coming. But the story is lackluster, as are most of the characters. While the plot is resolved at the end, you're kind of left feeling like the entire movie was a waste of time.
  20. Jul 1, 2011
    8
    Oh the Coen Brothers. They never fail to amaze me. With every single film they release they capture something that lures you into the type of film. In No Country For Old Men what the Coen Brothers captured in that film was Anton's behaviour and generated it into something only they can do. Same with Fargo but it wasn't the villain who was blessed by the Coens. It was the protagonist. InOh the Coen Brothers. They never fail to amaze me. With every single film they release they capture something that lures you into the type of film. In No Country For Old Men what the Coen Brothers captured in that film was Anton's behaviour and generated it into something only they can do. Same with Fargo but it wasn't the villain who was blessed by the Coens. It was the protagonist. In this film it's the whole entire cast. And that's why so many people don't understand this film. Most of you probably think this film is just about stupid people who do stupid things. Well you're all right about that but this film is much more than that. It's about the whole world. It's about how the whole world is going to become stupid as time goes by and how very small things nowadays can lead to ginormous catastrophes. There's always the news as an example. People going to war and killing each other. Then there's things you don't hear on the news but things you experience in every day life. Like modern high schools for example. The students are becoming dumber and dumber and deliberately not paying any attention to the teachers whatsoever just to act hard and cool in front of their mates. So where I'm coming from? So that's all I really need to explain. Now here are my opinions on the movie. It has a good and solid cast. Brad Pitt and George Clooney were amazing. The others were good too. And I also like the way this film is a Black Comedy. I love Black Comedies. The humour in them is unusual. And that's what I like about them. The story was good too but it was challenging during some parts. I don't really have any criticisms for this movie so I'm just going to give it a 8/10 for it's good humour and it's memorable characters. The bad thing is that it's a little bit too long but it doesn't over do it. I hope you liked my review! Expand
  21. May 2, 2011
    7
    Initially, you're trying to guess "What's going on here", but as the film progresses, you will start to get the point, and from that moment, you'll be smiling till the end.
  22. Dec 26, 2010
    6
    I enjoyed Burn After Reading for it's unconventional plot and hilarious performance from Brad Pitt. So many stupid people played by a cast of awesomeness. But this movie was missing quite a few things. It didn't really have a great impact and I think I know why. The Coens found great success with their Best Picture winner No Country For Old Men and tried to re-create that success, and whoI enjoyed Burn After Reading for it's unconventional plot and hilarious performance from Brad Pitt. So many stupid people played by a cast of awesomeness. But this movie was missing quite a few things. It didn't really have a great impact and I think I know why. The Coens found great success with their Best Picture winner No Country For Old Men and tried to re-create that success, and who wouldn't? They created some form of success, but this movie fell short of being memorable. The performances of the stupid people in Washington felt a bit overplayed at times and some of the jokes we admit are funny, but not very. Still, Pitt's acting shines in this one, so I'll say that this movie is okay in my book. Expand
  23. Dec 15, 2010
    9
    I find metacritic users to be so fickle in their tastes. This movie is so enjoyable, and it has tons of repeat value. The cast is in top form, particularly Brad Pitt. So much better than the lackluster rating it's got on here.
  24. Aug 24, 2010
    6
    Man loses job at the CIA, writes memoirs, wife is having an affair then wants a divorce, couple of dimwits find the memoirs on a disc, try to sell it to the Russians as Top Secret intelligence.
    Coen brothers do farce. Cast are fine & there are some clever bits in it but took a while to get going.
    Ending does seem a bit rushed too.
  25. Aug 16, 2010
    8
    "Burn After Reading" is all about stupidity and pointlessness, as we find out near the end of the film. Its characters are all idiots and rather stupid, and their moronic ways cross each other into violence, sex, and mishappenings throughout this strange **** that the Coen brothers. I will say that it never ceases to be funny or interesting, and that Malkovich is hilarious as the CIA"Burn After Reading" is all about stupidity and pointlessness, as we find out near the end of the film. Its characters are all idiots and rather stupid, and their moronic ways cross each other into violence, sex, and mishappenings throughout this strange **** that the Coen brothers. I will say that it never ceases to be funny or interesting, and that Malkovich is hilarious as the CIA operative with a wild temper and a very dirty mouth. Expand
  26. jaquemiorf
    Aug 29, 2009
    0
    The funniest thing about this is the idiots who think THEY'RE the smart ones cos they understand a movie that doesn't make sense. "o look, there's a bird over there. I'll pretend it's a purple elephant and laugh at other people and call them stupid when they say it's a bird". john E is a d*ckhead.
  27. MikeH
    Aug 29, 2009
    0
    people giving "burn after reading" any score above zero are reading too much into the movie. you could give them a blank piece of paper and it would keep them entertained for hours, as they would find some 'hidden meaning' within it. they probably saw movie critics' ratings for "no country for old men" and thought that by giving a high rating to the coen brothers' next people giving "burn after reading" any score above zero are reading too much into the movie. you could give them a blank piece of paper and it would keep them entertained for hours, as they would find some 'hidden meaning' within it. they probably saw movie critics' ratings for "no country for old men" and thought that by giving a high rating to the coen brothers' next nonsensical movie they would appear 'smart' in movie critics' eyes. i watched this entire movie, constantly expecting something interesting to happen. it didn't. dreadful! Expand
  28. ArtG.
    Aug 18, 2009
    2
    If you saw the trailer and thought it looked like a really funny movie like I did be warned it's not. Disturbing is the kindest way to discribe it. In the future if its by the Coens I ain't goin'.
  29. AlanG
    Aug 4, 2009
    9
    Absolutely hysterical. Saw it on the movie channel. I'd never even heard of the movie before. My wife and I were howling throughout the movie. The cast was superb. Frances McDormand plays screwball better than anyone. Malkovich, Clooney, Pitt and the rest of the cast hit their marks ever time.Satire, black humour, screwball comedy. The writing was crisp and very very funny. Though my Absolutely hysterical. Saw it on the movie channel. I'd never even heard of the movie before. My wife and I were howling throughout the movie. The cast was superb. Frances McDormand plays screwball better than anyone. Malkovich, Clooney, Pitt and the rest of the cast hit their marks ever time.Satire, black humour, screwball comedy. The writing was crisp and very very funny. Though my wife disagrees, I liked it better than Fargo. Expand
  30. ChristianV
    May 8, 2009
    10
    Love it! Gets funnier with each viewing!
  31. AnnG.
    Mar 12, 2009
    4
    'Some great actors in a less than great movie. Brad Pitt was the most amusing and I am not a Pitt fan. I wish there were better scripts for such talented actors.
  32. ShannonH.
    Mar 6, 2009
    10
    Awesome dark comedy.
  33. FranciscoP.
    Mar 4, 2009
    7
    The Coen's usually characterize their films using dramatic breakups to their stories. In this film that breakup is more than ever unexpected: simple characters transforming into witnesses of their own mistakes... the story becomes more dense nevertheless always more atractive. In this zoo of characters, some reality between too much freakness may be necessary... That's an issue The Coen's usually characterize their films using dramatic breakups to their stories. In this film that breakup is more than ever unexpected: simple characters transforming into witnesses of their own mistakes... the story becomes more dense nevertheless always more atractive. In this zoo of characters, some reality between too much freakness may be necessary... That's an issue that the Coen's definetely got to improve in ther stories... obviously instead of No country for old man. Expand
  34. CraigR.
    Mar 2, 2009
    3
    Truly dismal. A fim about nothing. It's like they got 3/4 of the way through and gave up any hopes of a story.
  35. NicholasC.
    Feb 27, 2009
    1
    The biggest load of rubbish I've seen in years. It may have elicited a vague empathetic twitch at the corner of my mouth occasionally, but I think the weather forecast would have been more humorous by a country mile!
  36. johnE.
    Feb 19, 2009
    10
    loved every second of it. If you didn't like it its probably because you are too dumb to get it.
  37. TroelsS.
    Feb 8, 2009
    9
    I do not understand how soe people can get completely lost in this story. It's quite simple actually, but in a complicated way. It's an intriguing movie about how the smallest things can affect some of the largest things. It's crazy, it's hectic, it's insane and it's genius! Once again the Coen brothers manage to make a movie, where you have to sit for a I do not understand how soe people can get completely lost in this story. It's quite simple actually, but in a complicated way. It's an intriguing movie about how the smallest things can affect some of the largest things. It's crazy, it's hectic, it's insane and it's genius! Once again the Coen brothers manage to make a movie, where you have to sit for a while and just stare. Brilliant! Expand
  38. FranceL.
    Feb 3, 2009
    10
    Satire has never been more fun, and Pitt never better than in this zany comic thriller. Bumbling CIA bureaucrats, DC officials full of themselves, divorce attorneys, the institution of marriage, online dating services, cosmetic surgeons, HMO's, a pediatrician from hell...nothing is spared in this very clever and very entertaining movie. A good time was had by all, including this viewer.
  39. TonyB.
    Jan 27, 2009
    2
    The Coen brothers, far too overrated for far too long, hit rock bottom with this tripe. The only positive component here is a fine performance by Brad Pitt. George Clooney is a bore, John Malkovich is playing vintage John Malkovich, and Frances McDormand and Tilda Swinton have seen better days.
  40. kendraS
    Jan 27, 2009
    3
    At the end it left me puzzled...what just happened?
  41. JaneA
    Jan 25, 2009
    9
    The product of a brilliant and well-respected cast and a pair of ingenius directors. This movie was filled with a mature, dark humor that still invoked a laugh-out-loud response and is one of the few movies I deem worthy of also purchasing when out on DVD.
  42. RexC.
    Jan 24, 2009
    0
    I guess I'm not sophisticated enough to get or laugh with it. I can't imagine a worse movie.
  43. KimA
    Jan 22, 2009
    3
    This movie was a big disappointment. If it had not been for Brad Pitt the movie would have been a total bomb. He was the only funny part of the movie. Figured from the previews and the cast it would be great, but no. A real disappointment!
  44. MattA
    Jan 18, 2009
    7
    Deliciously dark, and entertaining. Great performances by all of the leads and supporting characters. Burn After Reading, is not your typical movie. As complex as the story may seem, it really... really isn't. The only thing that makes it complicated is the fact that a bunch of egomaniac idiots can't seem to grasp the big picture. The only one who seems to be level headed is the Deliciously dark, and entertaining. Great performances by all of the leads and supporting characters. Burn After Reading, is not your typical movie. As complex as the story may seem, it really... really isn't. The only thing that makes it complicated is the fact that a bunch of egomaniac idiots can't seem to grasp the big picture. The only one who seems to be level headed is the chief of the CIA. The movie is funny, not on the rolling on the floor kind of way, but in the "oh my god, what the hell were they thinking. They're idiots" sort of way. I can easily see how this is not right for everyone. But to me, i enjoyed myself. Expand
  45. jeremyashlyn
    Jan 17, 2009
    10
    A punchy little pulp film. funny and cute.
  46. TinaR
    Jan 12, 2009
    4
    With such a great cast, I thought this movie couldn't be bad, but BOY IT WAS BAD. I can only give it a 4 because Brad Pitt did a very good job and it was the only good thing about this movie. Despite that, It was very boring.
  47. EmmaS.
    Jan 10, 2009
    9
    Haha are you kidding me that movie was hilarious!
  48. Mr.L.
    Jan 9, 2009
    9
    This movie is hilarious. If you enjoyed The Big Lebowski, Raising Arizona and Fargo, you will love this movie. As a sidebar... although I didn't keep count, I'm pretty sure John Malkovich's character says "fuck" more times than any character in Hollywood history.
  49. JohnL.
    Jan 7, 2009
    8
    It's an empty and shocking mess with characters that are almost impossible to like - and I loved every minute of it. The critics who panned this movie simply didn't get the core joke: real people have lives that really are this pointless and mundane. As the final scene of the movie cleverly points out - "What did we learn from all of this? Never to do it again!" Bravo, Coen brothers.
  50. jimi
    Jan 5, 2009
    9
    Confirms what we've known all along: just about everyone in Washington is a lot dumber than they think they are...if only the real ones would get the poetic justice these clowns do!
  51. LinL.
    Jan 4, 2009
    2
    Despite the fantastic cast, this was extraordinarily boring and bereft of laughs. I kept waiting for it to get funny, clever, entertaining . . . never happened.
  52. MajorM.
    Jan 3, 2009
    7
    It is a overall good film with 3 roles that really make the film. Brad Pitt,George Clooney,John Malkovich are the 3 roles that make this movie good. you really forget how good Pitt is until you watch his movies. it was good and worth the time to watch.
  53. christianp.
    Jan 2, 2009
    10
    I'm completely baffled at some of the comments here. One person who gave this movie a score of THREE out of TEN (!?!?!?!) wrote, "I love Coen Brothers movies. This one is a dud...Weird people acting stupid and killing each other...Very, very disappointed." I'm sorry, but if you truly love the films of the Coen brothers, you'd come to expect (and look forward to) "Weird I'm completely baffled at some of the comments here. One person who gave this movie a score of THREE out of TEN (!?!?!?!) wrote, "I love Coen Brothers movies. This one is a dud...Weird people acting stupid and killing each other...Very, very disappointed." I'm sorry, but if you truly love the films of the Coen brothers, you'd come to expect (and look forward to) "Weird people acting stupid and killing each other." Am I wrong?! This film was funny, clever, well written, dark, startling, quirky, odd, and everything else we expect from these filmmakers. Why isn't this rated much much higher?!?!!? Expand
  54. SteveP
    Jan 2, 2009
    8
    I heard one reviewer say that this film is a
  55. JohnH
    Jan 1, 2009
    4
    Starts off ok but just gets stupid. I can't recommend this one.
  56. Camille
    Jan 1, 2009
    3
    I was surprised this movie got all the attention and praise that it did. For a movie advertised as a dark and sophisticated comedy, it failed to deliver. The pointless, meandering plot did nothing to hold it together and I think I laughed once during the entire film. I can see where they were *trying* to go with it, but all in all it was poorly executed, and when the movie was over, I was I was surprised this movie got all the attention and praise that it did. For a movie advertised as a dark and sophisticated comedy, it failed to deliver. The pointless, meandering plot did nothing to hold it together and I think I laughed once during the entire film. I can see where they were *trying* to go with it, but all in all it was poorly executed, and when the movie was over, I was annoyed and disappointed. I was told it was 'funnier' the second time watching it, but I can't think of any reason why I would sit through it again. Expand
  57. SM
    Dec 31, 2008
    9
    Unfortunately most people haven't got the point. Coen brothers and all these amazing actors got together to show us how ridiculously, not only our country, but the whole world is approaching a catastrophe. The more stupid one is, the higher the rank s/he can get in the government/intelligence. Then Idiots make policies and decisions and everyone gets screwed up. Just think about the Unfortunately most people haven't got the point. Coen brothers and all these amazing actors got together to show us how ridiculously, not only our country, but the whole world is approaching a catastrophe. The more stupid one is, the higher the rank s/he can get in the government/intelligence. Then Idiots make policies and decisions and everyone gets screwed up. Just think about the point of this movie again. Coens, Malkovich, Clooney, Pitt, Swinton, .... are all smart people and their time is very expensive, so they spend it on something that is worth watching and thinking about. Expand
  58. DanielaN.
    Dec 30, 2008
    1
    A few funny lines, other than that, thoughtless, pointless, the violence was senseless, the amount of cursing made it seem like the writers were in 7th grade and had just discovered the words shit and fuck. After seeing this, I spent about 40 minutes talking about how bad it was. I felt robbed of my time, and cheated. It was simply AWFUL.
  59. KathyS.
    Dec 30, 2008
    4
    Ho hum. The best part was seeing Brad Pitt smacked in the face.
  60. EricC.
    Dec 28, 2008
    4
    Normally I'm a big defender of the Coen brother's black comedies, but this time... I don't know. Maybe the formula has grown old. How many times can you watch a bunch of wacky characters destroy each other through desperation and coincidence? They've made this movie before, and so have multiple others. The actors dedicate little to the movie. Only Brad Pitt seems to Normally I'm a big defender of the Coen brother's black comedies, but this time... I don't know. Maybe the formula has grown old. How many times can you watch a bunch of wacky characters destroy each other through desperation and coincidence? They've made this movie before, and so have multiple others. The actors dedicate little to the movie. Only Brad Pitt seems to put in effort, but he's only resurrecting previous characters. I wasn't bored while watching, but was disheartened by cheap jokes and cheap thrills. The Coen brothers reached greatness last year, now they sit lazily in meniocrity. It just isn't very good at all. Expand
  61. LuisV
    Dec 28, 2008
    3
    Some how directors believe that if they do some good movie what follows will also be good just like that, this movie seams to be the case.
  62. MichaelKisielewski
    Dec 27, 2008
    1
    What really bothered me here is Malkovich's character and the inane and contuous barking at the screen. While I could have been all for a loopy comedy in the vein of "The Big Lebowski," this fell so short of the potential that was there. Brad Pitt was the sole savior of this film that should have been funnier with the dynamite comdeic cast that they had here. I have come to realizeWhat really bothered me here is Malkovich's character and the inane and contuous barking at the screen. While I could have been all for a loopy comedy in the vein of "The Big Lebowski," this fell so short of the potential that was there. Brad Pitt was the sole savior of this film that should have been funnier with the dynamite comdeic cast that they had here. I have come to realize that I am not a Coen Brother's fan, and that is okay. I will love Lebowski for every "Dude"ist moment, and pack my bags and choose an Aronowski film every time. Expand
  63. WhitfordSt.H.
    Dec 27, 2008
    2
    This is one of the lowlights in the Coen canon; not funny (and desperately trying to be), not suspensful in any measure and laborious to endure. A waste of a first class cast and an uncharacteristic misfire in every respect.
  64. sazziesazzie
    Dec 26, 2008
    7
    I enjoyed this because it was blackly funny and unpredictable, and because cloony's character was hilarious. I can't believe every critic seemed to like Brad though ---he was really overacting and his character was flat; I was glad that he wasn't in the whole film. The two CIA guys were superb, especially the closing scene.
  65. DQSlotkins
    Dec 25, 2008
    6
    I don't even know who these people calling themselves the "Coen Brothers" are. They have lost all ability to do dark comedy. This is no Fargo. This is a mess.
  66. JimL.
    Dec 23, 2008
    9
    Very enjoyable, if you like the Coen brothers' zany view of reality, and their dark sense of humor.
  67. MaccaNotDisclosed
    Dec 23, 2008
    1
    Complete trash. I can't believe the good rating this has. The characters were stupid and unconvincing and the script was just utterly weird, and left you feeling out of place and disappointed at the end of it. Ten minutes into the film you realised how bad it was, and it maintained that throughout the film. The worst of the Coen brothers' films.
  68. JeromeH
    Dec 22, 2008
    0
    Terribly odd movie, characters are even stranger than life. Loosely connected story line that failed to hold my interest.
  69. AlexO
    Dec 21, 2008
    1
    This Movie was god awful. The BIG Liebowski was the Cohen brothers last good movie. I will never pay to watch another of their films. The Characters were cartoon parodies of humanity. The level of stupidity and ignorance was astounding and the point of this film, why it exists at all remains a mystery. After watching this movie I felt empty and terrible. Evil Ugly stupid film.
  70. PaulT
    Dec 21, 2008
    9
    I dont understand why people didnt like this. In terms of entertainment value, I thought it was way better than No Country for old men. What can I say, I Loved it.
  71. gschmidt
    Dec 17, 2008
    9
    Has a bit of everything, always keeps you guessing, and even manages to make a statement about some of our values as a society.
  72. JayH.
    Dec 12, 2008
    7
    Very entertaining crime comedy with stand out performances from Brad Pitt and Frances McDormand. Funny, very well written and never a boring moment. Excellent.
  73. TonyO.
    Dec 8, 2008
    9
    Stimulating and very different, and from the look of these reviews, fairly widely misunderstood. To my mind, this was a rather better movie that "No Country for Old Men". It was beautifully acted by the entire ensemble (special kudos for Brad, who was hysterically funny), immaculately scripted, and deftly directed. Lots of things that could be commented on, but the most interesting thing Stimulating and very different, and from the look of these reviews, fairly widely misunderstood. To my mind, this was a rather better movie that "No Country for Old Men". It was beautifully acted by the entire ensemble (special kudos for Brad, who was hysterically funny), immaculately scripted, and deftly directed. Lots of things that could be commented on, but the most interesting thing for me was the total lack of likeable characters. It is a brave movie that doesn't seek the empathy vote. The lack of any redeeming qualities in the female characters was especially challenging. When was the last time we had a non-sexist movie about women who don't nurture, who are insanely selfish, and who are manipulative to the nth degree? And the men are nearly as bad. Not a spy movie, not a caper movie, not a sit com. Watching basically makes you uncomfortable while you simultaneously laugh, and that is why it is worth the effort. Not every movie should be a feel good experience. Expand
  74. GendolynH.
    Nov 29, 2008
    3
    The film had a few laughs but it was flat overall. I was really amazed this came from the Coen brothers, whose work I generally like quite a lot, but this was way below their standards of excellence like Fargo.
  75. AngeR.
    Nov 18, 2008
    10
    A dark and brilliant pleasure.
  76. Luree
    Nov 13, 2008
    8
    Tight editing, plot twists, sudden violence, funny, cool ending. Loved it - walked out of the theater feeling like I'd really seen a good movie.
  77. JonasN.
    Nov 13, 2008
    8
    I laughed throughout the last 30 minutes of this film. The plot, or lack of same, was hilarious.
  78. MarvinS.
    Nov 11, 2008
    3
    I love Coen Brothers movies. This one is a dud. I did not care about the characters nor could I invest in the plot. Weird people acting stupid and killing each other is not comedy, dark or otherwise. Very, very disappointed.
  79. AnonymousMC
    Nov 10, 2008
    0
    This script should've been burnt after reading. I've never been this close to leaving the cinemas. I didn't hear one good word about it from other people who were watching the movie. During the break I couldn't help but speaking out loud what kind of $#!% I thought it was, and I didn't get else but confirmation from other people. I came here to expect that othersThis script should've been burnt after reading. I've never been this close to leaving the cinemas. I didn't hear one good word about it from other people who were watching the movie. During the break I couldn't help but speaking out loud what kind of $#!% I thought it was, and I didn't get else but confirmation from other people. I came here to expect that others somewhat shared the same opinion and I'm very surprised that it's currently rated at 6.3 / 6.5. I guess I'm more of an all rounder when it comes to watching movies. I think this movie only appeals to a specific group (hence the great differences in user ratings). I didn't see the trailer before I watched the movie, but upon watching it now I would think its a fair movie. I think the trailer is pretty misleading. Better wait for 007. Even if you have to wait 2 weeks before you can make a reservation. Expand
  80. GemmaD.
    Nov 9, 2008
    10
    I find the mixed reviews interesting. The friend I watched this movie with didn't like it at all, I loved it. Unlike myself she didn't think it was funny and argued that there was a lack of likeable characters. Indeed, all characters seem to suffer from a mid-life crisis and are completely egotistic in how they deal with life and especially each other, but in this case I thought I find the mixed reviews interesting. The friend I watched this movie with didn't like it at all, I loved it. Unlike myself she didn't think it was funny and argued that there was a lack of likeable characters. Indeed, all characters seem to suffer from a mid-life crisis and are completely egotistic in how they deal with life and especially each other, but in this case I thought this added to the movies strength, humour and point. Fargo meets Lebowski, as far as I'm concerned. Expand
  81. EoghanM.
    Oct 26, 2008
    10
    One of the best films this year and tat s saying something!
  82. MartinS.
    Oct 26, 2008
    9
    Easily the funiest movie I've seen all year.
  83. AnonymousMC
    Oct 26, 2008
    8
    I feel this movie clicked for some and clanged for others, in a half-and-half arrangement. I was one of the ones whom it did click for. I liked it alot, because it was very off-beat, disastrous, and I found myself laughing to myself the whole way through, just because I thought the complete lack of synchronicity between the characters, and their inability to actually see the big picture,I feel this movie clicked for some and clanged for others, in a half-and-half arrangement. I was one of the ones whom it did click for. I liked it alot, because it was very off-beat, disastrous, and I found myself laughing to myself the whole way through, just because I thought the complete lack of synchronicity between the characters, and their inability to actually see the big picture, was very humourous. Subtlety isn't exactly this film's forte in this regard, but it still works at getting people laughing. I especially thought the abrupt ending worked as well; it reaffirmed that 'Burn After Reading' is just completely ludicrous, no-harm fun. Expand
  84. MikeB.
    Oct 24, 2008
    8
    The Coens often defy traditional story structure, such as in The Big Lebowski, where the main character undergoes no change. In this movie, nothing happens, and the traditional story arch (conflict, rising action, climax, resolution) is essentially thrown out. Personally, that makes me think that this film is brilliant, but I can understand why others who are looking for a more The Coens often defy traditional story structure, such as in The Big Lebowski, where the main character undergoes no change. In this movie, nothing happens, and the traditional story arch (conflict, rising action, climax, resolution) is essentially thrown out. Personally, that makes me think that this film is brilliant, but I can understand why others who are looking for a more traditional format (given the star appeal of the movie, quite a lot of folks) are disappointed. Expand
  85. CraigS.
    Oct 19, 2008
    2
    Its a horrible feeling to be embarrassed for your heroes, but after watching this absolute mess, it looks like 'No Country For Old Men' was just a fluke show of their old form in the career nose-dive of the Coen brothers, one good film out of their last four is not a good sign. They really need to dump Clooney as soon as possible and get some of the old crowd (Steve Buscemi, Its a horrible feeling to be embarrassed for your heroes, but after watching this absolute mess, it looks like 'No Country For Old Men' was just a fluke show of their old form in the career nose-dive of the Coen brothers, one good film out of their last four is not a good sign. They really need to dump Clooney as soon as possible and get some of the old crowd (Steve Buscemi, John Turturro, John Goodman..) back before mainstream Hollywood strips all that was special from their films permanently. Credit to John Malkovich though for putting in the effort and making the best of a bad situation.. Expand
  86. GinaO.
    Oct 18, 2008
    8
    Creative, idiotic and funny, I recommend it. I loved the characters and the plot. It
  87. BrockJ.
    Oct 18, 2008
    2
    A few funny moments intertwined with a lot of cheaters. Brad Pitt was fantastic, but unfortunately the same cannot be said about this plot.
  88. MarkB.
    Oct 16, 2008
    4
    Comparing and contrasting the careers of the last two Lifetime Achievement--er, Best Director Oscar winners: Martin Scorsese's lifetime output represents the work of someone who has seen a lot of movies and lived a lot of life. The Coen Brothers' lifetime output represents that of someone who has seen a lot of movies. Oh, don't get me wrong--their studiously composed Comparing and contrasting the careers of the last two Lifetime Achievement--er, Best Director Oscar winners: Martin Scorsese's lifetime output represents the work of someone who has seen a lot of movies and lived a lot of life. The Coen Brothers' lifetime output represents that of someone who has seen a lot of movies. Oh, don't get me wrong--their studiously composed clones-with-attitude of yesteryear's finest ,such as the unjustly underrated retro-noir The Man Who Wasn't There, can certainly yield many of their own rewards (and it should be no surprise whatsoever that the biggest laughs in their remake of The Ladykillers were lifted directly from the 1955 Alec Guinness original), but too much of their recent work--No Country For Old Men being an atypical blip on the radar, and therefore predictably the big winner of the Academy Award jackpot--emerges as heartless, soulless, and, especially given how often the word "quirky" is applied to these guys, oddly mechanical. Earlier comedies such as Raising Arizona and Fargo partially countermanded this with such a palpable underlying core of sweetness, especially in thdeir depictions of the central characters' marriages, that any fleeting suspicion that Joel and Ethan were treating their principals with the slightest whiff of condescension could be easily and happily dismissed. Not so with their espionage farce Burn After Reading, a farce as irriatingly tangled as a store selling Christmas tree lights in the aftermath of a firebombing and as distastefully acrid as a carton of milk left sitting on the radiator since Saddam shuffled off this mortal coil. If I wanted to watch one-joke comedies about nothing more than how selfish and stupid people are (with no compensating or justifying point of view as can at least be found in Kubrick's Dr. Strangelove or Altman's The Player), I'd sit at home with reruns of Married...With Children and America's Funniest Home Videos; at least those offerings wouldn't profoundly depress me with all-dressed-up-and-nowhere-to-go comic turns by a very lively Brad Pitt, John Malkovich, J.K. Simmons and Mrs. Coen herself. The rubber-faced Frances McDormand, whose brilliant but compassionate cop Marge Gunderson from Fargo will live past all vocal comparisons to a certain notorious political figure to remain one of ther most endearing movie characters in history, is especially poorly used as a moronic and (deservedly) unlucky-in-love health club employee. Admittedly, the fact that the Coens assembled such an elaborate , seemingly unending (though it's only slightly over 90 minutes) paean to utter obtuseness (with the one somewhat likable and reasonably intelligent character meeting a gory, disgusting fate) IS superficially impressive in the way that someone constructing a model of the Sistine Chapel entirely out of cheese might be, but in both instances the novelty wears off VERY quickly and the results turn putrid even more rapidly. Or, as Juno's dad asks at picture's end, what have we learned? Not a damned thing. Oh, brother, you said it. Expand
  89. CodyF.
    Oct 14, 2008
    9
    The Coen brothers have lived up to their reputation again. A phenomenally dry humor that kept me laughing from start to finish. The Malcovich/Clooney/Pitt combination worked amazingly and you could tell there was lots of chemistry on the set. But the best part of the movie was the score. The music kept you "on edge" in a comedy and the order of events was spectacular.
  90. [Anonymous]
    Oct 12, 2008
    9
    One of the funniest films I've ever seen, and one of the best of the year.
  91. SoumenS.
    Oct 11, 2008
    0
    On the level of Jeepers Creepers and Wicker Man. Don't even see this one for free. If the Coens Brothers come up with another original idea, I won't be seeing it.
  92. BobW
    Oct 9, 2008
    6
    Lots of F words and a couple of surprisingly jarring violent scenes seemed out of synch with the humor and caper qualities of the film. A creative plot but not a movie I would recommend.
  93. Aaron
    Oct 8, 2008
    10
    Wickedly dark humor with the Coen Brothers sick sense of humor. Outstanding cast doing satire. If you are looking for realism don't bother. But the end of the movie makes a farce of everything we know is screwed up. What a refreshing change.
  94. JPS.
    Oct 6, 2008
    7
    Curious plot drew me deeper and deeper into the humor of the movie. Characters seemed shallow at first, but in the end viewers have no doubt that it is written and directed by the Cohen Bothers.
  95. AndrewP.
    Oct 5, 2008
    9
    Expertly Crafted story, with shocking twists. The humor is great, and the Cohen brothers have done it again!
  96. BM.
    Oct 5, 2008
    3
    Horrible waste of money. was mildly amusing at best. story could've been made into something neat but instead was a wash of nothing. You know those types of movies that just don't have any meaning or resolution. Boring, pointless waste of time and money. Do not see this movie.
  97. MirandaS.
    Oct 4, 2008
    0
    I have never before in my life walked out of a movie in a movie theater. But I lasted about 1 hour before I had to leave the theater before shooting myself. I feel that the Cohn Brothers owe me my money back!!!
  98. JohnO.
    Oct 4, 2008
    0
    Do you have a rating lower than 0 - if not I'll be generous and give it a well deserved 0 . I loved the Robert L. comment - all copies of the film should have been burned before showing.
  99. StephanieE.
    Oct 3, 2008
    1
    This movie was absolutely a waste of $16. The only parts of the movie that moved that audience at all were Brad Pitt's idiotic humor and when he was shot in the face. The character Linda was a joke. Not to mention Clooney fit the role of a psycho but that's about it. Don't even get me started on the ending. They briefly explain to you who got shot and who died while This movie was absolutely a waste of $16. The only parts of the movie that moved that audience at all were Brad Pitt's idiotic humor and when he was shot in the face. The character Linda was a joke. Not to mention Clooney fit the role of a psycho but that's about it. Don't even get me started on the ending. They briefly explain to you who got shot and who died while stumbling over words. I'm sorry but I highly doubt a person in such a position (the character who fired Malcovich) would studder while speaking to his superior. This movie was absolutely horrible and I'm pissed that I wasted my money. Expand
Metascore
63

Generally favorable reviews - based on 37 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 25 out of 37
  2. Negative: 1 out of 37
  1. 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.
  2. Reviewed by: Todd McCarthy
    50
    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.
  3. Reviewed by: Richard Corliss
    30
    Either the Coens failed, or I didn't figure out what they're attempting. I must be like Harry or Osborne, pretending to a sophistication I lack. Burn After Reading is a movie about stupidity that left me feeling stupid.