Focus Features | Release Date: September 12, 2008
6.6
USER SCORE
Generally favorable reviews based on 369 Ratings
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Positive:
231
Mixed:
76
Negative:
62
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8
SpangleJul 26, 2014
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 II 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
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8
MovieGuysMay 30, 2016
Burn After Reading has the old Coen Brothers feel to it immediately, and it's a fun ride from there. The movie is short and over before you know it, but it is a nice little dark comedy with interesting characters and a ridiculously funny plot.
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8
beingryanjudeAug 27, 2014
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.
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5
imthenoobNov 10, 2016
The acting was great and there were a few funny moments through out but my whole issue is that the plot went no where. And they ended it in such a disappointing and typical way too that was really unsatisfying. This movie is neither good norThe acting was great and there were a few funny moments through out but my whole issue is that the plot went no where. And they ended it in such a disappointing and typical way too that was really unsatisfying. This movie is neither good nor bad, It simply is. Expand
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8
TokyochuchuApr 24, 2015
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'sBurn 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
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10
StevenFFeb 4, 2013
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
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.
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2 of 3 users found this helpful21
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9
axelkochSep 11, 2012
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 goodAgain 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. Expand
1 of 1 users found this helpful10
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7
RayzorMooseDec 31, 2013
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.
1 of 1 users found this helpful10
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7
chwJul 18, 2014
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.
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6
ERG1008Aug 24, 2010
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
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.
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5
MovieMasterEddyApr 3, 2016
Coens Ask the C.I.A. for a License to Laugh.

Heart isn’t usually part of the discussion when we talk about movies, partly, I imagine, because it sounds too corny. And fuzzy. After all, what does it mean to say this or that director or film
Coens Ask the C.I.A. for a License to Laugh.

Heart isn’t usually part of the discussion when we talk about movies, partly, I imagine, because it sounds too corny. And fuzzy. After all, what does it mean to say this or that director or film shows a lot of heart or too little? I ask only because “Burn After Reading,” the clubby, predictably self-amused comedy from Joel and Ethan Coen, has a tricky plot, visual style, er, to burn, but so little heart as to warrant a Jarvik 8.

Not that you probably won’t choke up a couple of ho-ho’s in between a few hee-hee’s whenever Big Daddy Brad Pitt, as a nitwit gym rat with a Pepe Le Pew two-tone hair-stack, twitches across the screen or the camera nuzzles one of the other goofy gargoyles so beloved by the Coens. Mr. Pitt’s Chad is the overripe second banana to Linda Litzke (Frances McDormand, Joel Coen’s wife), who has some vague job at the gym where the two sort of work. Chad’s a buffoon (the hard body as soft brain), and Mr. Pitt has been charged with delivering a caricature rather than a character, but because the actor loves playing sidemen and conveys such natural, irrepressible (irresistible) sweetness, he’s also one of the film’s saving graces.

It could use a few more. Like most of the Coens’ comedies, “Burn After Reading” is something of a shaggy sendup of an established genre and conventions, in this case the espionage flick. The film opens and closes with a Google Maps view of the Earth that has already become a cinematic cliché, a godly perspective that rapidly narrows in on the headquarters for the Central Intelligence Agency in Langley, Va. There, an analyst named Osborne Cox (John Malkovich) soon receives a demotion for boozing, the first knot in an increasingly and intentionally tangled thicket of contrivances and coincidences mostly involving three favorite American (and Hollywood) preoccupations: money, sex and self.

With its complexly interwoven stories, political backdrop and the central presence of a bearded George Clooney, the film comes across a bit like “Syriana for Dummies,” though given the original this seems somewhat redundant. Here Mr. Clooney, recycling the tic-y head bobs and weaves from his “ER” days, plays Harry Pfarrer, a federal marshal who is two-timing his wife, Sandy (Elizabeth Marvel), with Osborne’s scarier better half, Katie (Tilda Swinton). A serial adulterer who totes his own wedge-shaped bolster to his assignations, Harry hooks up with Linda through the Internet, an improbability only slightly less preposterous than the computer disk of C.I.A. secrets that ends up floating around Linda and Chad’s gym and leading them in a world of trouble. As Donald H. Rumsfeld once said, “Stuff happens.”

Professional wisenheimers, the Coens like squeezing laughs out of potentially hazardous material, whether they’re dumping a paraplegic out of a wheelchair for a chuckle, as they do in their finest film, “The Big Lebowski” (a comedy about the drama of friendship), or violently disposing of bit players, as they do in their most recent , “No Country for Old Men” (a drama about the comedy of death). They have a gift for the absurd and a penchant for cruelty, tendencies that, without the tempering quality of a recognizably human presence — Jeff Bridges’s glorious performance in “Lebowski,” Ms. McDormand’s emotionally nuanced one in “Fargo” — can make the Coens come across as insufferably superior and bullying. Comedy needs fools with funny faces, but comedy without gentleness is often just sadism.

It isn’t that sadism can’t be a laugh riot; it’s just a question of modulation, of balancing the loud yuks and cruel jabs with some delicate feeling, mixing a real face in with the cartoons. Though “Burn After Reading” isn’t as uniformly flat as “The Hudsucker Proxy” (the Coens’ leaden bid for Preston Sturges’s dizziness), there’s a crushing sameness to the characters and their predicaments. With the exceptions of the hard-working supporting cast — notably J. K. Simmons as a C.I.A. bigwig and the equally reliable and welcome Richard Jenkins as a lovelorn gym manager — the characters have been conceived as variations on self-deluded boobishness. Some (like Katie) appear sharper than others, others dumber (Linda), but they’re all punch lines in an overly extended joke.

The Coens in turn have made their careers with impeccable technique and an exaggerated visual style — they sure love their low-angle shots and traveling cameras — but it’s a wonder they keep making films about a subject for which they often evince so little regard, namely other people.
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5
avatar16Feb 7, 2012
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 leIl 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
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6
FilmQueenNov 28, 2015
I can't say this film is not funny, it has some quite entertaining parts. It's not a bad film at all, but it's kind of messy, the plot just jumps from one character to another and nothing gets resolved. Plus a lot of characters are extremelyI can't say this film is not funny, it has some quite entertaining parts. It's not a bad film at all, but it's kind of messy, the plot just jumps from one character to another and nothing gets resolved. Plus a lot of characters are extremely stupid, annoyingly so. The part that John Malkovich played is an exception, his character is kind of a jerk, but the only person with a brain. Brad Pitt's character is extremely idiotic, but he is also an exception, because Pitt managed to make him hilarious. Expand
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8
heeldavidJul 23, 2014
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
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4
ExKingJul 28, 2013
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,
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.
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1 of 2 users found this helpful11
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9
bram29Apr 21, 2012
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.
1 of 1 users found this helpful10
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8
nboley08Aug 16, 2010
"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"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
1 of 1 users found this helpful10
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5
shamusolarrySep 7, 2011
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 isThis 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. Expand
1 of 1 users found this helpful10
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0
ALFSep 25, 2011
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 greatA 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
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9
LaMagiadeVirueAug 1, 2013
Me reí mucho con esta película; una dirección magnifica de los hermanos que siempre lo dejan boqui-abierto con sus producciones. Altamente recomendada.
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6
D-SliceDec 26, 2010
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 andI 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
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10
pkgadersonsJun 10, 2012
I loved the castI loved the cast . Expand
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8
FilipanOtinanDec 24, 2013
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
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9
MovieJayDec 15, 2010
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.
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10
john24Jun 25, 2012
Awesome movie .
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8
adoubleJul 30, 2012
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 showNot 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. Expand
1 of 1 users found this helpful10
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8
Mewtwo465Jul 1, 2011
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 behaviourOh 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
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7
Palino007May 2, 2011
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.
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3
BM.Oct 5, 2008
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 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. Expand
1 of 3 users found this helpful
9
SMDec 31, 2008
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 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
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2
BrockJ.Oct 18, 2008
A few funny moments intertwined with a lot of cheaters. Brad Pitt was fantastic, but unfortunately the same cannot be said about this plot.
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9
PaulTDec 21, 2008
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.
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1
DanielaN.Dec 30, 2008
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 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. Expand
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10
EoghanM.Oct 26, 2008
One of the best films this year and tat s saying something!
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1
StephanieE.Oct 3, 2008
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 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
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9
AndrewP.Oct 5, 2008
Expertly Crafted story, with shocking twists. The humor is great, and the Cohen brothers have done it again!
1 of 1 users found this helpful
7
ChadS.Sep 13, 2008
Sonny Wortzik(Al Pacino) planned a bank heist in Sidney Lumet's "Dog Day Afternoon" so he could pay for his boyfriend's sex reassignment surgery. People do insane things for love. Echoes of the 1975 film can be gleamed in "Burn Sonny Wortzik(Al Pacino) planned a bank heist in Sidney Lumet's "Dog Day Afternoon" so he could pay for his boyfriend's sex reassignment surgery. People do insane things for love. Echoes of the 1975 film can be gleamed in "Burn After Reading" when Linda Litzke(Frances McDormand) tries to unload a disc of CIA "s***" at the Russian embassy. The high cost of surgery is the root of Linda's ersatz attempt at espionage. In stark contrast to Sonny, though, the fitness center employee is having work done on herself. Welcome to "The Me Century". "Burn After Reading" savagely attacks a certain segment of the general public and their corresponding character; those Americans who are narcissistic, lazy(Linda opts for liposuction instead of working out), therefore fat, and ill-informed. More than ever, the 21st century is a throwback to the seventies(dubbed "The Me Generation"), a period in which people were apolitical and hedonistic(Linda has one-night stands with men she found surfing the Internet.). She and Chad(Brad Pitt) solicit the Russians without an understanding about our current political climate. For the record, The Cold War ended in 1991. When Osbourne Cox(John Malkovich), late in the film, says, "You belong to a legion of morons," he's not really addressing Ted(Richard Jenkins); he's addressing the American people; the voting populace, at large. Ted doesn't belong to the "idiotocracy". Ted is a good man. What about you? Expand
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7
MikeD.Sep 13, 2008
The movie has a good premise, but it didn't seem to follow through on what it intended to do. The beginning is quite slow as it unfolds the characters and takes awhile to get to the meat of the plot. By then, you've already asked The movie has a good premise, but it didn't seem to follow through on what it intended to do. The beginning is quite slow as it unfolds the characters and takes awhile to get to the meat of the plot. By then, you've already asked yourself "where is this going?" At times, it was witty and sardonic. Brad Pitt nailed the role as small-time gym trainer. He definitely highlights the movie. However, the rest of characters didn't blend well with the "dark comedy-esque." I found them to be too serious and not whimsical enough. The tone of the movie at times didn't know when to be humorous or serious. In general, it's not too bad, but not too good. The great ending was the savior of the movie. Expand
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4
MichaelS.Sep 15, 2008
This was a horrible mess of a movie that strained too hard to pull out any sort of comedy. Extremely dry and simplistic humor dots the film as if the actors were forced to try and make it funny. The only moments that even cracked a laugh in This was a horrible mess of a movie that strained too hard to pull out any sort of comedy. Extremely dry and simplistic humor dots the film as if the actors were forced to try and make it funny. The only moments that even cracked a laugh in the whole movie theater were perhaps the least clever, calling a man a, "Jew", a Hispanic worker repeating what he's saying, and two government officials trying to figure out whats going on, mark all three funny moments in the film. As well, the first quarter of the movie before the, "Burn After Reading" file is discovered is absolutely unneeded, it slowly, almost to the point of nauseatingly fleshes out the main characters, so much that I think I've seen soap operas wrap up character history faster. The entire movie was a failure at an attempt to entertain, but spot on when it comes to portraying how stupid the characters were, the last three minutes of the show are all you truly need to watch, as this movie is quite the head-snapper, as in I'm trying not to pass out from the sheer stupidity this film made me endure. Expand
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9
JayKSep 15, 2008
Every joke hit it's mark (rare thing for a comedy), and there were lots of jokes. This is my favorite Coen movie after No Country For Old Men. Clever, well acted, achieves everything it wants. One of the few movies where so many Every joke hit it's mark (rare thing for a comedy), and there were lots of jokes. This is my favorite Coen movie after No Country For Old Men. Clever, well acted, achieves everything it wants. One of the few movies where so many despicable characters are so watchable. I can understand that some people are left wanting a higher purpose, but they are either missing the point or just need a different point. I can understand that some folks won't get it or like it, but I'm gratefully not in that camp. Great, funny movie. Expand
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3
LucaS.Sep 24, 2008
One of the most boring and useless film in this 2008. Stay away from it. it's a waste of money,time and patience.
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2
LinL.Jan 4, 2009
Despite the fantastic cast, this was extraordinarily boring and bereft of laughs. I kept waiting for it to get funny, clever, entertaining . . . never happened.
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9
jimiJan 5, 2009
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!
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3
CraigR.Mar 2, 2009
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.
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0
MikeHAug 29, 2009
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 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
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9
AlanGAug 4, 2009
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, 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
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0
AnonymousMCNov 10, 2008
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 butThis 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
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7
BillyP.Oct 1, 2008
Entertaining... but being a Coens borthers movie you expect to be blown away. This time they fall short.
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4
MarkB.Oct 16, 2008
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 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
0 of 0 users found this helpful
2
WhitfordSt.H.Dec 27, 2008
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.
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7
JPS.Oct 6, 2008
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.
0 of 0 users found this helpful
6
BobWOct 9, 2008
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.
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8
JonB.Sep 12, 2008
The movie is comprised of plot twists and dark humor. I would recommend this movie to anyone who liked Fargo and The Big Lebowski. I thought it was a good movie on the first watching, but it may get even better with subsequent viewings.
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9
JudyT.Sep 13, 2008
Funniest movie I've seen in a long, long, time. I am not a Coen Brothers fan but I was pleasantly surprised by the cleverness of this movie. A must see.
0 of 0 users found this helpful
8
JosephA.Sep 13, 2008
Hysterical. Can be a bit hard to follow at times but the characters are strong and the comedy is quick. Loved it.
0 of 0 users found this helpful
9
TylerG.Sep 14, 2008
Not as good as No Countr, but still one of the best films of 08'. Perfect mix of drama and comedy. Only complaint is the beginning is a little weak but ultimately it adds up to the middle and end which is grade A material. Not worthy of Not as good as No Countr, but still one of the best films of 08'. Perfect mix of drama and comedy. Only complaint is the beginning is a little weak but ultimately it adds up to the middle and end which is grade A material. Not worthy of Best Picture but still a must see. Expand
0 of 0 users found this helpful
7
BillyS.Sep 14, 2008
What Burn After Reading may lack in story and structure, it makes up for in (as all Coen movies do) great quirky characters, and lots of them. It may not be the Oscar juggernaut that we'd expect from the brilliant Coen brothers, but What Burn After Reading may lack in story and structure, it makes up for in (as all Coen movies do) great quirky characters, and lots of them. It may not be the Oscar juggernaut that we'd expect from the brilliant Coen brothers, but what a joy it is to watch their menagerie of off the wall people who inhabit this movie! Brad Pitt's Chad Feldheimer is a classic that could grab the Acedemy's attention and JK Simmons is deadpan hilarious! Expand
0 of 0 users found this helpful
0
BrandonS.Sep 15, 2008
No Country made me want to kill the Coen brothers. Burn After Reading makes me want to kill them, revive them, and kill them again. I'm done with these idiots.
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6
JamesB.Sep 19, 2008
Oh boy. Hmm,...let's see now, I didn't necessarily "dislike" this typically polarizing of a Coen Brothers film, but I hardly "loved" it as well. Like their far superior "No Country For Old Men", this new film is rife with Oh boy. Hmm,...let's see now, I didn't necessarily "dislike" this typically polarizing of a Coen Brothers film, but I hardly "loved" it as well. Like their far superior "No Country For Old Men", this new film is rife with pessimism, misanthropy and palpable mean-spiritedness (despite it being an alleged "comedy"), but unlike "NCFOM", it hasn't a really compelling story (or rather a series of untypically cinematic "things" happening against formula) nor any interesting characters to "care about" (we're passively along for the "let's mock these morons" ride). It's chock full of unmitigated idiots and hapless dolts (Malkovich notwithstanding, despite his surface perceptions of idiocy all about him) running around oblivious of the likely consequences of their respective actions and the ramifications of other people's reactions. This movie and its mindbogglingly inept array of twits represent a contemporary microcosm of the idiocy that continues to stymie (for the most part) the actual (i.e., the "mental/psychological progress", and not the more popular and assumed "technological sense") progress of the human race. This is what the Coen Brothers are lamenting and responding to. To a certain extent, I definitely sympathise with them and their frustration with contemporary culture, but it's too bad they couldn't express it more entertainingly. J.K.Simmons' final lines of dialogue perfectly sum up the sad situation afflicting early 21st century humanity and the laisse faire attitude of "doing our own thing" unbeknownst to everyone else and the potential adverse consequences therein. How can anyone learn anything from populated events affecting you indirectly and beyond your control, even if siad events are perpetrated by idiots? God, help us all!....oh yeah, that's right too. Expand
0 of 0 users found this helpful
9
PeterK.Sep 28, 2008
Darkly funny. One of the best things that the Cohens have done since Raising Arizona.
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8
ChristianW.Sep 30, 2008
even funnier than Big Lebowski, i guffawed my way through it. Pitt is hilarious, so is Malkovich. McDormand and Clooney are also pretty good. Those who prefer the Coen's funnier stuff over their thrillers will absolutely lap this one even funnier than Big Lebowski, i guffawed my way through it. Pitt is hilarious, so is Malkovich. McDormand and Clooney are also pretty good. Those who prefer the Coen's funnier stuff over their thrillers will absolutely lap this one up. Watch for the visible boom, apparently that's intentional. Expand
0 of 0 users found this helpful
9
EmmaS.Jan 10, 2009
Haha are you kidding me that movie was hilarious!
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4
JohnHJan 1, 2009
Starts off ok but just gets stupid. I can't recommend this one.
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7
MattAJan 18, 2009
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 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
0 of 0 users found this helpful
8
StevePJan 2, 2009
I heard one reviewer say that this film is a
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10
christianp.Jan 2, 2009
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, 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
0 of 0 users found this helpful
3
KimAJan 22, 2009
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!
0 of 0 users found this helpful
3
kendraSJan 27, 2009
At the end it left me puzzled...what just happened?
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7
MajorM.Jan 3, 2009
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 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. Expand
0 of 0 users found this helpful
9
Mr.L.Jan 9, 2009
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 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. Expand
0 of 0 users found this helpful
9
TroelsS.Feb 8, 2009
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 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
0 of 0 users found this helpful
7
FranciscoP.Mar 4, 2009
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 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
0 of 0 users found this helpful
10
ChristianVMay 8, 2009
Love it! Gets funnier with each viewing!
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8
JonasN.Nov 13, 2008
I laughed throughout the last 30 minutes of this film. The plot, or lack of same, was hilarious.
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9
[Anonymous]Oct 12, 2008
One of the funniest films I've ever seen, and one of the best of the year.
0 of 0 users found this helpful
9
CodyF.Oct 14, 2008
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 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. Expand
0 of 0 users found this helpful
8
GinaO.Oct 18, 2008
Creative, idiotic and funny, I recommend it. I loved the characters and the plot. It
0 of 0 users found this helpful
2
CraigS.Oct 19, 2008
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 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
0 of 0 users found this helpful
1
AlexODec 21, 2008
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 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. Expand
0 of 0 users found this helpful
9
JimL.Dec 23, 2008
Very enjoyable, if you like the Coen brothers' zany view of reality, and their dark sense of humor.
0 of 0 users found this helpful
3
LuisVDec 28, 2008
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.
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4
KathyS.Dec 30, 2008
Ho hum. The best part was seeing Brad Pitt smacked in the face.
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8
MikeB.Oct 24, 2008
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 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
0 of 0 users found this helpful
8
AnonymousMCOct 26, 2008
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 theI 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
0 of 0 users found this helpful
9
MartinS.Oct 26, 2008
Easily the funiest movie I've seen all year.
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0
JohnO.Oct 4, 2008
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.
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MirandaS.Oct 4, 2008
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!!!
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10
AaronOct 8, 2008
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.
0 of 0 users found this helpful
0
LaurenE.Sep 12, 2008
Stupid movie, about stupid people.
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5
StewartQ.Sep 12, 2008
It's okay to admit that the Coen Brothers missed the mark on this one. Really, no need to pretend that the ending was not a baffling disappointment with more loose ends than a grass skirt. Sure, Brad Pitt was mildly funny but the film It's okay to admit that the Coen Brothers missed the mark on this one. Really, no need to pretend that the ending was not a baffling disappointment with more loose ends than a grass skirt. Sure, Brad Pitt was mildly funny but the film is full of gratuitous suspense and self absorbed intricacies that ultimately lead nowhere. Whether it is intended as a black comedy, a satirical farce or an espionage goof, it is a hollow effort all around. ;-) Expand
0 of 0 users found this helpful
9
GlenM.Sep 12, 2008
This movie is ridiculously hilarious. The Coen brothers continue to crank out ballsy movie's that just flat out do not appeal to the general public...and i feel that they get some sort of satisfaction out of it.
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9
MarkR.Sep 13, 2008
It's an 97 minute Seinfeld episode without Seinfeld, but I mean that in a good way. Brad Pitt takes over for Kramer, Malkovich is Neuman, McDormand is Elaine and the film is essentially about nothing in particular. It never taking It's an 97 minute Seinfeld episode without Seinfeld, but I mean that in a good way. Brad Pitt takes over for Kramer, Malkovich is Neuman, McDormand is Elaine and the film is essentially about nothing in particular. It never taking itself too seriously, and weaves many smooth twists and turns throughout the story. It is a story of greedy, idiotic, selfish and downright mean people that I thoroughly enjoyed. If I watch it again, I'm sure I'll laugh out loud at the same spots and have a smile on my face as the lights come on. Go see it, but don't take it too seriously either. Expand
0 of 0 users found this helpful
10
DaniilK.Sep 13, 2008
Absolutely Hysterical!!! The chaos of life doesn't end, and the government can't do anything right.
0 of 0 users found this helpful
9
GeorgeN.Sep 13, 2008
I just got back and have to say I enjoyed it. This movie was not only hilarious but complex enough intrigue me The Coen's really know how to make a great movie!
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4
LarryK.Sep 13, 2008
Ah, yes. Yet again the trailers lure the flies to the spider's web. The stellar cast who nailed their roles could not make up for spotty entertaining dialogue and minimal laugh-out-loud scenes. It was boring and quite forgettable for Ah, yes. Yet again the trailers lure the flies to the spider's web. The stellar cast who nailed their roles could not make up for spotty entertaining dialogue and minimal laugh-out-loud scenes. It was boring and quite forgettable for the most part. Brad Pitt was the highlight of the film. His portrayal of a gym rat was hilariously entertaining. His exit came too soon in my opinion. I'll remember "Fargo" and "No Country for Old Men." This film I've already forgotten. Expand
0 of 0 users found this helpful
2
BernieB.Sep 14, 2008
A big disappointment. Save your money.
0 of 0 users found this helpful
8
KC.Sep 15, 2008
Very enjoyable and funny movie; dark...but funny (typical Coen brothers slant and violence). If you're a fan of the Coens and their films such as Fargo, then you will like this; if not, then you will most likely hate this (like my wife Very enjoyable and funny movie; dark...but funny (typical Coen brothers slant and violence). If you're a fan of the Coens and their films such as Fargo, then you will like this; if not, then you will most likely hate this (like my wife did). I thoroughly enjoyed watching all of the actors and how they were stretched to act outside of their normal roles. Pitt was amazingly funny, Malkovich was spot on and funny in his own serious way, and McDormand stole the whole movie for me...she was the more grounded character who this whole twisted plot revolves around. One of the best films I've seen this year. Great fun. Expand
0 of 0 users found this helpful
0
DoomedtoFailSep 15, 2008
This has to be one of the worst movies I have ever seen in my life. Hollywood's version of entertainment has left me in the past and the whole movie tries to sell on star power. But it is garbage. Brad Pitt plays a moron & George This has to be one of the worst movies I have ever seen in my life. Hollywood's version of entertainment has left me in the past and the whole movie tries to sell on star power. But it is garbage. Brad Pitt plays a moron & George Clooney plays a "player" extreme (what he thinks he is). The movie has ZERO likable characters and nothing positive to offer. If this is the future of entertainment - we are in serious trouble! Expand
0 of 0 users found this helpful
4
JohnsSep 15, 2008
Really average movie. Laughed once. The cast was just not funny. Gave NCFOM a 10, hope brothers do better next time.
0 of 0 users found this helpful
3
JA.Sep 16, 2008
Don't waste your money. This was a disappointment, and the only reason it got such great reviews was because of the hype and directors. I didn't go in with high expectations, which is a good thing because even those weren't met.
0 of 0 users found this helpful