MOVIEmeter
Top 5000
Down 403 this week

Burn After Reading (2008)

7.0
Your rating:
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 -/10 X  
Ratings: 7.0/10 from 217,155 users   Metascore: 63/100
Reviews: 533 user | 332 critic | 37 from Metacritic.com

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

Directors:

,

Writers:

,
Watch Trailer
0Check in
0Share...

Watch Now

From $2.99 on Amazon Instant Video

Editors' Spotlight

Sundance 2015

Watch our IMDb & AIV Sundance Studio Interviews with Keith Simanton

User Lists

Related lists from IMDb users

a list of 49 titles
created 10 Dec 2011
 
a list of 43 titles
created 21 Aug 2012
 
a list of 43 titles
created 15 Feb 2013
 
a list of 26 titles
created 08 Aug 2013
 
a list of 30 titles
created 22 Jan 2014
 

Related Items

Connect with IMDb


Share this Rating

Title: Burn After Reading (2008)

Burn After Reading (2008) on IMDb 7/10

Want to share IMDb's rating on your own site? Use the HTML below.

Take The Quiz!

Test your knowledge of Burn After Reading.

User Polls

Nominated for 2 Golden Globes. Another 4 wins & 16 nominations. See more awards »

Videos

Photos

Learn more

People who liked this also liked... 

A Serious Man (2009)
Comedy | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7/10 X  

Larry Gopnik, a Midwestern physics teacher, watches his life unravel over multiple sudden incidents. Though seeking meaning and answers amidst his turmoils, he seems to keep sinking.

Directors: Ethan Coen, Joel Coen
Stars: Michael Stuhlbarg, Richard Kind, Sari Lennick
Adventure | Comedy | Crime
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  

In the deep south during the 1930s, three escaped convicts search for hidden treasure while a relentless lawman pursues them.

Directors: Joel Coen, Ethan Coen
Stars: George Clooney, John Turturro, Tim Blake Nelson
True Grit (2010)
Adventure | Drama | Western
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  

A tough U.S. Marshal helps a stubborn young woman track down her father's murderer.

Directors: Ethan Coen, Joel Coen
Stars: Jeff Bridges, Matt Damon, Hailee Steinfeld
Comedy | Crime | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.2/10 X  

An eccentric, if not charming Southern professor and his crew pose as a classical ensemble in order to rob a casino, all under the nose of his unsuspecting but sharp old landlady.

Directors: Ethan Coen, Joel Coen
Stars: Tom Hanks, Marlon Wayans, Irma P. Hall
Barton Fink (1991)
Drama | Mystery
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  

A renowned New York playwright is enticed to California to write for the movies and discovers the hellish truth of Hollywood.

Directors: Joel Coen, Ethan Coen
Stars: John Turturro, John Goodman, Judy Davis
Comedy
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  

A naive business graduate is installed as president of a manufacturing company as part of a stock scam.

Directors: Joel Coen, Ethan Coen
Stars: Tim Robbins, Paul Newman, Jennifer Jason Leigh
Comedy | Crime | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.3/10 X  

A revenge-seeking gold digger marries a womanizing Beverly Hills lawyer with the intention of making a killing in the divorce.

Directors: Joel Coen, Ethan Coen
Stars: George Clooney, Catherine Zeta-Jones, Billy Bob Thornton
Comedy | Crime
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  

When a childless couple of an ex-con and an ex-cop decide to help themselves to one of another family's quintupelets, their lives get more complicated than they anticipated.

Directors: Joel Coen, Ethan Coen
Stars: Nicolas Cage, Holly Hunter, Trey Wilson
Crime | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  

A laconic, chain-smoking barber blackmails his wife's boss and lover for money to invest in dry cleaning, but his plan goes terribly wrong.

Directors: Joel Coen, Ethan Coen
Stars: Billy Bob Thornton, Frances McDormand, Michael Badalucco
Crime | Drama | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.9/10 X  

Tom Regan, an advisor to a Prohibition-era crime boss, tries to keep the peace between warring mobs but gets caught in divided loyalties.

Directors: Joel Coen, Ethan Coen
Stars: Gabriel Byrne, Albert Finney, John Turturro
Comedy | Crime
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.2/10 X  

"The Dude" Lebowski, mistaken for a millionaire Lebowski, seeks restitution for his ruined rug and enlists his bowling buddies to help get it.

Directors: Joel Coen, Ethan Coen
Stars: Jeff Bridges, John Goodman, Julianne Moore
Comedy | War
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.3/10 X  

A reporter in Iraq might just have the story of a lifetime when he meets Lyn Cassady, a guy who claims to be a former member of the U.S. Army's New Earth Army, a unit that employs paranormal powers in their missions.

Director: Grant Heslov
Stars: Ewan McGregor, George Clooney, Kevin Spacey
Edit

Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
...
...
...
...
...
Ted
...
...
...
CIA Superior (as JK Simmons)
...
...
...
J.R. Horne ...
Divorce Lawyer (as JR Horne)
...
...
Edit

Storyline

Osbourne Cox, a Balkan expert, is fired at the CIA, so he begins a memoir. His wife wants a divorce and expects her lover, Harry, a philandering State Department marshal, to leave his wife. A diskette falls out of a gym bag at a Georgetown fitness center. Two employees there try to turn it into cash: Linda, who wants money for elective surgery, and Chad, an amiable goof. Information on the disc leads them to Osbourne who rejects their sales pitch; then they visit the Russian embassy. To sweeten the pot, they decide they need more of Osbourne's secrets. Meanwhile, Linda's boss likes her, and Harry's wife leaves for a book tour. All roads lead to Osbourne's house. Written by <jhailey@hotmail.com>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

memoir | gym | cia | embassy | divorce | See All (137) »

Taglines:

Intelligence is relative. See more »

Genres:

Comedy | Crime | Drama

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for pervasive language, some sexual content and violence | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
Edit

Details

Official Sites:

| |  »

Country:

| |

Language:

Release Date:

12 September 2008 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Quémese después de leerse  »

Box Office

Budget:

$37,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

£2,045,565 (UK) (17 October 2008)

Gross:

$60,338,891 (USA) (19 December 2008)
 »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

| |

Color:

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »
Edit

Did You Know?

Trivia

The Coen Brothers wrote the character Osborne Cox with John Malkovich in mind. Brad Pitt's character was also written with the actor in mind, inspired by a commercial for which he suffered a similar haircut and dye job. Indeed, the Coen Brothers noted at a Q&A session at the Venice Film Festival that all the leading characters were written for all the leading actors, with the exception of Tilda Swinton. See more »

Goofs

When Linda asks Ted to break into the Osbourne house, he puts his hands up while telling her "No, No" and no ring is visible. In the next shot, you so him making this gesture from another angle and there is clearing a wedding band on Ted's wedding finger. See more »

Quotes

Chad Feldheimer: This is some heavy shit.
Linda Litzke: Is that my date list?
Chad Feldheimer: No, fuck.
Linda Litzke: You know, I'm trying to reinvent myself, and these procedures, which are so incredibly not cheap... What is that?
Chad Feldheimer: I can't believe this. This is like intelligence shit.
Ted Treffon: I'm not comfortable with this.
Chad Feldheimer: This is like... I can't believe this shit I'm seeing.
Ted Treffon: Manolo found it.
Manolo: On the floor there.
Chad Feldheimer: Yeah. Manolo found like this CD just lying in a locker, a locker floor, ladies' locker. I'm like, "What, someone's music or what?" And I come in here, ...
[...]
See more »

Crazy Credits

A female attorney handled 'Serious Matters' See more »


Soundtracks

My Eyes Adored You
(1974)
Written by Bob Crewe and Kenny Nolan
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

More "Big Lebowski" Than "Intolerable Cruelty" -- thankfully
10 September 2008 | by (U.S.) – See all my reviews

BURN AFTER READING is laugh-out-loud funny. It's more "Big Lebowski" than "Intolerable Cruelty," though there are wisps of both, but "Burn" is not quite up to Lebowski's genius. Still, it is very, very funny and loads of fun.

From the opening moments, the Coens' latest movie -- a spy-thriller spoof -- hurls the viewer on a hilarious romp through Absurd-land. What better place to set such a story than Washington, DC?

The story involves a demoted government worker (John Malkovich) who finds himself the target of an extortion scheme by two gym workers, riotously played by Frances McDormand (a would-be gym bunny if only she could afford some plastic surgery) and Brad Pitt (a high-energy, arm-thrusting, hip-shaking fitness trainer-cum-"good Samaritan" who lands himself way in over his head). The romp soon turns dark.

As usual, the Coens' dialog is a real treat. When a co-worker points to Malkovich's alcohol problems as a reason for his demotion, Malkovich retorts, "You're a Mormon. Next to you we all have a drinking problem." And as usual in Coen-land, there's a clash between high and low brow. Malkovich's pronunciations of "mem-wahhh" for "memoir" is a hoot, and his correction of Pitt's mistaken "report" for "rapport" propels a conflict between classes and types -- symbols of a society in trouble, whose priorities are askew.

As in the Coen brothers' 1987 box-office hit RAISING ARIZONA, obsessions fuel the plot, though this time it's body (not baby) obsession. McDormand is hellbent on getting expensive elective surgery to "reinvent" herself. Pitt is a workout addict, who can barely stop moving long enough to think straight. And George Clooney, who can only stop talking when it's time to go running or jump into bed with someone, plays a G-man fixated on sex. Notions of "intelligence" and all that the word connotes (along with its antonyms) mix into the film's dark comedic brew of unintended consequences.

Where does it go? I don't want to give away any of the twists to answer that question in depth. But I would disagree with the critics who claim it doesn't go anywhere. The movie and its over-the-top, needless violence show how secretive missions even by bumbling know-nothings (whose only knowledge of undercover ops seems to come from spy flicks) can have disastrous outcomes. Secrets in Washington? Sure sounds like a topic we should all be better versed in.

  • Erica Rowell Author: The Brothers Grim: The Films of Ethan and Joel


Coen http://www.amazon.com/Brothers-Grim-Films-Ethan-Joel/dp/0810858509


150 of 261 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

Message Boards

Recent Posts
How many times did you laugh? Eric_Thompsan
How Stupid Do the Coens Think We Are? giarmomatthew
What don't people like about this movie? psychedelically
Why the 'Comedy' tag? Destiny_Cloud_Fist
Is Osborne Cox the biggest a-hole in movie history? trivial_matt
Any other teenagers like this? billyfws
Discuss Burn After Reading (2008) on the IMDb message boards »

Contribute to This Page