MOVIEmeter
Top 5000
Down 308 this week

Burn After Reading (2008)

R  |   |  Comedy, Crime, Drama  |  12 September 2008 (USA)
7.0
Your rating:
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 -/10 X  
Ratings: 7.0/10 from 221,231 users   Metascore: 63/100
Reviews: 534 user | 331 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

ON TV
ON DISC
ALL

User Lists

Related lists from IMDb users

a list of 28 titles
created 04 May 2011
 
a list of 25 titles
created 15 Jun 2012
 
a list of 42 titles
created 20 Nov 2012
 
a list of 21 titles
created 3 months ago
 
a list of 38 titles
created 2 months ago
 

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 5 wins & 17 nominations. See more awards »

Videos

Photos

Learn more

People who liked this also liked... 

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
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
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 teenager track down her father's murderer.

Directors: Ethan Coen, Joel Coen
Stars: Jeff Bridges, Matt Damon, Hailee Steinfeld
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 | 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
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
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
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
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 | Fantasy
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  

A puppeteer discovers a portal that leads literally into the head of the movie star, John Malkovich.

Director: Spike Jonze
Stars: John Cusack, Cameron Diaz, Catherine Keener
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
Blood Simple. (1984)
Crime | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  

A rich but jealous man hires a private investigator to kill his cheating wife and her new man. But, when blood is involved, nothing is simple.

Directors: Joel Coen, Ethan Coen
Stars: John Getz, Frances McDormand, Dan Hedaya
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 (138) »

Taglines:

Intelligence is only their job. 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

Excluding the end credits' song, the F-word and its derivatives is used 62 times, mostly by Osborne Cox (John Malkovich) and Harry Pfarrer (George Clooney), including 6 times in the first 2 minutes. See more »

Goofs

Chad and Linda enjoy a Jamba Juice together. There are no Jamba Juice stores within 50 miles of Washington, DC. See more »

Quotes

[after having found a CD they believe contains files of the CIA]
Linda Litzke: You should put up a note in the ladies locker room.
Chad Feldheimer: Put up a note? "Highly classified shit found: Signal intelligence shit, CIA shit?" Hello, anybody lose their secret CIA shit? I don't think so!
See more »

Crazy Credits

As usual, the Coen Brothers edited this film under the pseudonym Roderick Jaynes See more »

Connections

Referenced in Bum Reviews: Burn After Reading (2008) 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

 
I hate to say this, but "Meh."
27 October 2008 | by (Australia) – See all my reviews

I have heard it said that a good film has no bad scenes and four good ones. Well, 'Burn After Reading' has no bad scenes... and no really good ones either.

The film was consistently amusing, and kept me interested enough to want to see what happens next. The ending was not predictable, nor was it entirely unsatisfactory. Never once did the film insult my intelligence or presume upon me to care for a character without providing sufficient reason. These are all good things. But while we're talking about things this film never did, never once did this "comedy" amuse me enough to actually consider it "funny".

Now, that's not good at all.

As has been pointed out in the consistently funny comic 'Calvin and Hobbes', there is more to 'good' than the mere absence of evil. So while, unlike almost every other film I've ever seen, 'Burn After Reading' has no flaws or niggly little bits where I'm left thinking how I'd do things differently, it doesn't have any particularly good bits either, and has ultimately left me underwhelmed.

It's like we've had some sort of yin-yang trade-off, where by removing the bad we have unwittingly eliminated the good, stranding the film in limbo for eternity.

So, did 'Burn After Reading' amuse me? Yes, I was amused, though I never once laughed out loud.

Do I regret seeing it? Not really. It kept me interested for 90 minutes, which is more than I can say for a lot of other films out there.

Was it a good film? My feelings here are truly mixed, though ultimately I'd have to say "I don't think so".

I'm guessing that critics are going crazy over this film because it doesn't make any of the irritating mistakes that plague so many other films. The story is solid with no plot holes or overt clichés, the characters are well written and consistent, it never talks down to the audience, the acting is great and so is the directing.

Now, as a point of comparison I'd like you to consider 'Open Season'. This aimated film was flawed at many levels, from sluggish direction to uninspired writing and miscast actors. But in addition to this there were at least half a dozen really funny bits in it.

My point here is that while much of 'Open Season' was regrettable, at least I laughed six times. Which is six more times than I laughed during 'Burn After Reading'. As a result, I remember 'Open Season' much more fondly, despite it being the inferior film in almost every way.

In conclusion, 'Burn After Reading' just isn't exciting or funny enough to cut any sort of mustard, and so we have a film that a lot can be learned from, both in what to and not to do when making a film.

I mean, seriously. My prevailing feeling with regard to 'Burn After Reading' is one of apathy. That's never good.


338 of 636 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

Message Boards

Recent Posts
The Brutal Beatdown Don_Cheech
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
Is Osborne Cox the biggest a-hole in movie history? trivial_matt
Why the 'Comedy' tag? Destiny_Cloud_Fist
Discuss Burn After Reading (2008) on the IMDb message boards »

Contribute to This Page