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Burn After Reading (2008)

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A disk containing mysterious information from a CIA agent ends up in the hands of two unscrupulous and daft gym employees who attempt to sell it.

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Nominated for 2 Golden Globes. Another 5 wins & 27 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

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

Osbourne Cox, a Balkan expert, resigned from the CIA because of a drinking problem, 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 CD-ROM 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 cosmetic 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

Taglines:

A high stakes love life and Jewel CIA shelter. 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:

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Details

Official Sites:

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Release Date:

12 September 2008 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Quémese después de leerse  »

Box Office

Budget:

$37,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

$19,128,001 (USA) (12 September 2008)

Gross:

$60,338,891 (USA) (19 December 2008)
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Company Credits

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Technical Specs

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1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The opening film of the 2008 Venice Film Festival. See more »

Goofs

Katie reports that it's 5.2 miles on the odometer from the Cox residence on Olive St. NW to West Potomac Park just off the Lincoln Memorial. It's actually no more than about two miles. This may be deliberate however. Harry often lies to try to impress his dates. Perhaps he had Katie go the long away around to the park so he could take the shortcut back that his about two miles, but implying that it is 5 miles to Katie. See more »

Quotes

CIA Superior: For now just keep an eye on everyone. See what they do.
CIA Officer: Yes, sir. And we'll interface with the FBI on this dead body.
CIA Superior: No, no. God no. We don't want those idiots bumbling around in this. Burn the body. Get rid of it. And, uh, keep an eye on everyone. See what they do. Report back to me when, uh, I don't know, when it makes sense.
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Crazy Credits

There is credit for 'The Walrus' See more »


Soundtracks

My Eyes Adored You
(1974)
Written by Bob Crewe and Kenny Nolan
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Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

 
Another Hit from the genius of the Coens.
4 September 2008 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

There's a point in this movie that George Clooney's character, Harry Pfarrer shows Frances McDormand's character Linda Litzke something that we've seen him working on for about half the movie. It was so surprising when I first saw it, that at first, I didn't even know what it was.

Once again, the Coens have created wonderful characters, including Clooney, who is a womanizer and paranoid that people are following him, and McDormand, who just wants plastic surgery in order to look better. Also, there's John Malkovich as Osbourne Cox, who "doesn't have a drinking problem," and maybe the best in the movie, Brad Pitt as Chad, a clueless gym employee who is pushed along by McDormand.

The only character that isn't up to par with the rest is Tilda Swinton's character of Katie Cox, Osbourne's wife. She doesn't get as many laughs as the rest, and it seems like the Coens just needed her as a plot device rather than an actual character. However, she may not be funny, but she does play the character well.

The writing is brilliant and the Coens weave the story in such a way that it reminds me of their previous movie, The Big Lebowski. In the end, as J.K. Simmons character sums it up himself, nothing really happens, but while watching it all unfold, you can't help but laugh at the absurdity.


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