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Burn After Reading (2008)

7.0
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Ratings: 7.0/10 from 206,054 users   Metascore: 63/100
Reviews: 530 user | 329 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.

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Nominated for 2 Golden Globes. Another 4 wins & 15 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, 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 more »

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:

 »
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Details

Official Sites:

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Country:

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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:

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Color:

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

On Palmer's office in one of the opening scenes of the film, you can see some pictures on the wall behind Palmer on the right side. One of the pictures is a photo of Chilean dictator Augusto Pinochet shaking hands with Henry Kissinger, US Secretary of State. Kissinger and The CIA acknowledged having played a key role in the coup led by General Pinochet that toppled the Marxist government of Salvador Allende in 1973, the democratically elected president of Chile at the time. 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

Harry Pfarrer: Maybe I can get a run in.
See more »

Crazy Credits

A female attorney handled 'Serious Matters' See more »

Connections

Featured in The Tonight Show with Jay Leno: Episode #21.177 (2013) See more »

Soundtracks

On The Floor
(2008)
Written by Taryn Murphy and Chris Landon
Performed by Taryn Murphy
Courtesy of Getty Images
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

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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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? blueirony
Is Osborne Cox the biggest a-hole in movie history? trivial_matt
What happened to Brad Pitt's body? jimmyjameson8
Any other teenagers like this? billyfws
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