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Burn After Reading
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Burn After Reading (2008) More at IMDbPro »

Photos (See all 118 | slideshow) Videos (see all 18)
Burn After Reading -- George Clooney and Brad Pitt star in this outrageous spy comedy about murder, blackmail, and physical fitness that critics are calling, "smart, funny, and original" (Ben Lyons, E!).
Burn After Reading -- Burn After Reading - Theatrical Trailer
Burn After Reading -- Clip: The perils of goat cheese
Burn After Reading -- Tilda Swinton in Burn After Reading
Burn After Reading -- Interview: Frances McDormand "On Brad Pitt's performance"


User Rating:
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Popularity: ?
Up 27% in popularity this week. See why on IMDbPro.
Writers (WGA):
Joel Coen (written by) &
Ethan Coen (written by)
View company contact information for Burn After Reading on IMDbPro.
Release Date:
12 September 2008 (USA) See more »
Intelligence is relative. See more »
A disk containing the memoirs of a CIA agent ends up in the hands of two unscrupulous gym employees who attempt to sell it. Full summary » | Full synopsis »
Plot Keywords:
Nominated for 2 Golden Globes. Another 6 wins & 20 nominations See more »
User Reviews:
Not what I expected: dark, over-the-top, hilarious but surprisingly poignant See more (543 total) »


  (in credits order) (verified as complete)

George Clooney ... Harry Pfarrer

Frances McDormand ... Linda Litzke

Brad Pitt ... Chad Feldheimer

John Malkovich ... Osborne Cox

Tilda Swinton ... Katie Cox

Richard Jenkins ... Ted

Elizabeth Marvel ... Sandy Pfarrer

David Rasche ... CIA Officer

J.K. Simmons ... CIA Superior (as JK Simmons)

Olek Krupa ... Krapotkin

Michael Countryman ... Alan

Kevin Sussman ... Tuchman Marsh Man
J.R. Horne ... Divorce Lawyer (as JR Horne)

Hamilton Clancy ... Peck

Armand Schultz ... Olson

Pun Bandhu ... Party Guest

Karla Mosley ... Party Guest

Jeffrey DeMunn ... Cosmetic Surgeon

Richard Poe ... Stretching Gym Patron
Carmen M. Herlihy ... Prospective Gym Customer
Raul Aranas ... Manolo (as Raul Arañas)
Judy Frank ... Lawyer's Secretary
Sándor Técsy ... Russian Embassy Escort (as Sandor Tecsy)

Yury Tsykun ... Senior Russian Embassy Man

Brian O'Neill ... Hal
Robert Prescott ... Process Server

Matt Walton ... Morning Show Host

Lori Hammel ... Morning Show Hostess
Crystal Bock ... PR Woman

Patrick Boll ... Sandy's Man

Logan Kulick ... Four-Year-Old Patient

Dermot Mulroney ... Star of "Coming Up Daisy"
Robert R. Barry ... Drunken Princetonian
Ted Bouton ... Drunken Princetonian

Bob Bowersox ... Drunken Princetonian
Oliver Buckingham ... Drunken Princetonian
Michael Fawcett ... Drunken Princetonian

William Fowle ... Drunken Princetonian
Charles Gemmill ... Drunken Princetonian
Mitch Giannunzio ... Drunken Princetonian

Cliff Goulet ... Drunken Princetonian
William D. Grey ... Drunken Princetonian
Gary Henderson ... Drunken Princetonian

Ron Kidd ... Drunken Princetonian
Bill Massof ... Drunken Princetonian
Brian McKeon ... Drunken Princetonian
Ken McNeill ... Drunken Princetonian

Tim Miller ... Drunken Princetonian
Jay Parks ... Drunken Princetonian

Roger Rathburn ... Drunken Princetonian

Eric Richardson ... Drunken Princetonian
Bart Wilder ... Drunken Princetonian
rest of cast listed alphabetically:

Stephen Ananicz ... Gym Guy (uncredited)

James Thomas Bligh ... Lt. Macdonald (uncredited)

Matt Cannon ... Tourist (uncredited)

Justin Doescher ... Suspicious Man (uncredited)

Kimberly Dorsey ... Tourist (uncredited)

Liam Ferguson ... Businessman (uncredited)
Matthew James Gulbranson ... Midwestern Tourist (uncredited)
Joe Jagatic ... CIA Agent (uncredited)

Richard Karn ... Himself - Family Feud Host (archive footage) (uncredited)

RJ Konner ... Senator (uncredited)
T. Alloy Langenfeld ... Nam Vet Visiting WWII Memorial (uncredited)

Melissa Merry ... Pedestrian (uncredited)

Mike Monroe ... Tourist (uncredited)
Douglas Nelson ... Man in Park (uncredited)
Vito Pietanza ... Runner (uncredited)

Lil Rhee ... Tourist (uncredited)
Devin Rumer ... Surveillance Man (uncredited)

Patrick Michael Strange ... Tourist (uncredited)

Kevin Tan ... Suspicious Tourist - Day Player (uncredited)

Jacqueline Wright ... Monica (uncredited)

Directed by
Ethan Coen 
Joel Coen 
Writing credits
Joel Coen (written by) &
Ethan Coen (written by)

Produced by
Tim Bevan .... executive producer
Ethan Coen .... producer
Joel Coen .... producer
David Diliberto .... associate producer
Eric Fellner .... executive producer
Robert Graf .... executive producer
Original Music by
Carter Burwell 
Cinematography by
Emmanuel Lubezki (director of photography)
Film Editing by
Ethan Coen  (as Roderick Jaynes)
Joel Coen 
Casting by
Ellen Chenoweth 
Production Design by
Jess Gonchor 
Art Direction by
David Swayze 
Set Decoration by
Nancy Haigh 
Costume Design by
Mary Zophres 
Makeup Department
Eileen Barrett .... additional hair stylist: Washington, DC
Jean Ann Black .... makeup department head (as Jean A. Black)
Barbara Lacy .... additional makeup artist: Washington, DC
Lyndell Quiyou .... department head hair stylist (as Lyn Quiyou)
Patricia Regan .... key makeup artist
Sonia Rivera .... key hair stylist
Waldo Sanchez .... hair stylist: Mr. Clooney
Sherri Bramlett .... hair stylist (uncredited)
Jane Choi .... assistant makeup artist (uncredited)
Production Management
Karen Ruth Getchell .... unit supervisor: Washington DC
Robert Graf .... unit production manager
Neri Kyle Tannenbaum .... unit production manager
Michelle Wright .... executive in charge of post-production: Working Title
Second Unit Director or Assistant Director
Bac DeLorme .... second assistant director
Betsy Magruder .... first assistant director (as Elizabeth Magruder)
Michelle McGrier .... dga trainee
John Silvestri .... second second assistant director
Kurt Uebersax .... second second assistant director: Washington D.C.
Ronan O'Connor .... second assistant director: additional photography (uncredited)
Art Department
J. Todd Anderson .... graphite operator
JoAnn Atwood .... set dresser (as Joann Atwood)
Anthony Baldasare .... prop assistant
Steve Brennan .... on-set dresser
Kenny Burke .... construction grip (as Ken Burke)
Diana Burton .... property master
Carolyn Cartwright .... assistant set decorator
Rebecca Castle .... scenic: Washington, DC
Carl Catanese .... set dresser: Washington, DC
Eric Cheripka .... prop assistant
Frank Didio .... key construction foreman
Robert DiGrigoli .... foreman (as Robert Digrigoli)
Gregory Dressel .... construction grip (as Greg Dressel)
Steven T. Duke .... set dresser (as Steve Duke)
Alex Gorodetsky .... charge scenic
Roman Greller .... set dresser
Vincent Guarriello .... key construction grip
Jay Hendrickx .... camera scenic
Gregory Hill .... graphic designer
Deborah Jensen .... assistant art director
Ana Lombardo .... assistant property master
Jeffrey D. McDonald .... assistant art director (as Jeffrey McDonald)
David Meade .... construction production assistant
Rebecca Meis DeMarco .... set decoration buyer (as Becca Demarco)
Timothy Metzger .... lead dresser (as Tim Metzger)
Suzanne Mjartan .... set dresser
Mike Montgomery .... key construction grip (as Michael Montgomery)
Beth Morris .... props assistant: Washington, DC
Leann Murphy .... art department coordinator
Quang Nguyen .... scenic foreman
Tobin Ost .... assistant art director (as Tobin Obst)
Joseph S. Patire .... shop craftsman
Ron Petagna .... construction coordinator (as Ronald Petagna)
Ronnie Petagna .... foreman (as Ronnie A. Petagna)
Daniel Rosenfeld .... shop scenic
Moza Saracho .... art department production assistant
Sha-Sha Shiau .... set decorating coordinator
Stephen G. Shifflette .... set dresser: Washington, DC (as Steve Shifflette)
Nithya Shrinivasan .... assistant art director
Paul Steinberg .... shop electric
Joe Taglairino .... set dresser (as Joe Tag)
Paul Weathered .... set dressing foreman
Michael Acevedo .... carpenter (uncredited)
Glen Aldous .... scenic artist (uncredited)
Robert Antalocy .... carpenter (uncredited)
Terri Brennan .... set dresser (uncredited)
Gabu Camilo .... set dresser (uncredited)
Lou Charles .... set dresser (uncredited)
James Donahue .... scenic artist (uncredited)
Joshua Higgason .... set dresser (uncredited)
Luke Malloy .... greensman (uncredited)
Victor Morales .... scenic (uncredited)
John Ralbovsky .... scenic (uncredited)
Jeffrey Rollins .... set dresser (uncredited)
Steve Rosenzweig .... scenic artist (uncredited)
Andrew Rossig .... construction foreman (uncredited)
Amy Safhay .... lead greensperson (uncredited)
Dylan Jude Sheridan .... set dresser (uncredited)
Marcia C. Suter .... scenic artist (uncredited)
Christopher Weiser .... scenic artist (uncredited)
Sound Department
Craig Berkey .... sound designer
Craig Berkey .... sound re-recording mixer
Laurel Bridges .... boom operator
Johnna Chism .... assistant sound editor
Joel Dougherty .... first assistant sound editor
Catherine Harper .... foley artist
Kenton Jakub .... adr editor
Peter F. Kurland .... sound mixer (as Peter Kurland)
Skip Lievsay .... sound re-recording mixer
Skip Lievsay .... supervising sound editor
Tommy Louie .... cableperson
Darrin Mann .... foley mixer
Christopher Moriana .... foley artist (as Chris Moriana)
James Morioka .... foley editor
Greg Orloff .... sound re-recording mixer
Byron Wilson .... dialogue editor
Peter Gleaves .... adr mixer (uncredited)
Rick Gould .... adr recordist (uncredited)
Eric Harwood .... sound recordist (uncredited)
Special Effects by
Wilfred Caban .... assistant special effects foreman (as Will Caban)
Carmen Campolo .... special effects
Lorenzo Hall .... special effects assistant
Steven Kirshoff .... special effects coordinator (as Steve Kirshoff)
Frank C. Oliva Sr. .... special effects (as Frank Oliva)
Roy Savoy .... special effects
Thomas Viviano .... special effects (as Tommy Viviano)
Visual Effects by
Randall Balsmeyer .... visual effects supervisor: Big Film Design (as Randy Balsmeyer)
Ella Boliver .... digital compositor: Big Film Design
J. John Corbett .... lead digital artist: Big Film Design
Justin Johnson .... digital effects supervisor: Luma Pictures
Scott Minter .... digital compositor: Big Film Design
David Piombino .... digital compositor: Big Film Design
Adrienne Winterhalter .... visual effects producer: Big Film Design
Daniel Abramovich .... digital compositor (uncredited)
Justin Ball .... digital effects artist: senior systems engineer: Brainstorm Digital (uncredited)
Leslie Chung .... rotoscope artist (uncredited)
Vincent Cirelli .... visual effects supervisor: Luma Pictures (uncredited)
Matthew Conner .... digital artist (uncredited)
J. John Corbett .... digital compositor (uncredited)
Aleksandar Djordjevic .... digital compositor (uncredited)
Richard Friedlander .... visual effects producer: Brainstorm Digital (uncredited)
Ali Kocar .... digital compositor (uncredited)
Thomas Mathai .... data manager (uncredited)
Mitch Paulson .... second digital colorist: Efilm (uncredited)
Bethany Pederson Onstad .... rotoscope artist (uncredited)
Raphael A. Pimentel .... animation supervisor (uncredited)
Eric J. Robertson .... visual effects supervisor: Brainstorm Digital (uncredited)
Michael Ross-Lang .... digital compositor (uncredited)
Payam Shohadai .... executive visual effects supervisor: Luma Pictures (uncredited)
Chris 'Pinkus' Wesselman .... digital compositor: Brainstorm Digital (uncredited)
Jun Zhang .... digital compositor (uncredited)
Danny Aiello III .... stunts
Bill Anagnos .... stunts
Tim Buchanan .... stunts
George B. Colucci Jr. .... stunts (as George Colucci)
Norman Douglass .... stunts
Danny Downey .... stunts (as Daniel Downey)
Stephanie Finochio .... stunts
Cort Hessler .... stunts
Donald John Hewitt .... stunts (as Donald J. Hewitt)
Jery Hewitt .... stunt coordinator
Jennifer Lamb .... stunts
Joanne Lamstein .... stunts
Samantha MacIvor .... stunts (as Samantha Macivor)
Mick O'Rourke .... stunts
Janet Paparazzo .... stunts
David Shumbris .... stunt double: Brad Pitt
Keith Siglinger .... stunts
Michael Ahl .... precision driver (uncredited)
Dennis Albanese .... precision driver (uncredited)
Samantha MacIvor .... stunt driver (uncredited)
Camera and Electrical Department
Wesley Battle .... grip
Eric Boncher .... lamp operator
Sarah Brandes .... camera loader: Washington, DC
Edward Button .... camera trainee
Kevin 'Vinnie' Campbell .... gaffer: Washington, DC
Brian Carmichael .... production video assist
Glen Engels .... best boy grip (as Glenn Engels)
Richie Ford .... rigging gaffer
Randy Greer .... remote head operator: Washington, DC
Scott Gregoire .... lamp operator
Joseph Grimaldi .... best boy electric (as Joe Grimaldi)
Richard Guinness Jr. .... key grip
Victor Huey .... grip
Billy Kerwick .... key rigging grip (as William Kerwick)
Jeremy Knaster .... lamp operator
Oriana Lewton-Leopold .... camera trainee
Bobby Mancuso .... first assistant camera: "a" camera (as Robert Mancuso)
Patrick McAllister .... genny operator: Washington, DC (as Pat McCallister)
Patrick McGrath .... dolly grip
Todd Norton .... rigging electric: Washington, DC
Bill O'Leary .... chief lighting technician
Louis Petraglia .... best boy rigging gaffer (as Louie Petraglia)
Macall B. Polay .... still photographer (as Macall Polay)
George Richmond .... camera operator: "a" camera
George Richmond .... steadicam operator
Peter Rosenfeld .... camera operator: Washington, DC
Michael Rudolph .... genny operator: base camp
Stuart Stein .... second assistant camera: Washington, DC (as Stewart Stein)
Robert Stevers .... genny operator (as Bob Stevers)
Scott Tinsley .... second assistant camera: "a" camera
Basil Tydings .... rigging electric: Washington, DC (as Basil 'Chip' Tydings)
Joseph Viano .... best boy rigging grip (as Joe Viano)
Robert Vuolo .... lamp operator (as Rob Vuolo)
Russell A. Wicks .... best boy electric: Washington, DC (as Russell Wicks)
Yueni Zander .... camera loader
Tanner Bayer .... grip: Washington, DC (uncredited)
Mark Beattie .... electrician (uncredited)
Hilary Benas .... additional camera loader (uncredited)
Jeff Callow .... grip: Washington, DC (uncredited)
Tim Ferraer .... grip (uncredited)
Zachary Henderson .... grip (uncredited)
John Keating .... grip (uncredited)
Christopher Moats .... grip: Washington, DC (uncredited)
Monty Nielsen .... construction electrician (uncredited)
Brent Poleski .... grip (uncredited)
Guillaume Renberg .... remote camera operator (uncredited)
Michael Rich .... lighting technician (uncredited)
Lance Rieck .... remote camera technician: scorpio head (uncredited)
Lance Shepherd .... rigging electrician (uncredited)
Michael Wacks .... lamp operator (uncredited)
Robert D. Yeoman .... additional photographer (uncredited)
Casting Department
Melissa Braun .... extras casting associate
Barbara Harris .... voice casting
Rachel Tenner .... casting associate
Grant Wilfley .... extras casting
Mandy Sprinkel .... location casting (uncredited)
Dagmar Wittmer .... extras casting (uncredited)
Costume and Wardrobe Department
Cha Blevins .... wardrobe supervisor: LA
Danielle Cadorette .... tailor
David Davenport .... wardrobe supervisor: NY
Nicole Greenbaum .... set costumer
Fionnuala M. Lynch .... set costumer (as Fionnuala Lynch)
Mary Jo McGrath .... wardrobe supervisor: NY (as MJ McGrath)
Remy Pearce .... costume coordinator
Amy Roth .... assistant costume designer
Jonathan Schwartz .... costume assistant
Nomi Shichor .... key costumer: LA
Nora Wooldridge .... costume assistant
Helen L. Collen .... costumer (uncredited)
Michael Simon .... costumer: Washington, DC (uncredited)
Editorial Department
Catherine Farrell .... post-production coordinator
Eileen Godoy .... digital intermediate producer: EFilm
Katie Mcquerrey .... associate editor (as Catherine McQuerrey)
Steven J. Scott .... supervising digital colorist: EFilm
Neil A. Stelzner .... associate editor
Joe Violante .... dailies advisor (as Joey Violante)
Erik Freid .... post-production project manager (uncredited)
Dale E. Grahn .... color timer (uncredited)
Matt Hull .... assistant digital intermediate producer (uncredited)
Curtis Lindersmith .... digital intermediate editor (uncredited)
Jim Passon .... color timer (uncredited)
Richie Roefaro .... editorial assistant: Technicolor (uncredited)
Music Department
Paul Clarvis .... musician: drums
Michael Farrow .... music mixer (as Mike Farrow)
Michael Farrow .... music recordist (as Mike Farrow)
Isobel Griffiths .... orchestra contractor
Dave Hartley .... musician: piano
Todd Kasow .... music editor
Gary Kettel .... musician: drums
Frank Ricotti .... musician: drums
Chris Robertson .... music clearances: Diamond Time
Ralph Salmins .... musician: drums
Rosemary Warren-Green .... orchestra leader (as Rose Warren-Green)
Lucy Whalley .... assistant orchestra contractor
Mark Berrow .... musician: violin (uncredited)
Carter Burwell .... conductor (uncredited)
Carter Burwell .... orchestrator (uncredited)
Chris Clad .... musician: violin (uncredited)
Lewis Jones .... assistant score engineer (uncredited)
Todd Kasow .... composer: additional music (uncredited)
Sonny Kompanek .... orchestrator (uncredited)
Dean Parker .... composer assistant (uncredited)
Bruce White .... viola (uncredited)
Jonathan Williams .... musician: cello (uncredited)
Transportation Department
Peter Clores .... transportation co-captain
Steven R. Hammond .... transportation captain (as Steve Hammond)
Christina Schaich .... transportation office coordinator
Gabe Turiello .... transportation
Danielle Fredrickson .... transportation dispatcher (uncredited)
Teresa Haney .... transportation (uncredited)
Gabe Turiello .... driver: star trailer (uncredited)
Other crew
Joan Altman .... production accountant
Christina Angeloudes .... legal and business affairs manager: Working Title
Sage Asteak .... key set production assistant
Kate Bailey .... assistant production coordinator: Working Title
Brette Billow .... assistant production coordinator
Maurice Cabrera .... parking coordinator
Ethan Carlson .... office production assistant
Stephen Clarke .... set production assistant
Santena Jenaris King Clough .... assistant accountant: Washington, DC (as Santena King)
Wendy Cohen .... clearance services
Tianni L. Craig .... production office assistant: Washington, DC
Katherine Delaney .... location assistant
Chloe Dorigan .... assistant: Tim Bevan, Working Title
Kimberly N. Fajen .... production coordinator (as Kimberly N. Haden)
Beth Feldman .... assistant: Ms. McDormand
Kathleen Fellegara .... set medic (as Kathy Fellegara)
Glenn Ferrara .... set production assistant
Amanda Foley .... location coordinator
Marcy Forgang .... location assistant
Rachael Lin Gallaghan .... unit coordinator: Washington, DC
Andrew Garrett .... accounting clerk
Christopher Geair .... assistant location manager: Washington, DC
Dena Ghieth .... location assistant
Niko Godfrey .... accounting clerk
Cort Hessler .... marine coordinator
Drew P. Houpt .... the walrus (as Drew Houpt)
Thomas Johnston .... script supervisor
Larry Kaplan .... unit publicist
Nazia Khan .... assistant: Mr. Pitt
Matt Lake .... set production assistant
Christopher LeStrange .... location assistant
Michael B. Lewis .... office production assistant (as Michael 'Winn' Lewis)
Francesca M. Mannix .... production secretary (as Francesca Mannix)
Angel McConnell .... assistant: Mr. Clooney
Angela Morrison .... chief operating officer: Working Title
Patricia M. Murphy .... serious matters (as Patricia M. Murphy Esq.)
Kip Myers .... assistant location manager
Lauri Pitkus .... location manager
Peggy Pridemore .... location manager: Washington, DC
Chauency Reese .... payroll accountant
Michael J. Regina .... production office assistant: Washington, D.C.
Doreen Roman .... set medic
Patrick Sandefur .... office production assistant
Bryan Scott .... location assistant
John Sesumi .... office production assistant
Sheeraz Shah .... head of legal and business affairs: Working Title
Raygun Sharpadero .... second assistant accountant (as Regan Sharp)
Cara Shine .... assistant: Eric Fellner, Working Title
John Spady .... location scout
Susan Strine .... first assistant accountant
Christian Vendetti .... set production assistant
Jamie Vermilye .... location assistant
Zach Broussard .... production assistant (uncredited)
Allyn Camp .... production assistant (uncredited)
Al Cerullo .... helicopter pilot (uncredited)
Brian M. Chilcoat .... production assistant (uncredited)
Michael P. Cone .... production assistant (uncredited)
J. John Corbett .... title designer (uncredited)
Ana Cuadra .... location scout (uncredited)
Kevin Curtin .... production assistant (uncredited)
Michael DeChant .... production assistant: Washington DC (uncredited)
Charles Fagin .... assistant location manager: Los Angeles (uncredited)
Todd Feaser .... location assistant (uncredited)
Rob Fiks .... location assistant (uncredited)
Rob Fiks .... production assistant (uncredited)
Miguel Gutierrez .... assistant location manager (uncredited)
Chad Hessler .... marine department (uncredited)
Hannah Hoover .... production assistant (uncredited)
Jeff Johnson .... medic (uncredited)
Douglas M. Jones .... set production assistant: Washington, DC (uncredited)
Tim Kossa .... key location assistant: Washington, DC (uncredited)
Harry Lapham .... production assistant (uncredited)
Alex Lee .... production assistant: re-shoots (uncredited)
Lindsey Magee .... location scout (uncredited)
Victoria Marie .... production assistant (uncredited)
Talia Mayer .... production assistant (uncredited)
Ethan Meyer .... production assistant (uncredited)
Liz Modena .... assistant accountant (uncredited)
Elena Moscatt .... key craft services: Washington DC (uncredited)
Paulette Osorio .... publicity executive (uncredited)
Justin Reid .... location scout (uncredited)
Brieann Rich .... set medic (uncredited)
Kara Ryan .... production assistant (uncredited)
Elizabeth Sherman .... production assistant (uncredited)
Rick Shine .... production assistant (uncredited)
Susan Silas .... location scout (uncredited)
Brian J. Simpson .... production assistant: re-shoots (uncredited)
Heli Soell .... assistant post-production accountant (uncredited)
Megan Taylor .... production assistant (uncredited)
William Thompson .... personal fitness trainer (uncredited)
Clinton Trucks .... office assistant: Los Angeles (uncredited)
David Vogel .... production assistant: Washington, DC (uncredited)
David Wenzel .... stand-in (uncredited)
Bill Hudson .... special thanks
Suzanne Lindbergh .... special thanks
Pina Martinelli .... special thanks: Bronx Community College
Michael Wong .... special thanks
Beverly Wood .... special thanks
Jeffrey Mowery .... thanks (uncredited)
Aimée Ricca .... thanks (uncredited)
Crew believed to be complete

Production CompaniesDistributorsSpecial EffectsOther Companies

Additional Details

Also Known As:
Rated R for pervasive language, some sexual content and violence
96 min
Aspect Ratio:
1.85 : 1 See more »
Sound Mix:
Argentina:16 | Australia:MA15+ | Austria:12 | Brazil:14 | Canada:14A (Alberta/British Columbia/Ontario) | Canada:13+ (Québec) | Czech Republic:15 | Denmark:15 | Finland:K-13 | France:U | Germany:12 (f) | Hong Kong:IIB | Iceland:16 (original rating) | Iceland:14 (video rating) | Ireland:15A | Japan:PG-12 | Netherlands:12 | New Zealand:R16 | Norway:15 | Peru:14 | Philippines:R-13 (MTRCB) | Portugal:M/12 | Singapore:M18 | Singapore:NC-16 (cut) | South Korea:18 | Sweden:15 | Switzerland:12 (canton of Geneva) | Switzerland:12 (canton of Vaud) | UK:15 | USA:R (certificate #44448)

Did You Know?

George Clooney's second film opposite Tilda Swinton following Michael Clayton (2007) the year before. While in this film they play lovers, in the other they are rivals.See more »
Continuity: When Osbourne is getting demoted, a gold pen keeps appearing and disappearing on the desk.See more »
Osbourne Cox:[on phone] Tell Dr. Cox I have the new keys!
[Osbourne hangs up, and picks up a hatchet]
See more »
Movie Connections:
Referenced in A Serious Man (2009)See more »
Funny FarmSee more »


What is the song that plays in the end credits?
Were Osborne Cox's memoirs on the disc?
Is "Burn After Reading" based on a book?
See more »
10 out of 16 people found the following review useful.
Not what I expected: dark, over-the-top, hilarious but surprisingly poignant, 18 October 2008
Author: Monotreme02

The Coen Brothers are an interesting pair, there's no doubt about that. Just as they did back in the 1980's with their debut and sophomore films, the Coens chose to follow up their most heavy-handed and serious film since Blood Simple, No Country for Old Men, with a nutty, over-the-top screwball black comedy. But unlike their second film, Raising Arizona, the Coens deliver Burn After Reading with a kind of newfound cynicism attached to it; it's funny, but it's also surprisingly dark and sad, and even poignant to some extent.

Based on the Coen's first wholly original screenplay since 2001's The Man Who Wasn't There, Burn After Reading features a plethora of classic Coen staples: repetitive (and brilliant) dialogue employing a strange and almost poetic use of curse words, a multifaceted plot featuring slightly dim-witted characters in way over their heads, blacker-than-the-night comedy, over-the-top performances from a pool of actors featuring recurring collaborators and newcomers to the Coen clan alike, and to tie it all off, a lesson-learning conclusion in which nothing ends up being learned at all. It's wonderful how the Coens complicate the plot so much only to round it all off perfectly in the end. Like all of their films, Burn After Reading is a carefully calculated dance in which every pause, every stutter and every camera move is planned in advance.

What I loved most about the movie is trying to get into the Coen's heads and see what they think is funny. What's for sure is that the brothers have the most unique sense of humour in Hollywood; superficially, it seems as if most of the film's comedy derives from over-the-top slapstick/screwball antics and bleak, black comedic situations and visual gags, but in reality Burn After Reading's comedy is a lot subtler than that. As I already mentioned, this is a film in which every twitch and stutter is calculated; fittingly, this is the real source of the film's hilarity, in the actors' facial expressions, subtleties, and delivery of the lines. It's great to think, for instance, that the Coens probably thought that applying a booming, ominous drum-dominated "epic"-type musical score to the movie in the style of a Tony Scott action-thriller would be absolutely hilarious, and that's just one example of the many jokes in the movie that just soar right over your head. In addition, I think that the Coen Brothers are probably the most talented employers of curse words in Hollywood. Many directors are familiar with the colourful phrases, some more than others, but only the Coens know how to make various S- and F- words utterly sidesplitting.

Blessed with one of the more impressive ensemble casts of any film this year, Burn After Reading inevitably features a plethora of good acting. Surprisingly good acting, actually, proving I suppose that the Coen's didn't really mean for this to be a total farce but do reach out for a little something more. Frances McDormand, George Clooney and John Malkovich all deliver fantastically colourful, over-the-top performances, but each of their characters also has an added level of sadness and poignancy to them that adds a little something more than physical comedy to the actors' performances: McDormand with her almost tragic loneliness and obsession with cosmetic surgery, along with her equally tragic ignorance of those around her that do appreciate her for what she is; Clooney with an equal amount of loneliness and desperation, and an undeniable air of incompetence abound him, suggesting that his mediocre job is probably the best he can get; and Malkovich, with his alcoholism and acute superiority complex. Tilda Swinton and the ever-great Richard Jenkins are a lot subtler than their higher-billed co-stars, and Brad Pitt delivers the only truly one-hundred percent cartoon performance in the film; thought despite its emptiness it's also the most enjoyable and completely hilarious.

J.K. Simmons I reserve for last; he only appears in two scenes in the film, but they are undoubtedly and by far the funniest and most successful scenes of the film. Props to him for admirably succeeding in carrying the Coen's hilarity to another level of deadpan comedy.

The Coen Brothers have an interesting sense of humour, and it is present up front and center in their latest film. Just the concept of following up a serious drama-thriller like No Country for Old Men with an over-the-top screwball black comedy probably seemed hilarious to them. Featuring great, uproarious performances from a stellar ensemble cast, the Coens really give it their all with their offbeat, so-subtle-half-the-jokes-soar-over-your-head comedy. And yet, the film occasionally does manage to reach out a little further from its apparent genre limitations and provides us with something more poignant and truthfully sad. It's even somewhat startling just how dark the movie gets and how cruel the Coens are to their characters. It wasn't quite what I expected, but then again, that's the Coen Brothers for you.

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What don't people like about this movie? psychedelically
Favorite scene? yassh611
I didn't get the scene with Ozzie's father Karma-For-You
The two CIA scenes made the whole movie worthwhile startobe
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