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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.

Directors:

Ethan Coen, Joel Coen

Writers:

Joel Coen, Ethan Coen
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Popularity
1,511 ( 117)

A Guide to the Films of the Coen Brothers

From Blood Simple to the new The Ballad of Buster Scruggs, we take a look at the offbeat stylings of Academy Award-winners Joel and Ethan Coen.

Dude, let's go bowling

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

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
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 J.R. Horne ... Divorce Lawyer (as JR Horne)
Hamilton Clancy ... Peck
Armand Schultz ... Olson
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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:

Intelligence is relative. See more »


Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

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

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Official Sites:

Official Facebook | Official site

Country:

USA | UK | France

Language:

English

Release Date:

12 September 2008 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Quémese después de leerse See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$37,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$19,128,001, 14 September 2008, Wide Release

Gross USA:

$60,355,347, 25 December 2008

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$163,720,069, 25 December 2008
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

SDDS | Dolby Digital | DTS

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The film "Coming Up Daisy" was titled "Tell Me That Again!" in the script. See more »

Goofs

In the final scene with Linda, in which she's being picked up by the CIA, an agent pulls alongside her on the right. In the second shot depicting him, the car is in the same spot, in a traffic lane (not parked), but the shifter is in the Park position. See more »

Quotes

Star of "Coming Up Daisy": [repeated line from the movie within the movie] we've been over, and over, and over this, first you say you can't commit, and then... would you come down from there?
See more »

Crazy Credits

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

Connections

Referenced in TableTop: Fiasco, Part 1 (2012) See more »

Soundtracks

Moon Over Western River
Traditional
Performed by Wei-min Ying (as Xiao Ying)
Courtesy of ARC Music Productions International Limited
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more »

User Reviews

 
The Coen Brothers don't make bad movies - they don't know how :)
15 September 2008 | by G_a_l_i_n_aSee all my reviews

After their Oscar winning turn last year, The Coen Brothers are back with the new film, this time comedy/crime/spy story which is very funny, very dark, quite angry, at times surreal, always ironic and to put it simply a must see for any Coens' fan which means a fan of great movie making. Comparing to the last year's Oscar Winner, No Country for Old Men, their new film may seem much lighter and provides many laughs. But keep in mind, it is comedy: Coens' style and it means that not always the most likable characters get what they look for. As much as the film is funny, it actually paints very disturbing picture about stupidly, idiocy, incompetence, inability to see one step ahead of your actions that keep filling every aspect of our existence with dangerous speed. I loved it - from the very first scene to the end. I laughed a lot, enjoyed the dialogs and the acting. How could I not with the dream cast that include John Malkovich, Tilda Swinton, George Clooney, Francis McDormand, and very funny and deliciously clueless, Brad Pitt, and many familiar faces in the small cameos. George Clooney who has made three films with The Coens got the funniest scenes, and gave IMO one of his best performances. John Malkovich has got to come out of his semi-retirement and act more. His every appearance in the film as forced to quit his job, very angry CIA Analyst who then decided to write a memoir, was a blast. Tilda Swinton as an arrogant icy cold professional woman, and Frances MacDormand as Linda who would stop at nothing in order to "re-invent herself", both added to the film's multiple delights.

This time, Coens' usual collaborator, Roger Deakins was not director of photography, instead, Emmanuel Lubezki, four times Oscar Nominee (for Children of Men, The New World, Sleepy Hollow, and A Little Princess) took care of camera-work. The film has very beautiful look to it, and I was happy to recognize some of my favorite places in Washington, DC and George Town.


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