Burn After Reading movie review

Burn After Reading movie poster

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The story begins with John Malkovich's character Osbourne (Ozzie) Cox being demoted at his job. He is accused by his associates of having a drinking problem. He goes on a cursing tirade and decides to just quit the job instead of accepting the demotion. We are then introduced to his wife Kate played by Tilda Swinton.

Ozzie and Kate host a party and a character named Harry played by George Clooney is one of the attendees. Harry and Kate are having an affair.

We soon learn that Kate is not the only woman with whom Harry is having an affair. There are many including a woman named Monica and Linda Litzke (played by Frances McDormand) soon becomes one of the other women.

Linda and Chad (Brad Pitt) are personal trainers. They work at Hard Bodies gym where Richard Jenkins character Ted is the manager.

One day at the gym, it is discovered that someone dropped a cd with classified information in the locker room. It turns out that the information belongs to Ozzie. His job had been as an Analyst with the CIA and when he quit he decided to write a memoir, which by his own determination could become "explosive".

Linda and Chad decide to blackmail Ozzie and demand a "Good Samaritan" reward for the files. Malkovich puts on a hilarious performance as he goes on another tirade. How dare they try to blackmail Ozzie? Do they know who they are dealing with?

Linda is an even more driven blackmailer than Chad is because she wants the reward money for a laundry list of plastic surgeries.

When Ozzie does not comply with providing the reward, Linda decides to give the files to a guy in the Russian Embassy. She feels that whatever 'intelligence' there is might be compromised by doing so but at the Russian Embassy, the files are rejected as useless and just a bunch of "dribble".

Linda's reaction to the news?- also animated and hilarious.

The whole premise of the movie is just a lot of silliness which the directors admit to in their own commentary. The film can be considered a tragic comedy as many of the characters are killed as the story progresses. One of them runs off to Venezuala.

The setting of the film is Washington, DC but actual filming occurred in Brooklyn Heights, NY transformed to look like Georgetown in DC.


I Rate It: 3/5 *** stars
Rated: R
Running Time: 96 minutes
Focus Features
Working Title Production
Written, Produced and Directed by: Ethan Coen and Joel Coen
Starring: Frances McDormand, George Clooney, John Malkovich, Tilda Swinton, Brad Pitt, Richard Jenkins and others

George Clooney

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Brad Pitt in Burn After Reading Movie

Brad Pitt in Burn After Reading movie acting goofy
Brad Pitt in Burn After Reading movie acting goofy | Source

Brad Pitt as a comedic actor

Brad Pitt jammin to his ipod
Brad Pitt jammin to his ipod | Source

Frances McDormand and Brad Pitt in Burn After Reading

uncovering a scandal?
uncovering a scandal? | Source

John Malkovich in Burn After Reading movie

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Tilda Swinton in Burn After Reading movie

Tilda Swinton Burn After Reading movie poster
Tilda Swinton Burn After Reading movie poster | Source

Burn After Reading movie trailer

Burn After Reading international trailer

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Comments 1 comment

DeviousOne profile image

DeviousOne 4 years ago from Sydney, Australia

This had to be one of the strangest movies I've seen. Quite funny though with some of the characteristics and a great acting performance during certain scenes. Certainly something different, yet a little twisted.

Good job including George Clooney sitting on the park bench. Reminds me of a classic scene.

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