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Burn After Reading

Updated on December 4, 2012
aliciaharrell profile image

Alicia has been an Author, Columnist, and Reviewer for 8 years. Her success came from perseverance plus organized goal setting.

Movie Review

On DVD I had the honor of viewing the winner of the Golden Globe for Best Picture in the Comedy Genre, released in 2008, known as Burn After Reading . I watched it because George Clooney, John Malkovich, Brad Pitt and David Rasche (some of my favorite actors) were in the movie - a very rare treat. What I did not expect was each of these well known actors in this movie to be portraying characters way out of their norm. Each pulled their role off expertly and showed their excellent acting skills as well as their versatility.

Burn After Reading is about a CIA man named Osborne "Ozzie" Cox (John Malkovich) who is informed of his demotion, but quits before it becomes in effect. Ozzie then proceeds to irate his wife (played by Tilda Swinton), who is a doctor, by being at home and writing his memoirs. This does not bode well for Katie Cox, mostly because it makes it more difficult for her to rendezvous with her lover Harry Pfarrer (George Clooney). Harry works for the US Treasury Department as a Security Man who has not fired his gun throughout 30 years of service and is married to a children's book author, Sandy Pfarrer (Elizabeth Marvel). All four of these people are not strangers to each other. Ozzie's wife, Katie Cox, plans a party whereby inviting the Pfarrers who arrive as guests to the Cox's home. This is the setting of the beginning, showing the viewer why Mrs. Cox decides to go visit a divorce attorney while her husband is re-finding himself through writing his memoirs.

The plot then thickens with the divorce attorney's secretary infiltrating Ozzie's personal computer and stealing financial data (checking account, savings account, etc information) along with inadvertently snatching Ozzie's memoirs. This legal secretary places the disk in her gym bag, and then accidentally loses the disk on the floor of the Hardbodies Gym managed by a very unassuming never-does-anything illegal type Manager named Ted (Richard Jenkins). Thus introduces the gym's moronic Gym Trainer who finds the disk (played by Brad Pitt), and the office lady who wants four cosmetic surgeries in order to keep her job at the gym (Frances McDormand). Both the Gym Trainer, Chad Feidheimer, and Gym Office Lady, Linda Litske, collude for the disc's reward, believing it to be "highly sensitive CIA information." This catalysts them into telephoning Ozzie, demanding a reward, which creates the biggest espionage farce as their plan for a reward goes completely awry and their bumbling involves the Russians which precipitates the CIA noticing and watching plus cleaning up their mess.

Burn After Reading shows how two Americans who really do not know anything can become involved in an espionage entanglement that truly is zero threat to the United States, but forces the CIA's intervention. This film's plot and subplots further points-out what they do is a felony and illegal. A hearty thank you and squeal of delight for this movie to make certain its audience was aware of that fact!

Co-stars included: David Rasche (as the CIA Officer that informed Ozzie of his demotion and reports periodically throughout the movie what is noticed out in the field by CIA personnel regarding the colluding of Linda Litske and Chad Feidheimer), JK Simmons (plays the CIA Supervisor that the CIA Officer reports to and makes quick decisions) and Olek Krupa (had the role of Russian Embassy person directly underneath the Ambassador, Krapotkin).

Burn After Reading had very silly funny, yet believably frightening scenes, plot, and subplots. The length was perfect at 1 hour and 36 minutes. I understood fully why the R rating, adult material and scenes. This is definitely not a movie geared toward minors. Parental discretion highly recommended for minor teenagers 16 through 17 years of age.

I recommend watching Burn After Reading for it was very entertaining and a good comedy. Like espionage movies? Try this hilarious spy spoof!


4 stars for Burn After Reading


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