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Burn After Reading [DVD]

George Clooney , Frances McDormand , Ethan Coen , Joel Coen    Suitable for 15 years and over   DVD
3.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (196 customer reviews)
Price: 2.99 & FREE Delivery in the UK on orders over 10. Details
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Frequently Bought Together

Burn After Reading [DVD] + The Men Who Stare At Goats [DVD] [2009] + The Man Who Wasn't There (2001) [DVD]
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Product details

  • Actors: George Clooney, Frances McDormand, Brad Pitt, John Malkovich, Tilda Swinton
  • Directors: Ethan Coen, Joel Coen
  • Format: PAL
  • Subtitles: English, Spanish
  • Dubbed: Spanish
  • Subtitles For The Hearing Impaired: English
  • Audio Description: None
  • Region: Region 2 (This DVD may not be viewable outside Europe. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 16:9 - 1.85:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Classification: 15
  • Studio: Universal Pictures UK
  • DVD Release Date: 9 Feb 2009
  • Run Time: 95 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 3.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (196 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B001G0N22G
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 2,848 in DVD & Blu-ray (See Top 100 in DVD & Blu-ray)


From Amazon.co.uk

After the dark brilliance of No Country for Old Men, Burn After Reading may seem like a trifle, but few filmmakers elevate the trivial to art quite like Joel and Ethan Coen. Inspired by Stansfield Turner's Burn Before Reading, the comically convoluted plot clicks into gear when the CIA gives analyst Osborne Cox (John Malkovich) the boot. Little does Cox know his wife, Katie (Tilda Swinton, riffing on her Michael Clayton character), is seeing married federal marshal Harry (George Clooney, Swinton's Clayton co-star, playing off his Syriana role). To get back at the Agency, Cox works on his memoirs. Through a twist of fate, fitness club workers Linda (Frances McDormand) and Chad (Brad Pitt in a pompadour that recalls Johnny Suede) find the disc and try to wrangle a "Samaratin tax" out of the surly alcoholic. An avid Internet dater, Linda plans to use the money for plastic surgery, oblivious that her manager, Ted (The Visitor's Richard Jenkins), likes her just the way she is. Though it sounds like a Beltway remake of The Big Lebowski, the Coen entry it most closely resembles, this time the brothers concentrate their energies on the myriad insecurities endemic to the mid-life crisis--with the exception of Chad, who's too dense to share such concerns, leading to the funniest performance of Pitt's career. If Lebowski represented the Coen's unique approach to film noir, Burn sees them putting their irresistibly absurdist stamp on paranoid thrillers from Enemy of the State to The Bourne Identity. --Kathleen C. Fennessy

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
28 of 32 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars What did we learn ? 21 April 2010
There's an awful lot of 1 star reviews on here for this - seems a bit harsh to me. Of course the Coens are always going to annoy some people - they are a bit smart-arsey and their habit of leaving out certain scenes which could be construed as being `integral' to the plot is a long-standing joke of theirs which they obviously find very funny. They were even at it in `No Country', which was finally their major breakthrough to the mainstream - the shoot-out between Moss and the Mexicans? But I'm a long-time fan and despite the occasional stinker (`Intolerable Cruelty' and `The Ladykillers'), they've made me laugh more than just about anybody else over the last 30 years, so I'll stick with them.

So how do they follow up the commercial and artistic success of `No Country`? With a film about a bunch of selfish, bungling middle-aged losers making a mess of their and everybody else's lives, that's how. If there's a common theme to the Coens films' then it's `nobody knows anything', and never was that truer than here. This is their take on the spy genre, the `Bourne' films and others of that ilk; but instead of being full of smart, dangerous killers there's just a bunch of useless idiots constantly cocking-up and jumping to the wrong conclusions: the results, however, can be just as fatal. Nobody is as harsh on the consequences of stupidity as the Coens.

I'm not crazy about George Clooney doing comedy, it seems to me he relies too much on mugging and pulling `funny' faces; apart from him, however, the performances are uniformly excellent. John Malkovich is wonderfully irascible and Tilda Swinton splendidly unpleasant as Mr and Mrs Cox (not a name, you feel, that was chosen by accident).
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
Format:Blu-ray|Verified Purchase
What strikes me about this film is how they all play such superb incompetent sets of individuals skilled only in one thing and that is being a collection of losers.
And as for Linda,s obsession with cosmetic surgery the main theme that runs through this film I have met people like this, and what you would like to tell them is they would be much better off with almost a complete body transplant, and by default that is what she gets in the end, the only one to come out of this grand fiasco with any plus points at all. Brad Pitts bungling incompetence is played to a fine art, whilst George Clooney,s dedicated obsession with his wife's surprise present is definitely worth seeing, and as for John Malkovich he is continually on the point of meltdown brought about by his employer and his wife's actions.
In conclusion I would say you have to be in tune to this particular humour, which lets face it is tongue in cheek blacker than black.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant 11 Jan 2013
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
I laughed and laughed as I looked on in mixed horror and amusement. Brad Pitt puts in a bravura performance of outstanding cluelessness.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars dvd 29 Nov 2012
By karen
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
one of my favorite fgilms of all time
clooney and pitt playing out of characters
a really funny dark film
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars excellent comedy 16 Feb 2009
By zargb5
The Coen Bros show that they are still on form with this absurdist paranoid comedy.

If you want an antidote to conspiracy theory wackos,the slick world of 24" or "enemy of the state" you have to watch this.

Its a film about a bunch of middle aged crisis "lost" numbnuts making a hash of life, done only the way the Coen Bros can do it. Forget the bad reviews this is a howl, i can only think that some people are lacking an "irony" gene or something.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A tale of the unexpected 14 Feb 2009
Saw this movie and thought it was brilliant. I thought everyone would love it.... then you read the reviews. It is idiosyncratic, as you'd expect from the directors, but it is engaging with some genuinely jaw-dropping moments. It's sweetness, and it is a sweet film, comes from a total disrespect for everything; for reputations, for pompousity, for stupidity, for certainties. And this is a world choking with reputation, pompousity, plain stupidity and certainty.
If you don't like black comedies, then don't buy it. If you do buy it, expect the unexpected. Never thought I'd see George Clooney attacking a (large) sex aid with a sledge hammer. Nor seeing Brad Pitt......
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18 of 22 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Thanks for the memoir 16 Dec 2008
By Amanda Richards VINE VOICE
CIA Superior: So what did we learn from this?
CIA Officer: Um... I don't know.

Short Attention Span Summary (SASS):

1. CIA analyst Cox (John Malkovich) has a falling out with the agency, and decides to write a tell-all memoir.
2. His wife (Tilda Swinton) wants a divorce, and to make sure she's forearmed with his finances, she burns a copy of some of his computer files
3. Said files fall into the incapable hands of clueless gym employees Chad (Brad Pitt) and Linda (Frances McDormand), who decide to try extortion as a fund raising exercise.
4. No prizes for guessing that it doesn't quite work as planned
5. Meanwhile, Mrs. Cox is having an affair, Linda is looking for both love and cosmetic surgery, and Treasury agent Harry (George Clooney) is sleeping around.
6. Black comedy of errors follows with some rather unpredictable twists.

Fans of black comedy will thoroughly enjoy this movie, which is well directed, brilliantly acted and immensely entertaining. Kudos go to Malkovich, Pitt, Swinton and Clooney, but the top award definitely goes to McDormand, who will have you sharing her pain.

Four and a half stars go to the Coen Brothers for this bleak look at life, adultery, blackmail and people behaving badly.

Amanda Richards
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
3.0 out of 5 stars very funny
Tho dark in places, it is very funny. Many slate Brad Pitt he has got out of his pretty boy era and the guy can act. Read more
Published 1 month ago by greendayavenger
1.0 out of 5 stars BAD LANGUAGE
FAR TOO MUCH USE OF THE "F" word. Completely unnecessary and distracted from the story and plot. Rubbish. Read more
Published 1 month ago by ANN LANE
1.0 out of 5 stars Don't waste your time
This film was recommended to me by friends who both raved about it. Having watched it myself I wondered what was wrong with me. Was there something I was missing? Read more
Published 1 month ago by Mrs Susan Vaughan
1.0 out of 5 stars Is this a comedy?
I expected to watch a comedy. I saw insted a group of characters making nonsensical wrong (and often immoral) decisions one after the other: this and the continuous violence made... Read more
Published 3 months ago by Claudio Di Veroli
5.0 out of 5 stars burn after reading
Good Comedy By The Coen Bros, But You Would Expect That. George Clooney Seems To Slide Into This Part.
But Has A Great Surporting Cast To Help Him. Enjoy.
Published 3 months ago by Mr. George Savage
5.0 out of 5 stars Loved it
Very funny, Brad Pitt was excellent, the whole movie kept up a good pace, would recommend it to anybody. Yes
Published 3 months ago by Amanda Webb
5.0 out of 5 stars George clooney
Brilliant movie! This has to watched more than once, each actor/actress gives a fabulous performance. Read more
Published 4 months ago by Jan Curl
5.0 out of 5 stars A HAPPY LITTLE ROMP
Nice neat and whimsical with the usual twists and little surprises. Pitt is simply playing around, but is none the worse for that. The others are good, but then they should be. Read more
Published 4 months ago by M COX
5.0 out of 5 stars Burn After Reading
Excellent and another brilliantly idiosyncratic Cohen brothers movie to follow "No Country For Old Men". Read more
Published 6 months ago by A. Dunn
5.0 out of 5 stars Great
Great cast, quirky, superb script and a joy to watch over and over again. Not a bad moment in this wonderful film. A true classic.
Published 6 months ago by J. Anthony
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