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Burn After Reading (US Import) [Blu-ray] [2008]

Brad Pitt , Frances McDormand , Ethan Coen , Joel Coen    Blu-ray
3.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (209 customer reviews)
Price: £13.86 & FREE Delivery in the UK. Details
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Frequently Bought Together

Burn After Reading (US Import) [Blu-ray] [2008] + The Men Who Stare At Goats [Blu-ray] [2009] + O Brother Where Art Thou? [Blu-ray] [2000]
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Product details

  • Actors: Brad Pitt, Frances McDormand, George Clooney, John Malkovich, Tilda Swinton
  • Directors: Ethan Coen, Joel Coen
  • Writers: Ethan Coen, Joel Coen
  • Producers: Ethan Coen, Joel Coen, David Diliberto, Eric Fellner
  • Format: AC-3, Dolby, DTS Surround Sound, Dubbed, Subtitled, Widescreen
  • Language: English, French
  • Subtitles: English, Spanish, French
  • Dubbed: French
  • Region: All Regions (Read more about DVD/Blu-ray formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 16:9 - 1.85:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Classification: R (Restricted) (US MPAA rating. See details.)
  • Studio: Focus Features
  • DVD Release Date: 21 Dec 2008
  • Run Time: 96 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 3.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (209 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B001JIE7JM
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 184,375 in DVD & Blu-ray (See Top 100 in DVD & Blu-ray)



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


The Coen Brothers re-team with George Clooney for this blackly comic film set in the world of a former spy. John Malkovich, Frances McDormand, Brad Pitt, and Tilda Swinton are along for the sure-to-be wild ride filled with the Coens' trademark humour. With their overtly comedic follow-up Burn After Reading, the Coen Brothers return from the dark, dank recesses of the human psyche they traversed in their Oscar-winning No Country For Old Men. For those unfamiliar with the landscape of modern movie psychoanalysis, this puts the fraternal filmmakers square in the cruel, misanthropic, and farcical realm of their 1990s-era body of work, somewhere between the tragicomic crime thriller of Fargo and the disconnected noir-homage anti-storytelling of The Big Lebowski, with 2007's No Country retroactively adding new nihilism-tinged dimensions of smart scepticism to the proceedings. In a more linear trajectory, Burn After Reading also stands as the third entry, after Blood Simple and Fargo, in what could be an unofficial Tragedy of Human Idiocy trilogy, wherein characters make the most outlandishly moronic moves to devastating consequences simply by adhering to true human behaviour. Indeed, Carter Burwell's emotionally weighty score, which washes over biting scenes of explosive, anesthetizing belly laughs, is very reminiscent of his Fargo work. Burn After Reading is ostensibly structured and propelled by a spy-thriller plotline involving a classified CD lost by a disgraced CIA spook and found by two simple gym employees. The CIA superior who learns of the film's events (always second-hand and sometimes along with the viewer) doesn't know what to make of it, and why would he? This is the first Coen film in almost 20 years not shot by cinematographer Roger Deakins, yet the ‘new’ guy, Emmanuel Lubezki (Children of Men), has created as visceral and emotionally fraught a high-definition cartoon as any since Barton Fink.

DVD features English and Spanish language soundtracks.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
5 of 5 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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4 of 4 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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4 of 4 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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30 of 34 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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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
A Coen Brother's film? A film starring George Clooney, Brad Pitt, Frances McDormand AND John Malkovitch? This was a film for which I had high expectations, sadly they were not met.

The convoluted plot centred around John Malkovitch's CIA memoires and various attempts at blackmail arising after they fall into the wrong hands is actually quite interesting, and with a different slant the movie could have been great. But too much emphasis is placed on silly schoolboy humour, cardboard caricatures and pointless characters. The only actor who comes out of this with any credit is Malkovitch, who seems unable to put in a bad performance. Clooney and Pitt are given nothing to get their teeth into, Clooney coasts through with an uncommitted bland turn, and Pitt goes over the top in a toecurlingly hammy and misjudged delivery.

Interesting plot and premise, let down by a poor script, poor direction and poor acting. Trying to be objective, and ignoring the huge sense of disappointment after a build up that promised so much, I can only give this two stars.
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8 of 9 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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7 of 8 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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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars
Great, really funny.
Published 1 month ago by Mr. J. C. Naylor
5.0 out of 5 stars so funny.. watched a few times
so funny .. watched a few times!!
Published 1 month ago by Mrs Lesley J Young
4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars
Great film, nice easy watch, loved Brad Pitts character.
Published 2 months ago by Angie
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Silly serious funny and class acting
Published 2 months ago by Christian Dyson
5.0 out of 5 stars very good film, john malkovich makes the
very good film,john malkovich makes the film
Published 2 months ago by truckman020
3.0 out of 5 stars Three Stars
Bit daft!
Published 2 months ago by Silverfrog!
4.0 out of 5 stars . . . too stupid to live . . .
Better paced than "Inside Llewyn Davies" and less sublimely inconsequential than "The Big Lebowski," "Burn After Reading" is a considerable success. Read more
Published 3 months ago by Stanley Crowe
4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars
I enjoyed this film my husband fell asleep. Light hearted and funny.
Published 3 months ago by Terry Collins
5.0 out of 5 stars My favourite comedy
This is my favourite film ever. I have seen it several times and it just gets funnier every time
Published 4 months ago by Mrs E S Ahmed
5.0 out of 5 stars This is just so good.
Oh this is so very very good. Starts off a bit weird but settles down very well. Brad Pitt delivers some of the very best mannerisms and visuals to make the fun element of this all... Read more
Published 5 months ago by harryd
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