Brad Pitt steals the show in Burn After Reading

Burn After Reading by Joel and Ethan CoenThe tag line for the star-studded Coen Brothers film Burn After Reading is “intelligence is relative”. Certainly that statement is very fitting for this smart film about stupid people.

John Malkovich stars as Osborne Cox, a CIA analyst who is fired from his job and decides to write his memoirs. His disinterested wife Katie (Tilda Swinton) has already been carrying on an affair with Harry (George Clooney), a married federal marshal whose two great passions are sex and jogging.

As the plot thickens, we meet Linda (Frances McDormand) an employee at Hardbodies Fitness Center who searches for love in online dating and obsesses over procuring funds for plastic surgery. When her close friend and fellow dimwitted employee Chad (Brad Pitt) acquires a disc containing material for Cox’s memoirs, the duo decide to blackmail the former analyst despite the warnings from their boss Ted, played by Richard Jenkins.

Like a warped version of The Man Who Knew Too Little meets The Big Lebowski, the various story lines all intertwine and some very brilliant dark humor ensues.

Frances McDormand and Brad Pitt star in Burn After ReadingThe most most outstanding element of the film has to be the performances from the cast, most of whom had the roles written specifically for them by Joel and Ethan Coen. Malkovich’s very serious nature lends so much to the humor of a character whose self-importance proves to be unfounded and McDormand’s portrayal of a simple woman who thinks she’s a genius is fantastic. Clooney plays on his smooth, James Bond-esque image from films like Ocean’s Eleven with very funny results.

With such an amazing cast, it would be hard to pinpoint a single stand-out, however Pitt steals the show.

In one particularly hilarious scene, Chad calls Osborne to negotiate a “good Samaritan tax” for returning his missing information. Pitt’s “disguised” voice and phrasing on threats about “the security of your shit” are beyond hilarious as are his tough-guy facial expressions in a scene where Osborne and Chad meet face to face in Osborne’s car.

Those who loved No Country for Old Men should know to expect something more in line with earlier quirky films from the Coens like Fargo or Raising Arizona. They retain all the unique characters and plot twists of their more dramatic work, but incorporate the stellar dialogue that made some of their best comedies so memorable.

Burn After Reading opens September 12th.

View the red band trailer here:

Alexis Gentry

Alexis Gentry is the creator and editor of She has been called a “dynamic, talented and unique voice in pop culture” by Ben Lyons of E! and, with her strong fascination with entertainment and penchant for writing, it’s not hard to see why.

You may also like...

5 Responses

  1. Hilldog says:

    I am a die hard Clooney fan, but Brad Pitts comedic timing made me long for more Brad on this movie.

  2. Walrus Films says:

    “Because it is a comedy, the Coens’ new film … is something of a palate cleanser for the brothers after the rigors of the Academy Award-winning No Country for Old Men,” Kenneth Turan writes in the Los Angeles Times. “But because it’s a Coen brothers film before it’s anything else, this is about as dark and nihilistic as comedies are allowed to get before the laughter dies bitterly on your lips.”

    Read more Reviews for Burn After Reading, and watch the Movie Trailer –

  3. If you’re in Denver and you missed this film, don’t worry! It’s playing at the Starz FilmCenter starting today, November 7th.

    Get tickets at

  4. the adopting of unfortunate children from foreign countries. I see that Brad Pitt has a good heart. I like that quality in him, and his wife Angie. To Brad, and Angie, keep up the good work and may God bless both of you.

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: