Review: Burn After Reading

If you liked the absurd twists, dark humor, and unforgiving violence of Fargo you will love the Coen Brother’s new film, Burn After Reading. See it if you love the Coen Brothers, or if you hate them. See it because you’ll get to see George Clooney topless in several scenes.

The film centers around a memoir the alcoholic ex-CIA agent, Osborne Cox (played by John Malkovich) is writing. His work-in-progress, on a CD-R, winds up in the women’s locker room of the Hardbodies Fitness Center where the plastic-surgery-obsessed Linda Litzke (Frances McDormand) and the dumbly hilarious exercise-freak Chad Feldheimer (Brad Pitt) work.

When the disk is found, Feldheimer declares that the it contains some “Serious intellectual shit.” He has a computer-nerd friend track down the disk’s creator, and with Litzke he contacts Cox hoping that they can return it to him as “good Samaritans” for a substantial reward.

Cox answers the phone in bed, obviously early in the morning, and Feldheimer speaks between deep prank-caller breaths, “Osbourne Cox? I thought you might be worried–about the security–of your shit.” Cox answers with a barrage of curses, explaining that “You have no idea what kind of shit you are into.”

The film starts off a bit slow, but quickly develops into a quintessentially riotous Coen Brother’s adventure, complete with overlapping affairs–Harry Pfarrer (George Clooney) in bed with Cox’s wife (Tilda Swinton), while dating Litzke on the side through an internet-dating website–every character hiring a private investigator to trail each other, CIA agents in helicopters, a fantastic sex chair, the Russian Embassy, several divorces, and of course, a handful of murders so gruesome and senseless you’ll laugh and cringe simultaneously.

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