Burn After Reading

Theatrical Release: September 12, 2008
Burn After Reading


A dark spy-comedy from Academy Award winners Joel and Ethan Coen. An ousted CIA official’s (Academy Award nominee John Malkovich) memoir accidentally falls into the hands of two unwise gym employees intent on exploiting their find.

Dove Review

The employees of a fitness center plan to blackmail a former CIA agent and when things go wrong, the comedy begins. It all stems from a CIA official’s memoirs falling into the hands of a couple of the fitness center’s employees.

There are some funny moments in the film, including physical comedy when George Clooney’s character punches Brad Pitt’s character in the nose while they are sitting in a parked vehicle. Pitt’s reaction is great. However, there aren’t enough of these funny moments to sustain the audience’s interest. The film also includes some black humor, which I am not a fan of. There is very strong language in the film, an affair, and some bloody violence which prevents us from awarding our Dove “Family-Approved” Seal to this movie as a family-friendly picture.

Content Description

Sex: An affair; sexual sounds and noises heard; couple briefly seen from a distance having sex; innuendos; talk about sex.
Language: J-2; Ch*ist-2; F-58; S-19; H-3; A-9; G/OMG-17; B-1; C*ap-1; Slang for sex-2; Slang for male genitalia-4
Violence: A man is punched in nose and it bleeds; blood is seen spurting from a wound; from a distance a man is seen being hit in the head by a hatchet; man's bloody face is seen.
Drugs: Smoking in a few scenes.
Nudity: Close-up of Woman's nude rear which is not immediately recognizable but is mentioned by a physician; shirtless men; nude busts seen in film; a large imitation penis is seen.
Other: There is talk about the use of a condom.


Company: Focus Features
Writer: Ethan Coen and Joel Coen
Director: Ethan Coen and Joel Coen
Producer: Tim Bevan
Genre: Comedy
Runtime: 96 min.
Industry Rating: R
Starring: George Clooney, Frances McDormand, Brad Pitt, John Malkovich
Reviewer: Edwin L. Carpenter