Burn After Reading (2008) [Blu-ray]

Genre(s): Comedy / Crime
Universal || R - 96 minutes - $39.98 || December 21, 2008
Reviewer: Brad Lowenberg || Posted On: 2008-12-23

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.:: F I L M ::.
The Film

.: F E A T U R E S :.

Special Features

.:: V I D E O ::.

.:: A U D I O ::.

B L U - R A Y

Blu-ray Exclusives

.:: O V E R A L L ::.
Director: Ethan Coen, Joel Coen
Writer(s): Joel Coen & Ethan Coen (written by)
Cast: George Clooney, Frances McDormand, John Malkovich, Tilda Swinton, Brad Pitt

Theatrical Release Date: September 12, 2008

Supplemental Material:
  • Finding the Burn
  • DC Insiders Run Amuck
  • Welcome Back, George
  • BD-Live

Technical Information:
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Widescreen (1.85)
  • English (DTS-HD MA 5.1), French (DTS 5.1)
  • Subtitles: English, French, Spanish

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.::THE FILM::.

After the success of No Country for Old Men I was excited to see what else the Coen Brothers had to offer. I loved No Country, O Brother Where Art Thou and The Big Lebowski so getting George Clooney, Brad Pitt and John Malkovich together in the same film seemed like a good idea. Seemed is the key word.

Osbourne Cox (Malkovich) has just been recently fired (or quit as he likes to put it) from his job working for the government. With his time off, he decides to write his memoirs down, hopefully for a possible book deal. Itís at this time his wife, Katie (Swinton), decides itís time to leave Osbourne for a long time friend of the couple, Harry (Clooney). She makes sure to first make a copy of all his financial documents which just so happen to be on the computer Cox has been using to type his memoirs in. Uh oh.

The CD with the information gets lost at the local Gym where Chad (Pitt) and Linda (McDormand) just so happen to work at and the two hatch a scheme to sell the "government secrets" back to the original owner, Osbourne, who has no idea what they are talking about. After a small cat and mouse game they decide to take the disc and sell it elsewhere and eventually all the different characters seem to play together in the very predictable plot.

Did that make any sense to you? I tried to make it as clear as possible what the general plot of the film was, but with so many different characters and stories going on at times its hard to really understand what the hell is going on and why the film even exists. Too many times I wondered why certain characters were even included in the film (Clooney, Pitt), but I can see maybe they needed to attach some sort of stars to this film to even get the interest of the general public.

Even though I didn't care for the film that much I still felt the acting was pretty good. Pitt takes a role that seems out of his element and succeeds. Clooney does a subpar job, though at times I think he appeared a bit too paranoid.

Is the film a stinker? No, it has the Coen flare to that Iíve enjoyed from their previous films, but the plot is just so ridiculous I have to wonder why they even thought it would make a good film. Itís a worth a rental Ė at best ó unless you are a huge Coen Brothers fan.


All special features are presented in HD.

Finding the Burn (5 Minutes) - This is a rather short fluff piece that has various cast/crew talking as well as a tiny bit of "behind the scenes" footage.

DC Insiders Run Amuck (12 Minutes) - The longest feature gives us even great insight into the film which offers some casting choices as well as why the Coen brothers wrote parts for certain characters.

Welcome Back, George (3 Minutes) - Another short fluff piece on why they casted George... again.

BD-Live - Share your favorite scenes and download trailers.


Burn After Reading is presented in 1.78:1 (VC1) on a 50GB Disc. Keeping up with the film, colors are very drab and there is a pretty fair amount of grain. Even though this clearly will look better then the DVD, itís not really using the full potential Blu-ray offers. Detail was not very visible and Blacks not as strong as I would have liked it.

Universal has included an English 5.1 DTS MA Track as well as a French DTS 5.1 track. Since the film is very dialog heavy, don't expect much of anything from the rear speakers. The film is almost completely front driven and it succeeds there. Dialog is very clear with no issues hearing Clooney's bumbling voice.


Not one of the Coen's best films, but a worthy rental. With average Picture and Sound combined with a whole twenty minutes of special features I'd strongly recommend a rental over purchase.