Submitted by lizzietnz t3_zzr0sa in movies

Every time I watch this movie I pick out more great moments.

I love Coen brothers movies but this one has crept up my list of favorites over time. It slowly builds to a crescendo of chaos where all the threads come together.

Pitt is perfect as the pretty but vacant himbo. He is such a good comedy actor - when he gets a gormless look you can see his mind empty completely. Malkovich and Swinton are perfectly cast as the brittle and angry society couple. I love how McDormand and Clooney have the same superficial personality.

Add on a stellar supporting cast (JK Simmons), great script and direction, it is one of my faves.

What do you think?



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Fabulous_Ad_1842 t1_j2di6il wrote

The scenes with JK Simmons and David Rasche - priceless. “What have we learned?”


a_man_hs_no_username t1_j2e98yf wrote

“We learn not to do it again… although I’m fucked if I know what we did in the first place.”

Those two scenes with JK are my all time favorite comedy scenes.


jshiplett t1_j2en3l0 wrote

Simmons’ casting is pitch perfect here. I can’t imagine anyone else in his role.


HGMIV926 t1_j2d5pil wrote

Burn After Reading is my favorite Coen brothers movie and that is a hill I will die on.

It's obviously not anything that could win an Academy Award like No Country for Old Men or Fargo but it is a comedy of errors so absurd that I was sucked in immediately by its characters and their desires. Fargo was a comedy of errors in as well, as many others in their catalog, but boy howdy this one is just so goofy and outrageous it is just so much more fun to watch.

Like you said: The cast makes this film. Pitt is the shining star, but Frances McDormand really shows her range when pitted against other roles she's had like in Three Billboards. This movie is also where I discovered Richard Jenkins, one of my favorite character actors today.

It is a very regular rewatch for me, probably my most-rewatched Coen film.


Vestalmin t1_j2e36ev wrote

The face Pitt makes at the end always gets a laugh from me, he’s such an idiot lmao


Hawvy t1_j2ee6gc wrote

“…and he shot the analyst.”

“Good. Is he dead?”

“Uh, no he’s in a coma.”

visible disappointment


g_st_lt t1_j2e9w2s wrote

"Well, sir. There is the woman...the gym woman. Linda Litzke-"
"Oh fuck. Yeah. Goddd."

JK Simmons is so good.


Tropicalization t1_j2el08v wrote

“We have her? What do you mean, we have her? To do what with?”


OneSalientOversight t1_j2d74xl wrote

I watched it the other day.

Something clicked when I saw that Swinton's character was a pediatrician. Where have I heard a situation like this before?

Jack Ryan.

The Coen brothers were satirizing Tom Clancy.


l5555l t1_j2e6iit wrote

You think I ride a Schwinn!


TheLurkingMenace t1_j2eaaa9 wrote

Favorite scene is Pitt giving that goofy grin just before getting shot in the face.


Stratobastardo34 t1_j2dsmrp wrote

How can you pick a favorite Coen Brothers movie? They have so many great ones. Fargo, No Country for Old Men, Miller's Crossing, Raising Arizona, The Hudsucker Proxy... It's hard to pick just one.


DerpWilson t1_j2f3i1k wrote

Fargo is the best but big Lebowski brought me soooo much joy.


DryTown t1_j2fb5f5 wrote

A Serious Man is my favorite at the moment! Similar to Burn After Reading in a way that it’s a collection of chaos with an unsatisfying resolution


lizzietnz OP t1_j2e1yrv wrote

It's not my favorite because, like you say, how can you pick a favorite? But when I first saw this one, I dismissed it but it has grown on me.


suzer2017 t1_j2d6rwh wrote

I haven't seen it. But I will watch it after reading your post. Plus anything with Frances McDormand...I am all in.


danteheehaw t1_j2dnea4 wrote

Its one of those movies that feels kinda slow then it kinda all comes together in an absolutely beautiful way.


pairustwo t1_j2fszp3 wrote

Although, what I love about this movie is how untogether it is. So much unrelated nonsense crisscrossing into a Gordian Knot that holds nothing together, no plot, no character development, no change... but somehow just gets cut through anyway.

I guess McDormand gets her surgeries in the end.


bobafett903 t1_j2f74mz wrote

You almost have to watch it at least twice to get the full effect


[deleted] t1_j2fo7k5 wrote



lizzietnz OP t1_j2fonu3 wrote

That makes sense in terms of the movie. The CIA director seems to treat the whole thing like it's a tiresome admin error that needs cleaning up.


mcdamien t1_j2dizfy wrote

Nobody does a farce like the Coen brothers l


hamizoing t1_j2dcgwl wrote

When i am down, I watch all of J.K. Simmons scenes from this movie on youtube to get myself up.


OkCoyote6888 t1_j2f1fth wrote

Oh my god such a good! “ you think it’s a Schwinn” line gets me every time.


quitpayload t1_j2fkblo wrote

John Malkovich's rage fuelled screaming is music to the ears


Far-Whereas-1999 t1_j2d4sd3 wrote

I really didn’t like anything about it other than JK Simmons’ funny exchange at the end about how nothing was learned.


TheBearJew619 t1_j2d63sn wrote

What about the scene where Osborne Cox gets fired? It makes me laugh out loud every time I watch it


the89delta t1_j2de7u5 wrote

"I have a drinking problem? You're a fucking Mormon."


Wax_and_Wane t1_j2e0r2m wrote

"This is a crucifixion!" *stretches arms out* "this is political!"


hardy_83 t1_j2dgizc wrote

Also how they should never do it again, whatever it is.


JPumpkinhead1991 t1_j2dnnbv wrote

That was great but were you on your phone the rest of the time? Not enough CGI explosions for you?


HotdogsArePate t1_j2fa795 wrote

You're the exact kind of person I imagined liked this one. Shitty release by an esteemed team so you drink it up and are proud to "get it"


EpicGuard t1_j2edcty wrote

I laughed so hard I had to pause the video the first time I saw Brad Pitt get shot in the closet.


maria_slayer t1_j2d4k1i wrote

definitely one of the most under appreciated out of their catalog. great cast, especially pitt. he does really good in comedies, one of my favorite is snatch. definitely a must see comedy/crime-drama


FrenchtoastMal0ne t1_j2et7v3 wrote

I rewatched this the other day and it's better than I remember it being the last time I watched it. Brad Pitt is easily the best part of the movie. I saw someone say that Brad Pitt is a supporting actor in a leading actors body and I think it's the perfect example here.


Leajjes t1_j2ex6xb wrote

That's the great thing about Coen brother films. They have great replay value. So many small pieces of details. Humour that keeps being funny. And edge of your seat stories.


NotDelnor t1_j2fabf5 wrote

Big Lebowski is my favorite movie of all time but almost every Coen Bros movie is a classic.

I'd love to take this time to praise one of their most misunderstood movies in Hail, Caesar! Incredibly written, all star cast, very funny. Top 3 or 4 Coen Bros movie to me.


lizzietnz OP t1_j2ffurv wrote

I haven't seen Hail, Caesar! I'll add it to the list.


Brookefinancial t1_j2ffjmr wrote

It's an ultimate comfort movie for me, I remember around 2010 I was going through tough times and for a few days I was really down, I couldn't do anything that would make me happy.

Burn After Reading started playing on TV (I had seen it before in theater and loved it), and I started to forget my problems as I was watching it. By the time it was over I was in a good mood for the first time in days.


mazzimar7 t1_j2dlgpb wrote

I've tried to watch this movie twice over the years because I love the Coen brothers, but u just can't get into it. I made it about 40 minutes this last time, which was about a week ago. I know people love this movie but the characters and pacing just don't seem to do it for me.


g_st_lt t1_j2e8fjx wrote

What if I told you that it gets really good at about 41 minutes in?


Salman1969 t1_j2ew3hi wrote

For Fuck's sake, put him on the next flight to Venezuela!


Barbaric_Ape t1_j2fblv5 wrote

The plot itself still seems a bit mediocre to me but I will revisit


KingOfAllDownvoters t1_j2d98nv wrote

You are so right I love this film! Pitt and Malkevichs performances were epic


l3reezer t1_j2d9qvu wrote

I rewatched it the other day to see if I would digest it better as an adult since the first time I saw it was when I was a preteen-teen; I still don't think it gets anywhere near the top of my Coenn brothers filmography list.

I respect the concept but in execution think it barely holds up as something justified for its own feature length film. Despite Pitt and Malkovich's performances being gold, the whole film just doesn't wrap up all its components nicely enough. The ending bit is funny and in tune with the spy tone but I kinda also wanted to see more of the fallout of the chaos play out (George Clooney's character freaking out was entertaining so would've been nice to see some of him trying to flee the country, and then they just totally neglected the reactions of his wife and Tilda Swinton's character to the whole debacle) instead of just getting a jump cut to the end.


Idk_Very_Much t1_j2dj4nx wrote

It’s the one Coen film where the comedy really works for me


HotdogsArePate t1_j2faow1 wrote

It's their least funny movie to me.

You seriously think the comedy here worked better than Fargo, obrother, and Lebowski?

Well, good for you. Wish I liked it too!


DerpWilson t1_j2f3dv9 wrote

Interesting. I’ve been meaning to rewatch. It came across as particularly mean spirited so I never bothered to watch it again, even though I liked parts od it.


HotdogsArePate t1_j2f9sdr wrote

It felt awkward and forced and the jokes just do not land for me. Felt the same way about hail Cesar. It just feels off.


imk t1_j2ff5hm wrote

It is one of my favorite Washington DC films, if not my favorite. In The Loop would be close.


joshuajjb2 t1_j2fjxfw wrote

This is the one movie I couldn't get into. It has a star studded cast but its just... I don't want to say boring but kidof?


lizzietnz OP t1_j2fk5j1 wrote

I felt the same on the first watch but I gave it another go because of the cast and enjoyed it. I've watched it a few more times since then and get more out of it each time.


joshuajjb2 t1_j2fklzi wrote

Yah maybe I'll give it another watch if I have time.


sofarspheres t1_j2fxnbh wrote

I’m in a bad movie club and I nominated Burn to give us a break after a run of really bad movies. I thought this would be a good palette cleanser to remind everyone that movies can be really good. And then one person in the club hated Burn After Reading. It kinda broke my brain. I understand not loving it. I understand not getting the movie, but this person actively hated it. I’m still chewing on that


JFK108 t1_j2dbm9g wrote

Exactly this! I hated this movie the first time I saw it but Malkovich’s performance made me want to give it a second watch. Now it’s one of my favorite comedies all these years later 🤣


whitebeltinhaiku t1_j2d9pnx wrote

I could not stand that movie.


lizzietnz OP t1_j2dbb0r wrote



Electrical-Bread-988 t1_j2dhfu2 wrote

It insists upon itself.


lizzietnz OP t1_j2e2d6s wrote

Oh I don't think it is profound at all. It's just an enjoyable screwball comedy. But it's so well done.


whitebeltinhaiku t1_j2dg4jt wrote

I just found it kind of strange. It didn't click with me. I'm not really into comedy though.