Burn After Reading

Rated NR

A disgraced CIA agent (John Malkovich) decides to write his memoirs, and he loses the disc containing his first draft. When two dimwitted trainers at Hardbodies (Brad Pitt and Frances McDormand) find the disc, they decide to blackmail the former agent, and things spiral out of control. George Clooney plays a U.S. marshal who finds himself mixed up in the mess—a mess that is entirely fun to watch, thanks to the always-steady direction of Joel and Ethan Coen. Malkovich is especially good, in full-rage mode as a man the system no longer needs. Pitt gets a chance to play a full-blown idiot, and he takes full advantage. McDormand overdoes it at times, but Clooney delivers yet another good performance in movie by the Coens. This is another case of the Coens elevating something that might’ve been routine in another director’s hands.

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