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(2008) w/Joel & Ethan Coen w/George Clooney, Frances McDormand, Brad Pitt, John Malkovich, Tilda Swinton, Richard Jenkins [96 min; 35mm]
BURN AFTER READING is a blackly comedic shaggy dog story that takes what could have been the plot of a paranoid governmental thriller from the 1970s and imbues it with a healthy dose of blatant absurdity. Two inept would-be blackmailers (Pitt and McDormand) believe they have stumbled on a gold mine when they discover a disc of – they think – sensitive documents unwittingly left behind at the gym they work at. Unfortunately for them, they’ve actually intruded on the rapidly deteriorating private life (and sanity) of CIA analyst Osbourne Cox (Malkovich).