Burn After Reading

COMIC DRAMA; 1hr 36min

STARRING: George Clooney, Frances McDormand, Brad Pitt, John Malkovich

Not-so-hot shot: Clooney

Film-making brothers Joel and Ethan Coen have lightened up a bunch of notches after the funereal home run of 2007’s No Country for Old Men, interworking a trio of unlikely tales into a fruity whole. They begin with the abrupt dismissal of boozehound CIA agent Osborne Cox (Malkovich, fabulously rabid). Osborne is a fiasco in motion: little does he know that his bossy wife (Tilda Swinton) is playing footsie with a married Lothario (Clooney) in their social circle, and two scurrilous but intellectually challenged health-club staffers (McDormand and Pitt, both priceless) have got hold of a disc of his memoirs and are about to incompetently attempt to blackmail him.


Where blackmail leads, a raft of disasters is bound to follow and that’s exactly the tall story here. And it’s just what the doctor ordered for this ensemble of show ponies, each of whom has their time to shine — Malkovich’s fury! Pitt’s gormless jiving! Clooney’s two-faced womanising! That’s what wholesale lunacy will do for you.