Osborne Cox (John Malkovich) is a CIA agent who is about to be downsized from his position due to his drinking problem. In retaliation, he quits his job and sets his sights on writing a book loosely based about his experiences. When he comes home to tell his wife Katie (Tilda Swinton) about the decision he's made, she is furious with him as that throws a wrench into her plans of leaving him and taking his worth. You see Katie is secretly sleeping with Harry Pfarrer (George Clooney) and is instructed by her attorney to get information from Osborne's computer showing his assets before slaps divorce papers on him. She burns a CD of the important looking files she can find.
Meanwhile, Linda Litzke (Frances McDormand) and Chad Feldheimer (Brad Pitt) work in Hardbodies, a fitness gym, where they have just found a CD on the floor of the woman's locker room. It contains what appears to be top secret documents and the two decide there must be a way to capitalize on their find. Through the help of a computer geek, they learn the documents belong to Osborne Cox and demand $50,000 to return the CD to him. Cox can't understand why someone is trying to blackmail him for his manuscript and while he is being driven mad deal with the two gym exploiters, these two are intent on cashing in.
2008 - Burn After Reading - St. Louis Gateway Film Critics Association - Best Comedy
Directors: Ethan Coen, Joel Coen
Writers: Ethan Coen, Joel Coen
Producers: Joel Cohen, Tim Bevan, Ethan Coen