After graduating from Yale University with a degree in fine arts, Burger became involved with experimental film in the 1980s and went on to direct music videos for such alternative artists as the Meat Puppets. Burger approached MTV in 1991 with the idea to create and direct a series of promotional spots for what would be the MTV Books: Feed Your Head campaign against aliteracy. In association with Ridley Scott Associates, Burger directed commercials for companies such as Mastercard, IBM and ESPN, and created a series of television spots for Amnesty International and their campaign for prisoners of conscience.
Burger made his directorial feature debut with Interview with the Assassin in 2002, which he also wrote. The film won the Best Feature Film category at the Woodstock Film Festival and Avignon Film Festival, while receiving nominations for three Independent Spirit Awards including Best First Film and Best First Screenplay.
Additional credits include the 2008 post Iraq War indie drama The Lucky Ones starring Rachel McAdams, Tim Robbins, and Michael Pena; and Limitless (2011), starring Bradley Cooper and Robert De Niro, which opened number one at the box office and grossed over $160 million worldwide.
In 2014, Burger directed film Divergent, based on the novel by Veronica Roth. Shailene Woodley starred in the film alongside Theo James, Kate Winslet, Miles Teller, Ansel Elgort, and Ashley Judd. The film, released by Lionsgate, grossed over $280 million worldwide. Making it his most commercially successful film to date.
Following Divergent, Burger directed the first two episodes of Showtime’s Wall Street drama Billions, starring Paul Giamatti and Damian Lewis. He then served as an executive Producer on CBS’s TV adaptation of Limitless. Additional credits include the Divergent series films Insurgent (2015) and Allegiant (2016).