Friday, April 3, 2009
The Burning Plain (USA) is Oscar contending, incredibly crafted - good! I'm in awe that this a debut for Director and Screenwriter, Guillermo Ariaga. It's difficult to give commentary on this film without creating a mine field of spoiler alerts. Not because the film is categorized as mystery or suspense, but it would be wrong to reveal the incredibly beautiful and meaningful relationships of the characters and separate story lines.
It takes a lot of pluck to create a film where the audience must trust the filmmaker is leading them somewhere, the only way to do it successfully is to a) be a well-known director (Scorsese, Eastwood) or b) make certain every scene is compelling on its own. An opening scene of a naked Charlize Theron, speaks to this theory, as well as panoramic views of vistas and buttes somewhere outside the Mexican Border.
I was impressed with the handling of Theron's character who self-inflicts pain, shown outwardly, but also subtly; in her choice of indiscriminate sexual partners and in her beautiful, yet flimsy clothing, not appropriate for a cold, damp weather climate, revealing she's either numb or glad for the discomfort.
Understand, The Burning Plain is not vague, or "Art House". It's just that it takes a minute before you see how it's all tied together and even then, there are a lot of causes and effects left unanswered.
The cast also includes Kim Basinger, John Corbett, Brett Cullen and a young actress, I've come to like from small roles and guest appearances on The Bill Engvall Show, Medium and Monk, Jennifer Lawrence. She has wise, troubled, trailer trash beauty written all over her face.
This film plays again on Sat. 4/4 2:30pm Ritz 5