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The Burning Plain
The Burning Plain
Actors: Charlize Theron, Kim Basinger, John Corbett
Director: Guillermo Arriaga
Genres: Drama, Mystery & Suspense
R     2010     1hr 47min

Academy AwardŽ winners Charlize Theron and Kim Basinger star in this romantic mystery about hope, redemption and second chances. Sylvia (Theron) is a woman on the edge whose cool, professional demeanor masks a deeply troub...  more »

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Movie Details

Actors: Charlize Theron, Kim Basinger, John Corbett
Director: Guillermo Arriaga
Genres: Drama, Mystery & Suspense
Sub-Genres: Love & Romance, Mystery & Suspense
Studio: Magnolia Home Entertainment
Format: DVD - Color,Widescreen - Closed-captioned,Subtitled
DVD Release Date: 01/12/2010
Original Release Date: 01/01/2009
Theatrical Release Date: 01/01/2009
Release Year: 2010
Run Time: 1hr 47min
Screens: Color,Widescreen
Number of Discs: 1
SwapaDVD Credits: 1
Total Copies: 2
Members Wishing: 0
MPAA Rating: R (Restricted)
Languages: English
Subtitles: Spanish

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Member Movie Reviews

Mary Jane T. (MJ) from SPOTSYLVANIA, VA
Reviewed on 8/15/2010...
I really liked this movie! It has a great story that comes together near the end. Great cast, job well done.

Movie Reviews

Fragmented tale of love as cycle of pain, scars and healing
Mr. Stephen Kennedy | Doha, Qatar | 12/02/2009
(4 out of 5 stars)

"The directorial debut of Guillermo Arriaga, screenwriter of 21 grams and Babel, is a tortured piece of work. Rather like its characters, it is beautiful to look at but bleak as we come to understand it. Thankfully, we are left with a message of hope, but it's a fragmented journey getting there as we experience love as it evolves not just through joy and happiness but through pain and scars.
It's one of those multi-stranded stories Arriaga specialises in... except this time, it is not always different characters we are observing - it's the same ones, in different times. One strand with Kim Basinger, involves a married woman, sneaking off from her empty marriage at lunchtime to her lover, in a trailer on a plain. It's this trailer on fire which gives the film its title. Then, there is the teenage daughter who has her own secrets and is drawn to the young Mexican man who she meets at his father's funeral. Finally, Charlize Theron plays the beautiful restaurateur, who away from the style and poise of her role at work, seeks empty sex and self inflicted wounds.. what pain is she trying to hide? Does the answer lie in the Mexican man who follows her? If the strands don't stand fully composed as short stories in their own right, it's because they rely on each other.. so that the performance of one actress relies on notes set up by another. It's a typically convoluted piece of writing by Arriega. A final point, and this is where critics were on the whole less than kind, is that for much of the movie it is frustratingly ambiguous who is who and in what time, until gradually the picture becomes clear. It's a tangled story for the most part, and if you dislike activating your brain cells, then steer clear. In the end, the story is actually quite slight.. and yet it has some depth of feeling, scraping underneath the characters surface instead of adding layers onto them. It might not have much to say, and the characters may not always be endearing, but it is nonetheless thought provoking and beautifully shot in sparsely filled though elegantly framed widescreen. Frankly I found it more satisfying than the more star-studded and acclaimed Babel. Certainly, the performances from the three leads: Theron, Basinger and relative newcomer Jennifer Lawrence are utterly outstanding. There is no grandstanding here.. just terrific understated turns from some of Hollywood's best.
If bleak cinema and tragic characters are your thing, then step right in. If it's action or easy moral certainties you seek.. move along, there's nothing for you here.

The weight of the blame!
Hiram Gomez Pardo | Valencia, Venezuela | 10/14/2009
(5 out of 5 stars)

"Again, the same team of Amores Perros and Babel strikes us with this memorable and haunting movie.

A story told from different perspectives through three generations the narrative ellipsis. An untamed search of a weird woman who seems to live out of this world , a disappointed married woman who is rejected by his own husband and loved by a third man, a young couple who fall in love despite the circumstances, have a common point of departure.

The marvelous script never falls in commonplaces. The approach about the painful situation of this unhappy woman (Kim Bassinger) who suffered breast cancer is not neither indulgent nor melodramatic. On the other hand, the marvelous landscapes (Portland's seashore) depicts with pictorial expression the crumbling spiritual of Marianne (Sylvia).

Finally the amazing edition process and the wonderful performances of all the cast make of this film one of the best of the year.

Don't miss it!

Almost Too Perfect
Peter Baklava | Charles City, Iowa | 02/12/2010
(3 out of 5 stars)

"Here is a movie that seems clearly indebted to John Sayles' "Lone Star". It shares the same kind of elliptical story line, and generation-spanning themes of forbidden love, racial and sexual taboos, tragedy, guilt and redemption . It even has a musical score featuring heavily reverbed alt-country guitar.

It's such a beautifully shot and constructed film that it is hard to isolate the things that undermine it. Maybe it comes down to this: too many motifs weaving in and out, too many empty symbols. It's like a symphony by a composer who hits all the right notes, but doesn't succeed in creating a living work that truly breathes.

I still recommend watching it... if for nothing more in that it's one of Charlize Theron's best "turns" as an actress, and for the wonderful cinematography.