Angela F. from CHARLOTTESVLE, VA Reviewed on 11/4/2010...
This is a loose adaptation from part of the novel "McTeague". Brolin and Spader both give solid performances, but Minnie Driver, lovely as she is, is just too pretty, too lovely for the kind of sun-cracked woman we're supposed to believe her character is. Also, the storytelling is a bit fractured, making for confusion, and weakening its potential. Sometimes, the old-fashioned, straight-forward storytelling is the best way, but probably the hardest, given how many directors rely on quick cuts and flashbacks and overlapping incidents. Not great, but certainly worth one viewing.
Eric Sanberg | Berwyn, IL United States | 07/20/2000
(3 out of 5 stars)
"When this title crossed my desk I became curious. The star power was notable and history tells me that neither Minnie Driver or James Spader would be appearing in something on a shoestring budget. So...why did I not recall a theatrical release? Why was it going direct to video? Anyway, I took it home and screened it and had quite a time of it. This is a totally worthwhile movie. The story involves Minnie's grandmother who died in the desert with a rather large stash of diamonds. Minnie's mother, father and father's friend search for granny's remains and the stash (only to come to a dastardly end), and now Minnie susequently spends her life in the desert trying to find those same blasted diamonds. But of course there wouldn't be much of a movie if things were that easy. Who should stumble onto the diamonds right under her nose but James Spader and his intellectually challenged buddy played by Josh Brolin. They are escaped cons being pursued by Minnie's dead dad's friend. Much ensues as a touchy cat and mouse game is played out amongst the participants, and everything culminates in a rather fitting conclusion. This is no low-level crime thriller. The desert is used to great effect. It's alive with an entire history and set of rules all its own. All the actors draw memorable characters. They are interesting and there is an immediacy to the proceedings. You feel the heat and dryness and you really get the heebie-jeebies when lives are threatened by such unforgiving surroundings. The end might tick some people off, but it's logical. This certainly doesn't attain the level of some similar movies such as The Treasure of the Sierra Madre, but this is a good flick that more than satisfied the time I invested in it."
The Film Really Burns With Good Photography BUT Too Slowly
Tsuyoshi | Kyoto, Japan | 04/26/2002
(2 out of 5 stars)
"Minnie Driver plays treasure-hunting Trina, whose motive is not so much her love for money or easy life as her obsession with getting back the diamonds her ancestors had been involved with for four generations, and as a result, the film is more like a character-based drama than a thriller or action (you can see very little of it). Trina keeps on searching the treasure in spite of herself and her elder friend Stuart Wilson, who tries to trace the vanished Trina in the desert of Mexico, in order to bring her back to better judgment.The confusing story of "Slow Burn" develops those settings above as follows; opposite Minnie Driver, we have a pair of unrecognizable James Spader (with very heavy accent) and Josh Brolin, both of whom accidentally hit the paydirt where the said treasure had been hidden for a long time. AND again Minnie Driver happens to pass them by, to find exactly what she wanted .... The far-fetched story doesn't have enough speed to make us forget the implausible things going on the screen, and in fact, the film burns with its good cinematography of the desert, but way too slowly. The middle part of it reminds us of "Treasure of Sierra Madre," but doesn't have enough driving power of actions or characters which this Huston - Bogart classic is endowed with.The ironic ending, which is clearly inspired by that of the silent-film masterpiece "Greed" (with a caged bird and chained bodies), shows considerable momentum, greatly assisted by Wislon's performance and the good images of the scorching desert and sun, but it takes too much time to reach there. Moreover, the famous ending of "McTeague," the original book of "Greed," is recreated here, but the author Frank Norris provided us with a good reason for McTeague and his nemesis to act the way they did, which is not given sufficiently in this film. Why should they act, is never explained to convince us.For Minnie Drivers' fans the film is a disappointment as the leading two cast, for all their efforts, seem miscast. Not that her the acting is bad; just she someshow shows she is acting the character she is not. Sorry for this harsh review, but I prefer Minnie in "Return to Me" very much. The film is co-produced by Kate Driver (Minnie's sister) who is also responsible for the production of "Beautiful.""
Lost treasure in the desert
Erik H. East | Oregon, USA | 08/07/2005
(4 out of 5 stars)
"I loved this film from the first time I saw it. What is so compelling for me is the familiar Hollywood subject matter: lost treasure, lust, greed, obsession and death. I must have seen dozens of films of this genre and enjoyed every one: Treasure of the Sierra Madre, Makenna's Gold, The Deep, Indiana Jones 1,2&3. But this one stands out among the recent efforts, although on a more modest theatrical scale and budget. The natural landscape, photography and the settings are outstanding. The characterizations are vivid and interesting, but crazed, even by treasure hunter standards.
Mini Driver is a looker. She keeps the movie "cooking" as the central character through many unexpected turns. An enigmatic desert rat, she has been searching the hot dry Mexico desert alone for years, looking for the long lost family jewels. Needless to say they eventually turn up, but in the wrong hands.
The story line is a bit cumbersome and convoluted, but nothing to get upset about. I think the film requires that you suspend your disbelief for the duration. If it is reality you want, go find it elsewhere. I see it for what it really is: an age-old sourdough yarn like those spun around the campfire by the master storytellers of the age before television. That's pure entertainment, in my book. "
Th;is movie is so hot its cool!!
Walter P. Kramer | Jacksonville, Florida United States | 08/19/2001
(4 out of 5 stars)
"I watched it and was really surprise at how the plot thickened and kept me wondering what was gonna happen next. I ewas surprised that three people could hold it all together and each one were great!!Many surprises and Josh Brolin has really had a hidden talent thesre past years for he was fabulous in this --I daresay that is when he met his now wife Minnie Driver. It's very well acted, very well directed, and writing that will keep it on your mind."