Burning Plain

Burning Plain

Director: Guillermo Arriaga

Cast: Charlize Theron, Kim Basinger, Joaquim de Almeida

     
 

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Charlize Theron top-lines the romantic ensemble The Burning Plain, written and directed by Babel screenwriter Guillermo Arriaga. 2929 Production's film tells the tale of a web of interconnecting love stories, with Theron playing Sylvia, a woman with a troubled past who tries to reconcile with herSee more details below

Overview

Charlize Theron top-lines the romantic ensemble The Burning Plain, written and directed by Babel screenwriter Guillermo Arriaga. 2929 Production's film tells the tale of a web of interconnecting love stories, with Theron playing Sylvia, a woman with a troubled past who tries to reconcile with her parents.

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Like his screenwriting work in Babel, 21 Grams, and Amores Perros, Guillermo Arriaga's directorial debut is a complex, emotional drama that doesn't limit itself to a single narrative. Instead, The Burning Plain skips back and forth through four different times and stories -- that is, if anything this heavy can be said to skip. Like the lives of its characters, this film is emotionally devastating as the audience witnesses the cruelty people can do to others, and themselves. In one of the four interweaving threads, Oscar winner Charlize Theron stars as Sylvia, a restaurant manager who has no trouble stripping for a succession of lovers, but she cannot be emotionally naked with anyone around her. A mysterious man from Mexico follows her through Portland, OR, and finally forces her to revisit a history she left behind. Another story involves Mariana (Jennifer Lawrence) and Santiago (J.D. Pardo), two teenagers in Las Cruces, NM, who find solace in each other after their parents' destructive affair and deaths. A third arc follows Gina (Oscar-winning actress Kim Basinger) as she is tempted to leave behind her family for a romance with a Mexican-American man (Joaquim de Almeida). Set in Mexico, the fourth plot follows a young girl (Tessa Ia), her father, and her father's best friend after a single moment threatens to upend their existence. As in Arriaga's other work, violence figures prominently, but emotional attacks have the true power to wound. The Burning Plain might attempt to be about resolution, redemption, and forgiveness at its conclusion, but the pervasive feelings here -- including guilt, regret, and anger -- aren't likely to leave the audience with any hope for humanity. The Burning Plain drags its feet through its 111-minute run time, making it a trip that's both tortuous and torturous for its audience. Despite its faults, The Burning Plain is technically strong. Director of photography Robert Elswit, who perfected gorgeous landscape shots on films such as There Will Be Blood and Syriana, brings his talent to the southern-set stories, while John Toll nicely captures the murky gray of Portland. Editor Craig Wood transitions expertly between the different stories, allowing the shots themselves to serve as clues to the mystery that begins with the film's opening shot of a trailer on fire in the New Mexico desert. For his freshman turn as director, Arriaga elicits excellent performances from his cast, particularly his lead actresses. His screenplays have often been more male-centric, but the women in The Burning Plain -- and the actresses who play them -- carry the film. Basinger proves that her Oscar for L.A. Confidential wasn't a fluke with her portrayal of the emotionally and physically scarred Gina, and Theron's eyes -- at once lifeless and haunted -- communicate more than most performers' entire bodies. The cast and crew all seem talented, but it's a shame that they have such dreary material to trudge through.

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Product Details

Release Date:
01/12/2010
UPC:
0876964001946
Original Release:
2008
Rating:
R
Source:
Magnolia
Region Code:
1
Presentation:
[Wide Screen]
Sound:
[Dolby AC-3 Surround Sound]
Time:
1:47:00
Sales rank:
26,062

Special Features

Closed Caption; The making of The Burning Plain; The music of The Burning Plain; HDNet: A look at The Burning Plain

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Charlize Theron Sylvia
Kim Basinger Gina
Joaquim de Almeida Nick Martinez
John Corbett John
Robin Tunney Laura
Brett Cullen Robert
Danny Pino Santiago Martinez
Jose Maria Yazpik Carlos
Jennifer Lawrence Mariana
J.D. Pardo Santiago,Young Santiago
Tessa Ia Maria
Rachel Ticotin Ana

Technical Credits
Guillermo Arriaga Director,Screenwriter
Ray Angelic Executive Producer
Kathryn Brink Casting
Marc Butan Executive Producer
Eduardo Costantini Co-producer
Craig Wood Editor
Mark Cuban Executive Producer
Jim Donahue Art Director
Lori Dovi Sound Mixer
Robert Elswit Cinematographer
Cindy Evans Costumes/Costume Designer
Annette Fradera Musical Direction/Supervision
Philip Hardage Asst. Director
Benjamin Hayden Art Director
Beth Kono Co-producer
Dan Leigh Production Designer
Laurie MacDonald Producer
Walter Parkes Producer
Omar Rodriguez-Lopez Score Composer
Dana Sano Musical Direction/Supervision
Alisa Tager Executive Producer
Charlize Theron Executive Producer
John Toll Cinematographer
Mike Upton Co-producer
Naython Vane Art Director
Karen Vassar Sound/Sound Designer
Lana Veenker Casting
Todd Wagner Executive Producer
Scott Wolf Sound/Sound Designer
Debra Zane Casting
Hans Zimmer Score Composer
Adrian Zurita Associate Producer

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Scene Index

Disc #1 -- The Burning Plain
1. Desolate [7:31]
2. Funeral [5:35]
3. Crop Dusting [4:30]
4. Rendezvous [8:14]
5. Wanting to Know More [3:41]
6. Plane Crash [7:40]
7. "Wait for Me at the Windmill" [10:26]
8. Spying [15:39]
9. Curiosity [7:46]
10. Mother and Daughter [1:23]
11. The Truth [11:47]
12. Running Away [6:39]
13. Asking for Forgiveness [5:00]
14. Credits [3:55]

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