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Burning, The


Stars: Gael Garcia Bernal, Alice Braga, Chico Diaz

Director: Pablo Fendrik

An Argentinian tortilla western set in the jungle! It comes complete with Ennio Morricone-style music and a siege finale.

From out of the rainforest where the jaguar is living emerges a semi-clad man with no name (Bernal), landing up at the croft of a poor farmer, his daughter (Braga) and handyman.

No-name has barely settled by a nighttime fire when the feared landgrabbers arrive, shooting the handyman, seizing the girl and forcing the old man to sign over his farm, promising life if he does so, but delivering death instead.

Jungle-wise No-name, who has hidden while this is going on, stalks the bad guys and rescues the girl, launching a campaign of hit and run against the aggressors, who find themselves shooting at shadows.

There's just time for a spot of sex in the jungle before the corpse-strewn finale.

Ponderously paced for the most part, the film does have authentic, sweat-busting, foetid rainforest atmosphere, and is dazzlingly shot in a Cinecolor process which has made considerable advances on its Hollywood counterpart of 60 years ago.

The film however has no personality, its actors unable to find any depth in their characters, so that the action, however incisive, fails to engage our emotions at all.

David Quinlan

Argentina 2014. UK Distributor: Arrow Films. Cinecolor.
102 minutes. Widescreen. UK certificate: 15.

Guidance ratings (out of 3): Sex/nudity 1, Violence/Horror 1, Drugs 0, Swearing 0.

Review date: 14 Jun 2015