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Burning Plain, The


Stars: Charlize Theron, Kim Basinger, J D Pardo, Jennifer Lawrence, Joaquim de Almeida, Jose Maria Yazpik, Robin Tunney, Danny Pino

Director: Guillermo Arriaga

This arid and terminally slow film, principally set in New Mexico, seems to tell three or four stories, but, as the movie proceeds. we realise they are all one. The film opens with a blazing trailer, in which an adulterous couple (Basinger, de Almeida) are incinerated.

The daughter of the woman and son of the man (Lawrence, Pardo) soon set up a liaison of their own, to the disgust of their surviving parents. Meanwhile, in faraway Oregon, nymphomaniac restaurateur Sylvia (Theron) drifts from man to man, harming herself along the way. Back in New Mexico, a crop-duster pilot is seriously injured in a crash, to the horror of his young daughter who's watching him.

Basinger is particularly fine here, but the interlocking pieces of the tale never hold the attention, with meetings and attitudes repeated over and again. Slow guitar music only emphasises the film's lack of pace.

David Quinlan

USA 2008. UK Distributor: Paramount. Colour by deluxe.
109 minutes. Widescreen. UK certificate: 15.

Guidance ratings (out of 3): Sex/nudity 2, Violence/Horror 1, Drugs 0, Swearing 1.

Review date: 09 Mar 2009