The Burning Plain (2008) – 4.5/5

Genius. How this movie neglected to get any attention is beyond me.

Arriaga, like in his previous films, plays with chronology here, only, there’s a bit of a twist to all of it that I stupidly didn’t realize until about an hour in, but when it happens, man was I surprised. Although twist may be too big a word for it, but it certainly took me by surprise, and it totally changed the way everything played out for me.

I also liked the “bird motif” that I can’t really get into without spoiling the film. It’s this subtle little element that is referenced only in passing, but if you pay careful attention, you’ll realize its brilliance. It’s irony at its finest. That probably didn’t make sense, but trust me, it’s there, and it’s brilliant if you can figure it out.

And Jennifer Lawrence, whom I love very much, is so sexy here, God. Her performance is arguably better than Charlize Theron’s, only because she’s not as showy or grand, though this could be more of a director’s choice than anything. And also because she’s damn fine. But her acting is also quite good.

The only thing I didn’t like about it, and this is a problem I have with a lot of Arriaga’s films, is that he always portrays white people as these crazy, emotionally disturbed types whose actions play havoc on the lives of the benevolent, sexually irresistible Hispanics they just can’t get enough of. A bit biased.

Anyway, great, great film with a complicated plot that probably won’t appeal to everyone.

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