The Burning Plain Reviews

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Melissa Anderson
Film Comment Magazine
November 17, 2013
What's that smell? The plain isn't the only thing that's charred in screenwriter Guillermo Arriaga's directorial debut; subtlety goes up in flames too.
Mike Edwards
What Culture
March 13, 2011
Deep-seated emotional problems are examined in a complex movie that, as ever with Arriaga, refuses to fit into a straightforward narrative.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/5
Matt Kelemen
Las Vegas CityLife
January 31, 2011
Knowing ... that it's a 20-year old story, one can only conclude the idea behind the film would have been best left unfilmed, an unfinished step toward greater things.
Marty Mapes
Movie Habit
September 28, 2010
Babel director shows his hand too soon
Full Review | Original Score: 2.5/4
Perri Nemiroff
CinemaBlend.com
August 12, 2010
Arriaga's multi-narrative format got the best of him. Rather than deliver a sense of shock and awe, it's swallowed up by complexity, leaving you to wonder, "This is it?"
Full Review | Original Score: 3/5
David Stratton
The Australian
April 26, 2010
When so many cinema releases are instantly forgettable, The Burning Plain clings to the memory...
Full Review | Original Score: 4/4
Andrew L. Urban
Urban Cinefile
April 24, 2010
A melancholy but also profoundly uplifting film by the talented Guillermo Arriaga. Storytelling is an artform and Arriaga is a master
Julie Rigg
MovieTime, ABC Radio National
April 23, 2010
I think Ariaga needs to find another structuring device: this is way too complex, and Arriaga is so busy time-shifting that it takes quite a while to figure out who the characters are, and the way their relationships come together.
Sandra Hall
Sydney Morning Herald
April 22, 2010
It's a hard film to love, partly because of its air of deadly seriousness.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/5
Margaret Pomeranz
At the Movies (Australia)
April 21, 2010
Even if the film is a little contrived, it's quite a haunting experience...
Full Review | Original Score: 4/5
Cara Nash
FILMINK (Australia)
April 21, 2010
Once it all clicks into place and viewers are left to engage with the characters, the heavy misery and self-importance of the piece becomes overwhelming.
Jeffrey M. Anderson
Combustible Celluloid
January 21, 2010
None of the characters breathe... They're knocked helplessly, lifelessly around in the service of the oh-so-serious story.
Simon Weaving
Screenwize
December 12, 2009
Charlize Theron and Kim Bassinger star in an intriguing drama where past and present are brought together to reveal how you can be redeemed through love
Full Review | Original Score: 4.5/5
Louis Proyect
rec.arts.movies.reviews
November 13, 2009
A dreary mess directed and written by Guillermo Arriaga. Since it is Arriaga's first directing assignment, he can only blame his screenwriter for this uninvolving melodrama.
Dan Lybarger
eFilmCritic.com
October 29, 2009
All of these seemingly disparate stories are related, but Arriaga connects them more slowly than an alert viewer can on his or her own.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/5
Dennis Schwartz
Ozus' World Movie Reviews
October 26, 2009
It wearily limps along with its joyless obvious tale of loss, guilt and redemption.
Full Review | Original Score: C
Keith Cohen
Entertainment Spectrum
October 24, 2009
Theron continues her string of terrific and daring thespian performances. She lays bare her body and soul in this unforgettable heartbreaking turn.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/4
Robert Roten
Laramie Movie Scope
October 23, 2009
The film isn't entirely believable in some places, but I did admire the skill of the storytelling and the neat way all the pieces come together.
Full Review | Original Score: B+
Philip Martin
Arkansas Democrat-Gazette
October 18, 2009
It lacks whatever Inarritu brought ... something like a joyful playfulness to leaven the dolefulness of Arriaga's literary vision.
Full Review | Original Score: 87/100
Kevin Williamson
Jam! Movies
October 16, 2009
Just because a movie has over-sexed blonds, lusty teens, roasted birds, a fire, a plane crash, self-mutilation and Charlize Theron's breasts doesn't mean it won't be bad. But it shouldn't be boring.
Full Review | Original Score: 2/5
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