Burning Man Reviews
My first viewing of this film left me a bit dazed and confused. I knew I absolutely loved the cinematography. I knew I loved Matthew Goode's performance. But the seemingly random mash-up of the editing left me conflicted. Now, a few years later upon a second viewing, I really see the brilliance in this film and the techniques used to tell this story. It's a very smart, detailed and complex interwoven set of events and emotions edited together to explore the different aspects of the grieving process and echo how human memory works. The majesty of the editing really comes especially in the pairing of some of the most difficult with the most amazing memories. I think the film plays so much better on repeat viewings because once you get past just understanding what the story is the first time, then you can explore the myriad dynamics of the details that really make this movie special. Definitely a film to have on a regular, repeat viewing cycle.
My Initial Review (3.5 stars):
One of the most visually breathtaking movies I've ever seen. The cinematography and production design are perfect. Every single frame of this film is a piece of art, meticulous in its detail like in a Malick film. The performances from Matthew Goode, Bojana Novakovic and Jack Heanly (as the young son Oscar) are spectacular. Goode lives up to his name to say the least and provides the emotional core of the movie. The main thing keeping Burning Man from sizzling on screen like no other is the messy jigsaw-like non-linear editing. I felt like the Director lost a lot of emotional depth and caring for the characters by chopping their narratives up in such a disjointed manner. It wasn't until halfway thru the movie that I started to understand what was really going on. But every time the story started to build, it went in a different direction and lost its steam. I still really liked the story overall, and I wanna revisit it down the road in a year or two and see if a 2nd viewing improves it now that I know the structure and story. Kudos to the filmmakers however for taking chances and going outside the box. Bottom line is that this down under flick is a delight and should definitely be seen.
"Burning Man" is a challenging and engaging stream of consciousness movie. Unlike say "Je T'Aime, Je T'Aime," which gets hung up on a wonky time travel plot, "Burning Man" has no such distractions. It is only concerned with the relationships between characters which while possibly confusing at first, eventually become clear, along with Tom's motivations and fixations, on the way to finding the tragedy at the heart of his life. Abd underlining that is Matthew Goode who shows that he can play volatile characters just as well as the restrained characters he usually plays.