The Burning Plain - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

The Burning Plain Reviews

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Josh Bell
Las Vegas Weekly
October 7, 2009
Arriaga just sets his cast on mope, with nary a smile present, and the actors slog through the misery as best they can.
Full Review | Original Score: 2/5
Adam Tobias
Watertown Daily Times
September 25, 2009
The Burning Plain is missing a surprising and compelling story that packs an emotional punch, so Arriaga uses his signature style to distract you in the same way a magician would use the old sleight of hand practice.
Full Review | Original Score: 2.5/5
Top Critic
Roger Ebert
Chicago Sun-Times
September 17, 2009
Told chronologically, it might have accumulated considerable power. Told as a labyrinthine tangle of intercut timelines and locations, it is a frustrating exercise in self-indulgence by writer-director Guillermo Arriaga.
Full Review | Original Score: 2.5/4
Top Critic
Michael Phillips
At the Movies
September 8, 2009
It's not really a who-done-it, it's more of a when'd-ya-guess-it and a who-cares.
Douglas Perry
September 25, 2009
Arriaga bounces around in time and space, a strategy that seems intended to demonstrate his own complexity rather than to serve the story.
Full Review | Original Score: C+
Kelly Vance
East Bay Express
September 23, 2009
Others may try, but no one can top Guillermo Arriaga for constructing grandiose watchtowers of pretentious pathos, crisscrossed by a melancholy emotional circuitry that nevertheless reassures us that, yes, we are all interconnected, if only in our despair
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.
Top Critic
Aaron Hillis
Village Voice
September 15, 2009
The Burning Plain marks Arriaga's behind-the-camera debut, and his obviousness is staggering.
Fernando F. Croce
Slant Magazine
September 14, 2009
The film groans with shoddy ironies and overbearing serendipity.
Full Review | Original Score: 1/4
Robert Levin
Film School Rejects
September 17, 2009
The film cuts back and forth over more than a decade, weaves its way through two settings and winds up at a place heavy on symbolism and melodrama but empty on ideas.
Full Review | Original Score: 1.5/4
Avi Offer
NYC Movie Guru
September 20, 2009
Initially intriguing with solid performances and impressive cinematography, but its suspense and poignancy diminish as the anachronic plot structure eventually feels unnecessary, gimmicky and tiresome.
Full Review | Original Score: 5.5/10
Chris Hewitt (St. Paul)
St. Paul Pioneer Press
September 25, 2009
To its credit, The Burning Plain grapples with some of the big questions human beings face, but its reach exceeds its grasp.
| Original Score: 1/4
Top Critic
Greg Quill
Toronto Star
October 16, 2009
If Arriaga had allowed us to spend more time with the key characters in this extended tragedy, or had spent some time punching up the plot, The Burning Plain might have had a chance.
Top Critic
Nicolas Rapold
Time Out
September 16, 2009
For all the pretenses of roiling or suffocated desires, the cast appears to have been ordered to deaden all sensation (except for Basinger, who frets away in an underwritten part).
Full Review | Original Score: 1/5
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.
Prairie Miller
September 27, 2009
This undocumented north of the border crossing in reverse romantic drama, likewise crosses borders in a kind of Americanization of the telenovela, with mixed results.
Cole Smithey
September 10, 2009
Blonde-haired white women are omens of doom in screenwriter Guillermo Arriaga's arduous directorial debut.
Full Review | Original Score: C-
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.
Brian Tallerico
Movie Retriever
September 18, 2009
Arriaga's film beats his audience over the head with the pain of its characters but provides no release, no lessons, and no relatable humanity. It's film for masochists only.
Kim Voynar
September 18, 2008
The pacing of the first half is tediously slow, and while this was probably a deliberate decision on Arriaga's part, it does have the effect of dragging the film ...
Full Review | Original Score: 2.5/5
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