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Review: The Burning Plain

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The Burning Plain. Photo courtesy Magnolia Pictures.

The opening shot of The Burning Plain is a stark one: a fully engulfed trailer in the middle of the desert, backed by rocky, dry mountains. The next scene is equally strong, as Charlize Theron awakes to gloomy surroundings, sporting a hangover and nothing else. There’s a moment where she makes it to a window, topless, in time to see a few school children notice her as they scurry off down the wet pavement. And then the next shot is...and then...followed by....

Truth be told, a review that continued to read like that - with all the contemplative pausing an ellipses can manage - wouldn’t be far off from what writer/director Guillermo Arriaga is trying to accomplish. This, in and of itself wouldn’t be a bad thing; plenty of writer/directors out there like to weave a story together and play with timing in a narrative. The difference, this time, is that the weaving is a bit too threadbare to really let the audience warm up to much of anything.