Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Personal Demons Plague Beautiful People in the Burning Plain

I wasn't expecting much when I went to watch Guillermo Arriaga's "The Burning Plain". I could get frothy heaping praises about it, but for now, I shall behave coz it's a difficult job making a capsule about it.

Gina (Kim Basinger) is distraught that after a radical mastectomy to battle her cancer. But her loving husband is unable to make love to her after the operation. So she starts an affair with a married man Nick (Joaquim de Almeida). This affair will affect both of their families. And a twist involving Gina's daughter Mariana (Jennifer Lawrence) and Nick's son Santiago (JD Pardo) unwittingly starts where their parents' indiscretion ends.

Meanwhile, a successful restaurant manager Sylvia numbs herself with joyless one night stands - from her chef to her customer. But Sylvia seems not capable of any form of intimacy. What gives?

Across the Mexican border, a farmer (Danny Pino) crashes his plane. Before jumping into the operation, he sends his friend Carlos to take the his daughter to California.

These seemingly unrelated stories are deftly and masterfully weaved and edited into a nonlinear narrative that is compellingly told. Everyone gives a commendable performance, although my favorite part is the narrative string of Mariana and Santiago! Charlize Theron once again proves that she won that Oscar (2003's "Monster") some years back for the right reasons - and that wasn't a fluke! I take my hats off to her and to its writer-director Guillermo Arriaga!

Charlize Theron is a force of nature.

The cutie JD Pardo as Santiago: "Can I sleep with you? I promise not to touch you," asks Santiago to Mariana.

Jennifer Lawrence as Mariana.

The incredible cast walked the red carpet at the Venice Film Festival where the film was nominated for a Golden Lion. Young Jennifer Lawrence won the Marcello Mastroianni Award!

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