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The Burning Plain (2008)

R  |   |  Crime, Drama, Romance  |  5 November 2009 (Argentina)
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Ratings: 6.8/10 from 14,505 users   Metascore: 45/100
Reviews: 56 user | 125 critic | 18 from Metacritic.com

A drama with a two-tiered storyline concerning a mother and daughter who try to form a bond after the young woman's difficult childhood.


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1 win & 3 nominations. See more awards »



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Young Man
Cristobal (as Diego Torres)
José Gallardo Jr. ...
Rosalia De Aragon ...
Aunt Rebecca (as Rosalia de Aragon)


The Burning Plain follows the story of several different people separated by time and space -- Sylvia, a woman in Oregon who must undertake an emotional odyssey to rid herself of her past; Mariana and Santiago, two teenagers trying to piece together the shattered lives of their parents in a New Mexico border town; Maria, a little girl who goes on a border-crossing voyage to help her parents find redemption, forgiveness, and love; and Gina and Nick, a couple who must deal with an intense and clandestine affair... because they are both married. Written by sundance7490 from Scottsdale, Arizona

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


Love heals. Love absolves. Love burns.


Crime | Drama | Romance

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for sexuality, nudity and language | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:







Release Date:

5 November 2009 (Argentina)  »

Also Known As:

Ravnica u plamenu  »

Filming Locations:


Box Office


$20,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

$58,749 (USA) (18 September 2009)


$200,399 (USA) (20 November 2009)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs



Sound Mix:

| |


Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


The title can be translated to Spanish as "El Llano en Llamas", the title of Juan Rulfo's short story collection, one of Mexico's most famous. See more »


Sylvia lives in Portland, but works at a restaurant on the ocean - two hours away. See more »


Laura: Late night?
Sylvia: I guess.
Laura: Again?
Sylvia: Again.
Laura: Hmm. Same guy?
Sylvia: No.
Laura: Do I know him?
Sylvia: Maybe.
Laura: Do you know him?
See more »


Featured in Siskel & Ebert: Episode dated 5 September 2009 (2009) See more »


Transcontinental 1:30am
Written by Vienna Teng
Performed by Vienna Teng
Courtesy of Rounder Records
By Arrangement with Ocean Park Music Group
See more »

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User Reviews

Solid debut for writer Arriaga.
12 April 2009 | by (United Kingdom) – See all my reviews

The writer Guillermo Arriaga, much famed for his trilogy of films with director Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu, namely Amores Perros, 21 grams and Babel, steps behind the camera and debuts his own directing skills with 'The Burning Plain' a multi-layered affair that at its core tries to explore how we deal with guilt. If you didn't like the style of the afore mentioned films then chances are you wont get on with this either. The story is told in interweaving flashbacks and over different time periods and does require some work on the part of the viewer. But with plot pieces trickled out like a breadcrumb trail right up to the end, a great but subtle score and some breathtaking scenery it grips you as you slowly piece it all together. Added to that there are the two brilliant central performances from Charlize Theron and Kim Basinger, as the damaged mother and daughter and a supporting cast that in their various roles are also superb especially Jennifer Lawrence who rightly won an award at the Venice Film Festival. The cinematography is great and the colours are so warm you can almost feel the Mexican heat coming out of the screen. The direction while not quite as good as Inarritu proves that Arriaga was indeed paying attention and the overall feel is eerily similar. The only downside is that it does leave certain characters stories unfinished but that really is just a minor quibble in what is a very emotionally charged and challenging film.

20 of 28 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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