6.8/10
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56 user 128 critic

The Burning Plain (2008)

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2:23 | Trailer
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.

Director:

Guillermo Arriaga
2 wins & 3 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Charlize Theron ... Sylvia
John Corbett ... John
José María Yazpik ... Carlos
Robin Tunney ... Laura
Gray Eubank ... Lawrence
Fernanda Romero ... Sophie
Kacie Thomas ... Vivi
Martin Papazian ... Young Man
Sean McGrath ... Cook
JD Pardo ... Young Santiago
Diego J. Torres ... Cristobal (as Diego Torres)
José Gallardo Jr. José Gallardo Jr. ... Xavier
Rachel Ticotin ... Ana
Rosalia De Aragon Rosalia De Aragon ... Aunt Rebecca (as Rosalia de Aragon)
Debrianna Mansini ... Paula
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Storyline

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

Taglines:

Love heals. Love absolves. Love burns.

Genres:

Crime | Drama | Romance

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

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

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA | Argentina | Mexico

Language:

English | Spanish

Release Date:

5 November 2009 (Argentina) See more »

Also Known As:

The Burning Plain See more »

Filming Locations:

Oregon, USA See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$20,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$58,749, 20 September 2009

Gross USA:

$200,730

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$5,642,478
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

|

Sound Mix:

Dolby Digital | DTS | SDDS

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

In a 2008 interview, Charlize Theron said taking her clothes off in front of cameras in this and any other film is is as easy as drinking for her. "I don't really think about it much. I read the scene and if it makes sense I do it I treat it the same way as I would any other scene. Whether it's a nude moment or sitting at a bar drinking, it's all choices. I don't think about it as nudity." See more »

Goofs

Santiago and Maria are supposedly living in Mexico, but Santiago's Piper has a US tail number (they start with "N" while Mexican aircraft start with XA or XB) See more »

Quotes

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 »

Connections

Featured in WatchMojo: Top 10 Jennifer Lawrence Performances (2015) See more »

Soundtracks

Quiero Verte
Written by Martin T. Martinez (Roland Garcia Music/BMI)
Performed by Mando Lopez y Los Muchachos
Under license from Hacienda Records
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Forced and forceful, gradually makes sense and gets to you...give it time
26 June 2010 | by secondtakeSee all my reviews

The Burning Plain (2008)

Following a growing trend toward taking a straight forward story and making it complicated by telling it out of order, The Burning Plain might have shown the fault lines in that method. And it's not that the story, a kind of Romeo and Juliet with child story, isn't riveting. It is. And it's not that the telling of it isn't interesting. It is. But the telling is so forcefully complicated, it draws attention to itself, and away from the more human drama that is at work.

That said, it's also true that every high point here there is a storytelling gaffe. The cross cultural Mexican/American themes are generally underplayed (the exception being the insults thrown at the funeral), and convincing. The basic love story is strong enough, too, and given a nice second layer through time, as you'll see. But there are some quirks that are made both improbable and overly dramatic. One of the tenderhearted heros of the story is shown too visibly as a disturbed stalker. And the lead woman, played with a kind of virtuosic exuberance as usual by Charlize Theron, has almost too much to juggle, emotionally and literally. It just doesn't wash.

Most troubling is the writing. Not the big picture, the plot and the large sequence of events, but the actually dialog. This kind of gritty and dire movie laced with real love has to be convincing above all, and there are dozens of moments and individual lines that just smack as screen writing rather than real characters thinking and speaking.

So it's a mixed bag. An ambitious and promising mixed bag, with some moving and beautiful moments. I think it's worth seeing, but with tolerance.


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