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The Burning Plain (2008)

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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

Language:

English | Spanish

Release Date:

5 November 2009 (Argentina) See more »

Also Known As:

Loin de la terre brûlée See more »

Filming Locations:

Depoe Bay, Oregon, USA See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$20,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$58,749, 20 September 2009, Limited Release

Gross USA:

$200,399, 20 November 2009
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

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 writers. See more »

Goofs

In the airborne scene of the crop duster dusting the field, the course and actions of the dusting process were inconsistent with real crop dusting. Spraying began at a point well into the field, and no distinct pattern was set such as to avoid missing or re-spraying spots. 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 »


Soundtracks

Las Golondrinas
Written by Ricardo Palmerín & Luis Rosado
Performed by Flaco Jiménez (as Flaco Jimenez)
Courtesy of Warner Bros. Records Inc.
By Arrangement with Warner Music Group Film & TV Licensing
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Mothers and Daughters: Needs
20 September 2009 | by gradyharpSee all my reviews

BURNING PLAIN is far more than a successful movie, it is an art work on celluloid that holds the viewer's attention and plays with the mind and emotions in a way that few other films have succeeded. Guillermo Arriaga has written another intelligent, cleverly paced walk through a maze that ultimately leads to finding all of the handsomely carved pieces of a puzzle that fit together so well it defies improvement. Known for other brilliant scripts ('Amores Perros', '21 Grams', 'Babel') this script he elects to direct with a cast of actors providing extraordinary performances. If this film doesn't win in every category of the Oscars this year.....

The film has been given the tagline 'Love heals. Love absolves. Love burns.' The story, told in fragments of times past and times present, explores the lives of four women whose relationships are part of the secret the film reveals: Kim Bassinger is Gina, a married woman with children, including a perceptive and damaged daughter Mariana (Jennifer Lawrence), who has survived the mutilation of breast cancer and finds desperately needed love in the arms of Nick (Joaquim de Almeida), a clandestine love affair that takes place in a deserted trailer house in the outskirts of Las Cruces, NM. Charlize Theron (Sylvia) is the manager of a classy restaurant in Oregon who soothes past bruises with numerous superficial liaisons, one being with her chef (John Corbett). Maria (Tessa la) is a young girl living in Mexico with her father Santiago (Danny Pino) and his co-worker and friend Carlos (José María Yazpik). Each of these four women - Gina, Sylvia, Mariana, and Maria - is complexly tied to the others. The match that ignites the story is a fire that ends the lives of Gina and Nick, and after this tragedy the children of the two lovers - Mariana and young Santiago (J.D. Pardo) - bond and provide further fodder for the development of the ending of the story. To say more would destroy the tense, beautifully hewn script's conclusion. All is not as it seems until Arriaga pastes the pieces of the conundrum together.

The cast is first rate, with Bassinger and Theron offering some of their finest work to date. The cinematography (Robert Elswit, John Toll), the music score (Omar Rodriguez-Lopez), the careful editing (Craig Wood) and the casting (Debra Zane) all are first class. Once again Guillermo has proved his gifts as an artist - both as a writer and now as a director. One of the finest films of the year.

Grady Harp


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