The Burning Plain | Chicago Reader

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Charlize Theron plays a bed-hopping Oregon restaurateur who as a teen in New Mexico lost her mother (Kim Basinger) to a senseless tragedy in this lugubrious 2008 melodrama written and directed by Guillermo Arriaga. As in his screenplays for Amores Perros, 21 Grams, and Babel, Arriaga juggles interlocking stories to mine raw emotions, but here his balance is off, and the result is confusion, not catharsis. Basinger gives a tender performance as a breast cancer survivor whose husband no longer desires her; she finds solace in trysts with a married Mexican (Joaquim De Almeida) in the rugged Chihuahuan desert. But the actions of her teenage daughter and the Mexican's teenage son after the lovers' deaths defy logic, even when all is explained at the end. In English and subtitled Spanish. 111 min.
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Director: Guillermo Arriaga
Writer: Guillermo Arriaga
Producer: Laurie MacDonald
Cast: Charlize Theron, Jennifer Lawrence, Kim Basinger, Joaquim de Almeida, Tessa Ia, Diego J. Torres, Danny Pino, Sean McGrath, Brett Cullen and Fernanda Romero

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