The Burning Plain

Charlize Theron (“Hancock” and an Academy Award for “Monster”) is a fine, fearless actress. Her nude scenes (this movie is R-rated) are integral to her character and are tossed off with a careless nonchalance. We are subjected to episodes of self-mutilation, but by the time this movie is half over, we begin to understand their genesis. In addition, by the time we see that confounded mobile home explode and burn four or five times―each time from a different perspective―we begin to understand THAT, as well.

Filmed in Las Cruces, New Mexico plus Depoe Bay and Portland, Oregon, this is a multi-cultural story with NO issue made of ethnicity; which I appreciated. It is also multi-generational, which brings us to the only weak link in the cast: Kim Basinger (“Cellular” and an Academy Award for “L.A. Confidential”) never for a moment convinced me that she was the wife of a long-haul trucker and frustrated mother of four. In my opinion, her carefully tousled hair was studiously done by some Beverly Hills hairdresser trying to make her look like Hollywood's impression of a hick.

John Corbett (“My Big Fat Greek Wedding” and “Dinner Rush”) has the thankless task of portraying one of Theron’s many rejected lovers.

When a film is presented in a non-linear fashion, I find myself getting irritated, but my companion felt that this initial confusion added to our stress, which in this movie, is an essential component, so I accept the skipping around this time. One caveat: Just try to keep track of everyone and pay close attention to names and locations.

I want a movie to be thought provoking, and have found myself thinking about this one long after the screening, so I guess writer/director Guillermo Arriaga (“Babel” and “21 Grams”) has accomplished his mission, although my thoughts weren't very positive....