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The Burning

  • Film
  • 2 out of 5 stars
the burning

Time Out says

2 out of 5 stars

Gael Garcia Bernal is no Clint Eastwood in this hippy-dippy rainforest western

Sergio Leone meets ‘Sounds of the Rainforest’ in this wafting new-age western. Gael Garcia Bernal plays Kia, a mysterious tattooed stranger who emerges from the Argentinian jungle just in time to save farm girl Vania (Alice Braga) from a band of murderous loggers who are after her father’s land. Fleeing into the woods, the pair form an instant bond (cue spectacularly unlikely arboreal nookie), before Bernal turns Predator-style jungle warrior, harrying the invaders with the obligatory arsenal of makeshift traps and hastily fashioned spears.

Given the strong cast, tidy plot and stunning landscape photography, this really should’ve been better. But there’s a complete absence of character development: Bernal’s stone-faced outsider is less The Man With No Name than The Man With No Personality, while Braga follows the tiresomely traditional woman-in-peril arc from freaked-out to fighting back.

Worst of all, writer-director Pablo Fendrik takes the whole thing terribly seriously, punctuating the action with ponderous slo-mo and laughably pompous discussions about Bernal’s spirit jaguar. Hippies may swoon, but for the rest of us this is all a bit dreamcatchers-at-dawn.

Written by Tom Huddleston

Release Details

  • Release date:Friday 19 June 2015
  • Duration:101 mins

Cast and crew

  • Director:Pablo Fendrik
  • Screenwriter:Pablo Fendrik
  • Cast:
    • Alice Braga
    • Gael García Bernal
    • Chico Díaz
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