Burning Man

2011

Action / Drama / Romance

35
Rotten Tomatoes Critics - Certified Fresh 74%
Rotten Tomatoes Audience - Upright 64%
IMDb Rating 6.5 10 3344

Synopsis


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Movie Reviews

Reviewed by Michael Ledo 6 / 10

Grief

The film starts off with Tom (Matthew Goode) masturbating while looking at a naked girl (Rachel Griffiths) dressed as a nurse. We then see him bleeding out from an auto accident and the 90 minutes later we are back to where we started with a seriously disjointed film with flashbacks within flashbacks within flashbacks. Not too terribly hard to keep up, it just didn't add anything to the film. We find out Tom is a successful chef whose wife Sarah (Bojana Novakovic) has died from cancer, but is alive for half the picture. They have a son Oscar (Jack Heanly) and Aunt Karen (Essie Davis), who wants to help out while Tom grieves and has sex with his therapist and then later we see him meet her for the first time.

The film is about Tom dealing with grief in his own disjointed way.

Guide: F-word, sex, nudity.

Reviewed by kimjohnsonnow 1 / 10

Tedious and annoying.

Other reviewers have said it....tedious and annoying. Trying to be too clever by half, this movie jumps through the time zones almost frame by frame. The unifying factor being that the main character is a caricature of a male chef, you know the Gordon Ramsey type who are arrogant and think that the world worships them because they can cook seafood. With complete disregard, the main character has total disrespect for everyone in the story including himself. Wow, if this is what someone thinks grief is like then it's pretty extreme. The rest of us mix in being normal human beings with grief and continue our lives learning that life is for living. This being the gift that those who pass away leave us. I thought that it was portraying an ice addict such was the extreme behavior shown. Sorry guys trying a bit too hard...where is the subtle portrayal that Australian movies do best

Reviewed by eddie_baggins 9 / 10

Touching and heartfelt. An Australian classic

Unconventional and confronting, Jonathan Teplitzky's 2011 Australian film Burning Man is one of those rare movies that possess a disquieting power over the viewer that brings them in and just as easily crushes them as it does charm them. That this power has been so rarely experienced by viewers with this film by fact they've either bypassed or simply not known about this stunning drama is a mighty shame, as fans of uncompromising film-making are missing out on one extraordinary ride.

Jonathan Teplitzky announced himself as a filmmaker to watch with his 2003 Aus crime caper Getting' Square and while it took him the many years in between to deliver Burning Man, it was both worth the wait and an incredibly leap in ambition in a pure delivery sense with Burning Man far removed from Getting' Square's rough charms in almost every sense of filmmaking craft.

Told in a non-linear fashion, Teplitzky's tale unfolds in an at first off-putting fashion that unravels slowly but surely to create something more powerful than a more conventional example could've ever achieved. It's done by an assured hand, the film looks gorgeous (highlighted by a stunningly realized car crash) thanks to DOP Garry Phillips, is scored movingly by Lisa Gerrard who rose to fame from her work on Gladiator and features a cast of performers who deliver all at once, career best turns. It's an Australian production that puts many of its counterparts to shame and was duly recognized by both critics and local awards ceremonies but never truly resonated with local audiences which is a real shame and most likely did so due to its touchy subject matters.

To say Burning Man is an easy watch would be wrong, it's a no holds barred look at grief, illness and love, staples of cinema that are common but never delved into the way in which they are here. It's a tricky subject to get right but Teplitzky and his actors handle it with aplomb thanks to considered humour and a beating heart.

The heart and soul of Burning Man is exemplified by Brit Matthew Goode in the lead role of Tom. So good as a support in both Watchman and A Single Man, Goode shines here as the grieving chef Tom. His world class turn in paramount to Burning Man's successes and finds able support in the never better Bojana Novakovic and Essie Davis. Both the rawness and frankness of these performances are elements you rarely find in motion pictures today, both Australian and afar off.

Unforgettable despite some minor flaws, Burning Man is quite frankly one of Australia's finest ever dramatic motion pictures that manages to be both heartfelt and affecting and never once played to cheap emotional touches, and the less known about the stories nuances the better. A grand achievement for all involved and a film worthy of your time, Burning Man is the underrated classic sought by all those who appreciate cinema at its most poignant and original.

4 ½ lucky lobsters out of 5

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