A Must See Film.

18 09 2009

Mr. Arriaga makes a touching film.

I have to say I’m a HUGE fan of every film, short story, and book that Mr. Arriaga has made.  He really captures a style and pace that most filmmakers (writers for that matter) are afraid to tackle.  Stream of conscience writing is something that is difficult and daunting when you’re trying to fit it into a script.  The elements of a script are so ingrained in the old “hollywood” structure, that a “new look” is not only hard to write its hard to get bought.  Guillermo has also had to deal with the transition of his “Mexican” films into a more dynamic “world” audience. 

Guillermo’s first came onto the scene with Director Alejandro González Iñárritu.  The duo created three quality films: Amores Perros (Love’s a Bitch), 21 Grams, and Babel.  Now since Babel the two men have had a heated and public falling out.  This is the main reason that Arriaga found himself contemplating directing himself.  Charlize Theron convinced Arriaga to make a role for her.  That role turned into THE BURNING PLAIN. 

Imdb’s full synopsis covers the basic plot lines nicely: “The past and the present have a curious way of effecting one another asseveral people seperated by time and space are about to discover –Mariana, a 16-year-old girl trying to put together the shattered livesof her parents in a Mexican border town; Sylvia, a woman in Portlandwho must undertake an emotional odyssey to burnish a sin from her past;Gina and Nick, a couple who must deal with an intense and clandestineaffair; and Maria, a young girl who helps her parents find redemption,forgiveness and love. The five will discover that their actions maymean the difference between life and death as well as their ownjourneys into seeking redemption…and whether or not they will everfind it.”

However to truly witness how Arriaga, on a low budget, made an amazingly vivid and beautiful film you may have to dig a little further.

Arriaga chose New Mexico for its quiet and open landscape to play as the back drop of the film.  I have to say minus the “Oregon” scenes the hues and colors are a deep brown and yellow that really gives the audience a homely and old look.  To capture all this visual greatness – Arriaga chose well – his cintematographers on the film were Robert Elswit (Paul Thomas Anderson’s usual pick for DP/Cintematographer – There Will Be Blood, Magnolia, Punch Drunk Love, etc.) and John Toll (Cameron Crowe’s main guy – Vanilla Sky, Almost Famous and also many other great films like Tropic Thunder).  These two giants really laid an amazing landscape that mixed in with the interwoven script translated amazingly to the big screen.

The acting chops are there as well.  Charlize is our lead she shines.  Also enjoy the understated performances of Kim Bassinger and Joaquim de Almeida.  The young actors are also extremely strong performances – welcome these youngsters to the future stars list – Jennifer Lawrence, J.D. Pardo, and Diego J. Torres.  Jennifer and J.D’s on screen love affair is amazingly sweet and yet so haunting. 

In the end many may argue whether Arriaga or Inarritu are the real talents.  I’ve never met Inarritu – but on the three occasions i’ve met and interviewed Arriaga – I can honestly say – this guy has that “IT” and is Talent. 

Take the time to see this Oscar worthy film.  Arriaga is a true blessing as a filmmaker for our generation.  Go See The Burning Plain.




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