The Burning Plain (2009) [Blu-ray]

Genre(s): Crime / Drama / Romance
Magnolia || R - 107 minutes - $29.98 || January 12, 2010
Reviewer: Tyler Thomas || Posted On: 2010-02-15

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.:: F I L M ::.
The Film

.: F E A T U R E S :.

Special Features

.:: V I D E O ::.

.:: A U D I O ::.

B L U - R A Y

Blu-ray Exclusives

.:: O V E R A L L ::.
Director: Guillermo Arriaga
Writer(s): Guillermo Arriaga (written by)
Cast: Charlize Theron, Kim Basinger

Theatrical Release Date: September 18, 2009

Supplemental Material:
  • 3 Featurettes
  • BD-Live

Technical Information:
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Widescreen (2.40)
  • English (DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1)
  • Subtitles: English SDH, Spanish

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.::THE FILM::.

I have no clue what went on during the watching of The Burning Plain. Normally when I watch films I type up the review as the movie is playing, but instead I attempted to view the flick then write up the review later. Somehow that caused a miscommunication in my brain, as I remember watching the film but no clue what happened the entire time. I do however know it was boring, contrived and nude scenes starring actresses who were hot thirty-years-ago is not a way to sell a flick.

So Iím going to try my best to describe what happened in the movie and try not to spoil things. If youíre the type that doesnít enjoy accidentally reading a plot point because the reviewer didnít put a spoiler warning in front of the paragraph then stop now. Sylvia (Charlize Theron) is living with a dark secret that she has a daughter somewhere, but only finds out when a man named Carlos (Jose Maria Yazpik) tells her he knows where she is. Sylvia is apparently married and runs some sort of restaurant, but negates to tell her husband whatís going on with the whole daughter situation. The situation doesnít make a lot of sense as though the film fails to tell a back story, but Iíll get on with the other story first.

Gina (Kim Basinger) is living in a love-scorned marriage to a husband that she doesnít care about and a family she ditches at every chance she gets. Yes, Iím being serious by the way, as when the whole family goes to K-Mart for some grocery shopping she takes the vehicle and goes to see her lover on the other side of town. The family is ticked off yet the husband still fails to notice anything going on. No, thatís completely normal. No husband in the world would find that odd, except the one that maybe cared about the marriage and the family the wife is ditching. The story she comes up with as to why she was late for at least an hour was also preposterous, and thereís just no way that the script writers would think that this could fly with audiences. Ginaís whole story deals with her being torn between the guy she drives through the back roads to see and the family she never really cares about.

The fact that Theron and Bassingerís career sunk this low to star in this flick says a ton about why this movie was boring. Iím in awe that two respectable actresses are put into this type of film unless it was for a big paycheck. By big, I mean astronomical big. Plus, thereís nudity that should not be there. I know if you read my reviews a bunch you donít really ever read me saying that, but thereís just no reason for what I saw. Sorry I just rattled off like eight things that werenít at all related for no reason, so my apologies.

Anyways, back to the crappy story and dialogue and everything else involved with the film. The acting here is literally the high school camera club acting, and in case you donít know what that means it literally means that it was awful. Theron and Bassinger, along with the supporting cast, act like rocks in the desert with their lines and their movements. I know that the filmís producer must have had a different vision for this flick than what it turned out to be, because if this was his vision than I would be worried about putting more money into that guyís wallet.

I wondered why the film came out in 2008 but I was just now receiving the disc. Then after watching the flick I realized why. It should have stayed in 2008 where it belonged. Sorry Theron, but this film is no Monster.


The Making of A Burning Plain (44 minutes): This is an incredibly long documentary about the film that involves cast and crew interviews. There is a ton of information to be had here, especially if you liked the film. I however didnít, so this sort of bored me after a few minutes.

The Music of The Burning Plain (16 minutes): This showcases the score of the film, as told by the crew that composed the flick. I found this to be tedious as well, especially with the dang green bar on the side of the screen. The camera and quality is also quite poor here, which heavily distracted me from somewhat enjoying this extra.

HDNet: A Look at The Burning Plain (5 minutes): HDNet takes an exclusive look at the film, although if you watched the movie and the documentary extra about the movie then this will prove to be pointless.


BD-Live: This extra doesnít work at the time of me writing this review, so I will check back in a week or so to see if anything is available.


This is a soft transfer by far, although I somewhat expected it since the film is nearly two-years-old and has been sitting on the studio shelf since then. I was hoping that colors would be brighter than they were, but instead we get a transfer thatís lackluster in appearance in nearly every scene and colors drowned out. Speaking of colors, they are drowned out (go figure) and make the movie seem like it was shot back in the 70ís. Contrast was also slightly an issue here too, as though I noticed many scenes with grain and noise in them to the point of where they were distracting for my viewing pleasure. This isnít a great transfer by any means, and hopefully in the future Magnoliaís releases get a little fine tuning so people get their moneyís worth.

The DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 track that comes with the film is completely overkill, but not in a good way. Voices are overblown to the point of where I struggled to understand what was being said, although I could hear the fact that they were indeed talking. I was also disappointed to note that the movie has zero action scenes involved with it, so there was no chance what so ever to rate the surround usage. For a dialogue-heavy film, the transfer is just completely off though. If viewers canít understand the dialogue due to the track being off-balance, then whatís the point of including an HD track on a disc?


I wasnít impressed in the slightest with The Burning Plain. The acting is sub-par and something I expect from a no-name cast instead of one thatís been around for a long time. Granted, they havenít really been relevant in about the same amount of time, but I still digress. The technical package is below-average for a Blu-Ray release although the special features package is decent. This is only a rental for the ladies, as though the guys will be hoping their Blu-Ray player burns on a plain while watching the flick. Get it? It hasÖ never mind.