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Review: Burning Man

Score:F

Director:Jonathan Teplitzky

Cast:Matthew Goode, Bojana Novakovic, Jack Heanly

Running Time:110.00

Rated:R

Imagine if you can a mix of A Single Man, Crash, Babel and The Tree of Life, only a lot less coherent and about a thousand times more pretentious. At times, it is absolutely impossible to follow what's happening in Jonathan Teplitzky's Burning Man, which makes it especially difficult to care about our protagonist. 

Coincidentally, Matthew Goode also starred in A Single Man, but this time he's the one grieving a lost lover. Unfortunately, we don't find this out until a good 30 minutes into the movie, well after we've opened with him masturbating, seen him drive like a complete jerk, and get arrested at his kid's birthday party.

The rest of the movie plays like some sort of fever dream because he's also dying(?) in a hospital room after his reckless driving caused his car to flip over a few times before catching on fire. So there are lots of flashbacks within flashbacks, like when his son was born, when he started his dream job, and when he started sleeping with every babe on the beach to numb himself after his wife died.

Sympathy will be the last emotion on your mind while this mess rambles on for close to two hours. Frustration, confusion, anger"”these things you might feel. Probably a little tired, too. Because while every frame of this movie looks gorgeous (as well as its actors, who are frequently naked), none of it is the least bit compelling. It's just one dull moment to the next. Now he's screwing; now he's crying; now he's staring blankly out into the sea.

You keep waiting for it to be over, but it keeps on going. You'll likely doze off, but you'll wake up when you hear John Lennon's "Instant Karma." That's when you know this beautiful nightmare has come to an end.

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About Kip Mooney

Kip Mooney
Like many film critics born during and after the 1980s, my hero is Roger Ebert. The man was already the best critic in the nation when he won the Pulitzer in 1975, but his indomitable spirit during and after his recent battle with cancer keeps me coming back to read not only his reviews but his insightful commentary on the everyday. But enough about a guy you know a lot about. I knew I was going to be a film critic—some would say a snob—in middle school, when I had to voraciously defend my position that The Royal Tenenbaums was only a million times better than Adam Sandler’s remake of Mr. Deeds. From then on, I would seek out Wes Anderson’s films and avoid Sandler’s like the plague. Still, I like to think of myself as a populist, and I’ll be just as likely to see the next superhero movie as the next Sundance sensation. The thing I most deplore in a movie is laziness. I’d much rather see movies with big ambitions try and fail than movies with no ambitions succeed at simply existing. I’m also a big advocate of fun-bad movies like The Room and most of Nicolas Cage’s work. In the past, I’ve written for The Dallas Morning News and the North Texas Daily, which I edited for a semester. I also contributed to Dallas-based Pegasus News, which in the circle of life, is now part of The Dallas Morning News, where I got my big break in 2007. Eventually, I’d love to write and talk about film full-time, but until that’s a viable career option, I work as an auditor for Wells Fargo. I hope to one day meet my hero, go to the Toronto International Film Festival, and compete on Jeopardy. Until then, I’m excited to share my love of film with you.

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