The Burning Blu-ray Review

The Jungle is alive and breathing, animals kill and our killed. Civilization has no place here. Sun shines and trees grow but all the while the wild simply lives on. Kai washes along the river in the jungles of Argentina and arrives at a family farm. He has seen deforesters burn his family out of their lives and their farm. Revenge is like a cancer and it grows down the neck of many a man. He might have escaped barely but he wants his fill. He stumbled down to the river and now wants death. The family at the farm are also being hassled off of their land. The problem is they now have two people that the deforesters want. Eyes have begun to prowl the foliage for a view of their prey and this is not for them to be alive, merely a body. Living on this land is killing everyone and as they will not sell up, it could prove deadly once more.

I can see why many critics have seen this as a ‘Jungle Western’. The canted angles, composition of fight/ duel scenes and of course the building of tension and atmosphere are lifted from the Italian western of the 60s. Often these were built cut by cut, bar by bar and this technique is employed here. It was stock and trade and very familiar to Sergio Leone. So in a way, yes it is correct what has been said. The films final third is very much like this. It is a western from South America and fits nicely into the world of westerns that are being produced from Norway, Korea and Spain. I do want to say however, that to solely believe this analysis is to miss massive parts of this film. In my comprehension of what the film is and where it has come from, I feel that this has created a negative perception of its qualities.

If you do not buy the above then think me you will like this. The film is a mixture of devices, influences and ideas. We have a version of The Treasure of the Sierra Madre, which was a western (Loosely!). They want the land that holds something for them and will kill each other too get it. But I also saw within its bones a meditation on nature and the power of balance. The first act is literally as if Terence Malick were making the film and pondering this very question. What is it that holds this magical world at peace or war? Visually then it sings and is very interesting with its holds on space and its pulling of time. This makes it dreamlike and surreal but with a sense of wonder.

Then we have the bullets and blood. This wants to acknowledge the Cannibal films from South America of the 70s and 80s.Those films were never about cannibals and like The Burning they under pin the idea of civilizations crashing into each other. Violence does leave you shocked and here it stays with you. This also made me see Herzog. His films were always about the strong arm of the west crashing like a hammer into the world of the other. With this film you feel that hammer and it hurts. This however does illustrate the problem with the film and the concept in total. There is too much that the film maker wants to say and so it is clouded. We do not know if he is coming or the film is going. It should have known its place in the wild but did not. It lost its way and instead came across the tiger that would consume it and kill its chance at a better life.

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