Monday, June 20, 2011

Burning Palms: Movie Review


Past offensive and into pointless and wrong.

"Burning Palms" is supposed to be a dark comedy. I didn't know if I was supposed laugh, cry, or stare indignantly at the offensiveness on the screen. I chose the latter. There was nothing remotely funny, nothing emotionally-engaging, but everything filled with crimes being committed or people who should be committed to a mental institution.2010

Directed by: Christopher Landon

Screenplay by: Christopher Landon

Starring: Rosamund Pike and Jamie Chung

I'm assuming the entire point of such a film was for the shock value. But shock only matters if there's something to care about in the first place. These filmmakers do not want you to care about these characters, even if they do deserve care and support, they just wanted to laugh at them. But let me repeat, there is nothing remotely funny about any of this. Rape victims, child murderers, and suicidal women are not funny.

These filmmakers are probably sitting back laughing at me right now because I didn't get it. But what they don't understand is that the art of offending relies on either an underlying truth to the situation or a greater meaning or purpose. There is no redeeming value to "Burning Palms", just inappropriate actions being played out for no reason, or for inappropriate reasons, but either way this is not acceptable filmmaking.

Plot Summary:

In Santa Monica, a woman becomes alarmingly concerned over her fiancé's unnaturally close relationship with his teenage daughter. In Westwood, a sexual act turns into a psychological obsession for a young woman. In West Hollywood, a gay couple buys a young daughter and attempts to mold her to fit their lifestyle. In Holmby Hills, maladjusted kids and their equally maladjusted mother play murderous games. In Sherman Oaks, a rape victim faces her violator. In these five stories, one thing is clear, everything is taken to extremes in California.

Recommended:

Four Lions (2010) - The offensiveness and incompetence of suicide bombers.

City Island (2009) - A dysfunctional family dramedy with a Bronx accent.