Montage migraine alert
The tonal shifts of the movie resemble Tom's emotional rollercoaster. One particular montage juxtaposes shots of a breast gently caressed when Tom and Sarah make love, and the same breast being examined by an oncologist at the hospital. Humor and eroticism are not usually associated with cancer and grief movies, but it’s pulled off expertly here, giving a fuller definition to ‘life’ than the Hollywood bullshit we are used to. The scene in which the doctors are trying to figure out where exactly so much blood is coming from on Tom’s body is especially hilarious, as well as the part where he makes ‘special chicken’ for an unhappy client. Combining the funny and the sad hasn’t been so harmonious since Seeking a Friend for the End of the World.
The crazy editing can get to some people but if anything, this representation of reality is closest to the way we think, the way our memory works, how internal speech is formed, how an object, a person or a smell can call up a montage of memories, thoughts, daydreams, almost hallucinations (aggravated by the sorry condition of the character). Jonathan Teplitzky should be praised for trying to emulate those complex processes onscreen.
Finally, Burning Man is a refreshing break from the Hollywood dictate of sunny, bubblegum endings. The movie gives hope to filmmakers with an easy formula for doing difficult subjects ‘in reverse’ or ‘out of order’ – as long as the ending note is a positive one. And with the last scene set in the tranquility of nature, Burning Man is nothing else but an affirmation of life, and its unstoppable continuity.
DVD Information: This is a movie best watched at home: you can rewind and fast-forward at free will. Watch again, after a while, and new details reveal themselves to you. The second watch will give you enough ‘aha!’ moments for the rest of your life, and the red herrings expertly placed throughout the movie will be sliced and diced before you know it.
The DVD is an HD release with a Dolby Digital 5.1 track. Extras include an audio commentary with Director Jonathan Teplitzky and Editor Martin Connor, interviews (with the main cast, Director and Producer Andy Paterson), behind the scenes, and the theatrical trailer.
Verdict: Burning Man is perfect for cinema and literature insiders, linguists, connect-the-dots enthusiasts, and foodies everywhere. Those who are looking for a good old sob picture are welcome as well.