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Burn Country
Score: 68%
Rating: Not Rated
Publisher: Sony Pictures Home

Region: 1
Media: DVD/1
Running Time: 104 Mins.
Genre: Drama/Thriller/War
Audio: English 5.1 Dolby Digital
Subtitles: English, English SDH, French,

Burn Country is a strange movie about a stranger in a strange land. Osman (Dominic Rains) is an Afghani "fixer" or cultural translator who is now living in asylum in a small town in Northern California. His host, Gloria (Melissa Leo, Snowden), is the local sheriff and mother to Gabe (James Oliver Wheatley, Britain's Bloody Crown), the war correspondent Osman worked with while in Afghanistan. Osman's future looks bright when he comes to town, hoping to soak up all of the experiences California has to offer, but when his dream job at the local paper gets reduced to a daily blurb on the police blotter, he starts to look for other ways to fuel his creativity and be a true journalist.

It's not long before he's met a few of the locals and intriguing things start happening, but maybe not quite like Osman had hoped. After attending an avant-garde play with Gloria, Osman later bumps into the lead actress, a mysterious woman named Sandra (Rachel Brosnahan) and her boyfriend/director who introduce him to the local free-thinking culture in town. Then, while riding with Gloria when she stops on a call, Osman meets local troublemaker Lindsay (James Franco, 11.22.63) and, after an altercation and later apology, the two become tentative friends. Lindsay is determined to be Osman's "source" for local happenings and Osman soon realizes that being around Lindsay tends to get a person into trouble. After the pair are chased into the woods by a pair of thugs that Osman spotted earlier, when he first meeting Lindsay, Osman is stunned to discover that one of the thugs has been killed, his body dumped on the side of the road. Then, Lindsay disappears and Osman is convinced he has been taken by the local crime family, the Sokurovs, whom Lindsay described to Osman as a dangerous local group and the family for whom said dead thug worked.

Osman is convinced there is more to the story and this could be the news story he has been searching for, but Gloria doesn't believe him and thinks Lindsay has just run off and Osman is being less than truthful with Gloria about his interactions with Lindsay, which isn't helping things. As Osman searches for Lindsay, he discovers that things are pretty confusing for a guy just coming into a completely different culture and, perhaps, he was better off at home in Afghanistan, war violence and all, because at least there, he knew what to expect.

I can honestly say that by the end of Burn Country, I was as confused by it as a recent Afghani transplant to a small Northern California town. I guess it was more of a message movie - be content with what you have - but who knows? Overall, the acting is solid and, actually, Melissa Leo and James Franco are what drew me to want to see the film, but to me, it was just weird and a bit pointless. Dominic Rains as Osman is endearing and adorable as he struggles to find his place in this small town where not everyone is welcoming him with open arms, but more with closed fists, but I can't really recommend this movie because it just didn't really grab me as a thriller.

-Psibabe, GameVortex Communications
AKA Ashley Perkins
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