Within the first five minutes of Burn, I knew it’s going to be a great movie. And yes, we do have the ye olde “earlier that night” gimmick but I really don’t care. I wanna see Peeta as the bad guy and I wanna know what happens next. And exactly because of what happens after this opening scene I knew I was looking at something really rare. I usually start about five to ten of these intriguing-looking indie movies before I find one that’s good. So, we’re following Melinda, a young girl on her way to the gas station where she works. And immediately you’re transported into her world. There’s something about these single location movies that just gets me. And if the story is unfolding in real-time, hot damn!
Burn is an engaging thriller that ticks off both of these boxes. And I think that the familiar story is a plus and not something bad. Sometimes you want to see a variation on something you already know and love. I don’t know if you ever lived in a small town but I know you can at least imagine how it feels. Working a dead-end job with days repeating themselves over and over. You’re trying your best and somehow still don’t see a way out no matter how hard you try. You feel like you’re already dead and you’re just waiting on the official confirmation of that fact. Well, some of us feel that way. Others find ways to cope with this.
I just want to say that Burn captured that atmosphere so well. That cigarette before the start of your shift, the numbness, and slivers of hope that tonight will be different. And then the same old shit happens. That’s life for ya. So the atmosphere is spot on but what about the story? What’s best about it is its unpredictability and character development. You kind of know where it’s headed but the characters make this journey exciting and fun. There’s is a sense of black humor here but it’s not pervasive. It’s more subversive and since this is an indie production we will also get a couple of really original scenes. You should check this movie for them alone.
It is a cold night in the middle of nowhere and Melinda is about to start her night shift. She’s been working at this gas station for some time now along with her friend and coworker Sheila. However, Melinda is hoping that she’ll soon find a way to get away from this environment. And tonight just might be the night.
I just love how Burn slowly introduced characters and developed them naturally, over time. Nothing feels forced or like it’s there for some plot twist in the future. It’s a testament to the talent and skill of the young crew that was involved in making this movie. First of all, Burn is a directorial debut for young Mike Gun, who also wrote the script. I can’t wait to see his next movie. And then we have our cast. Of course, Tilda Cobham-Hervey stole the show as Melinda with her vulnerable and subdued performance. Suki Waterhouse and Josh Hutcherson were also great along with Harry Shum Jr.. If you’re looking for movies like Burn, I recommend a bit nastier Splinter and pulpier Pawn.
Director: Mike Gan
Writer: Mike Gan
Cast: Tilda Cobham-Hervey, Josh Hutcherson, Suki Waterhouse, Harry Shum Jr., Shiloh Fernandez, Wayne Pyle
Fun Facts: The original title of the movie was Plume.