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Burn Movie Review

Sizzlingly Odd
In his debut feature, writer/director Mike Gan has created a small film that, if there's justice, will attain a cult-like status. "Burn" takes place in the course of one evening and entirely within the confines of a rural, out-of-the-way gas station shop.
It's the kind of place that loners might wander into for a hot cup of coffee at 3am. Obviously this is not a big budget film, but Gan squeezes an awful lot of goodness out of it. Maybe we should call it badness.





Gwen Movie Review

A Holy Gwen?

William McGregor's debut feature, "Gwen," is bleak piled upon bleak, but that's not necessarily a bad thing. Here it is conducive to a mood piece where you're never quite certain where you're headed, and in most respects that's a good thing, despite the film's dancing around the real story. It makes things a bit confusing, but not quite enough to annoy.

Despite the overwhelming feel of a supernatural or horror movie, "Gwen" eventually unveils itself as more of a grounded-in-reality horrible living situation even if you're unsure exactly what the horrible situation is. Hints are dropped, but until very near its conclusion, you are left more in the dark, figuratively and literally.

Gwen (Eleanor Worthington-Cox) is a mid-19th century Welsh farmer's daughter. Her father is not living in the house and it's not clear if he will ever return. Her mother, Elen (Maxine Peake), is in charge of the household, but her behavior is becoming ever more erratic. Gwen realizes that it might be up to her to run everything, and soon.

Quite mysteriously, someone or something is killing their neighbors and destroying everyone in the area's crops. Gwen finds herself as the primary investigator into what the evil forces are.

The overall story is uneven but McGregor knows how to maintain suspense and toss out moments of jolting fear that will make you jump. His primary method is to keep things visually dark and quiet. By itself, that's enough to put an audience on edge. Besides the deaths of people and crops, the mystery of Gwen's father's whereabouts persist throughout. There's also an issue of the nearby villagers who are overly suspicious of Gwen's family. We have no idea why.

To answer these questions would be to ruin all of it for you. "Gwen" is certainly not a great film, and its true motives are almost disappointing when revealed. However, there's enough here to sink your brain into and though it can be slow, it's never boring. If you're looking for action, there's not much, but if you enjoy stewing, you could do far worse.

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