Burden Review

Burden

It’s 2020 and people are still living in a world where racism is openly spouted on a (sadly) daily basis. We shouldn’t be making films that highlight the racism in society. Instead, these films should be reminders of our society’s dark past. But like the common cold, this bug is not going away anytime soon. But is Burden a film that effectively sends the message of love and tolerance to its viewers?

In a way, it does. Although the Burden’s inspiring story is told in a dry manner, the film’s message is still an all-important one for everyone to see—especially those in the deep South.

Burden follows Mike Burden, a South Carolina redneck who’s also a member of the KKK. After a chance encounter with Judy, his world is turned upside down. He must choose between the woman he loves or a way of life that has dominated him all his life.

Burden - Tom Wilkinson and Forest Whitaker

If you haven’t been watching the news lately (not that I blame you), it’s been a crazy world lately. So it’s no surprise that a film like Burden would be a very relevant film for today’s social climate. At the same time, the film takes the sensitive subject matter tackles things realistically while telling its inspiring story.

For one thing, it paints Mike Burden with such realism. The filmmakers paint him in several different ways. One moment he’s a kind-hearted person and the next he’s a raging racist. You begin to realize what kind of complex person he is. Not to mention, he does some bad things in the film. But he doesn’t become good all of a sudden.

Thankfully, the film doesn’t miraculously make him a non-racist quickly. Like in real life, it takes a long time to chisel away at the racism that’s been in him for years. This shows that even the worst people can be good. The problem is that the person HAS to be willing to change for them to be good.

Burden - Garrett Hedlund and Andrea Riseborough

See, that’s why it takes a long time before the message becomes clear. As a result, the film feels longer than it is. It’s a slow burn film that takes its sweet time developing characters. It’s just unfortunate that the characters are pretty standard as well. There’s nothing about them or the film that makes them stand out. It feels like the kind of dry film that gets shown in classrooms across America.

That’s not necessarily the worst thing in the world. The film does bring up the old nature versus nurture debate. This is a topic that people have been debating for several years now. Judging from the film, it’s clear that nurture is the root of all evil in people. In turn, that brings up the film’s most important message: Love conquers all.

But Burden showcases Garrett Hedlund’s best performance yet. Everything from the walk to the Southern drawl, he has the redneck racist demeanor down perfectly. With Forest Whitaker, he delivers the same consistent performance that he always does in these types of films. He also has the gravitas to deliver so many powerful monologues in the film too. Lastly, Andrea Riseborough has a sweet and tender performance that shows you why Mike gave up everything for her.

Overall, Burden is an important film to watch for our current social climate. Unfortunately, the film is dry and lacks any sort of personality. Regardless, the film is an important film to watch in places like a classroom or the deep South.

Rating: 3.5/5 atoms

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Mark Pacis
Mark Pacis 1598 posts

Self-proclaimed "Human IMDb" and comic book geek. Biggest Iron Man fan you'll probably ever meet.