Pin It
Favorite

Burning Palms 

A film that's supposed to shock just ends up making you feel sad.

click to enlarge art16601.jpg

I sat in stunned silence as the credits rolled on the newly released Burning Palms, a film directed by Christopher B. Landon. Billed as a dark comedy featuring “five stories that will mess you up 4 life,” Burning Palms actually just left me confused and troubled.

I wonder if Landon, writer of Disturbia and Paranormal Activity 2, is channeling the souls of Roald Dahl and Ted Bundy from beyond the grave. His film follows five stories set in Los Angeles, all exploring subversive taboos and eventually ending in some extreme (and often icky) downfall for each character.

In Burning Palms you’ll find: a borderline incestuous father-daughter relationship, a woman struggling to cope with the emotional aftermath of a repulsive sexual experience, an oversexed gay couple giving parenthood a try with a mute African child, a violent group of elementary school children who harass their housemaid, a rape victim looking for a repeat incident with her attacker.

Sounds awesome, right? As Variety.com writer Peter Debruge puts it, Landon works so hard to offend that he forgets that the characters should have, well, character. The situations that they find themselves in are too ridiculous to be realistic, and the characters are too weak to be funny or pitiable.

Another failure of the film was the sheer amount of sex in it. There’s nothing like watching a father grope his 15-year-old daughter to make you stop caring about the suicides and loneliness that are supposed to be the focus of these vignettes. The sex becomes even more disappointing when the characters’ underlying sexual motives emerge as the theme of the entire film.

Landon missed a lesson in subtlety. So we’ll skip being subtle, too: Skip over this one, especially if you have kids in the house. Or adults. Or anyone with a heart, really. (Rated R)

Tags:

  • Pin It

Latest in Film

  • Man and Wife
  • Man and Wife

    Simple, non-heroic love changes the world in Loving
    • Dec 1, 2016
  • Grumpy Old Man
  • Grumpy Old Man

    The Magic Lantern Theatre is open again and featuring the delightful A Man Called Ove
    • Dec 1, 2016
  • Big Themes
  • Big Themes

    Disney's Moana is the empowering and fascinating tale we need right now
    • Nov 23, 2016
  • More »

Comments

Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

Today | Wed | Thu | Fri | Sat | Sun | Mon
Totally Tubular Tuesday: Holiday Films

Totally Tubular Tuesday: Holiday Films @ Garland Theater

Tue., Dec. 6, Tue., Dec. 13 and Tue., Dec. 20

All of today's events | Staff Picks

or

More by Kaitlin Gillespie

Most Commented On

  • Wanna Rock?

    A slew of '80s glam favorites come to Wreck The Halls of Spokane Arena
    • Dec 1, 2016
  • Big Themes

    Disney's Moana is the empowering and fascinating tale we need right now
    • Nov 23, 2016
  • More »

Top Tags in
Music & Film

Film


Review


Readers also liked…

  • Where Are the Women?
  • Where Are the Women?

    A critic's year-long deep dive into the way movies portray half of humanity
    • May 12, 2016
  • Desert Rage
  • Desert Rage

    Mad Max: Fury Road will restore your faith in action movies
    • May 13, 2015

© 2016 Inlander
Website powered by Foundation