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Currently playing the Toronto International Film Fest, Burning Man now has a trailer online. Burning Man stars Matthew Goode (Watchmen’s Ozymandias) and Bojana Novakovic (Edge of Darkness). It’s the story of… well actually that’s hard to say. If you go into this trailer knowing absolutely nothing about the film, as this author did, you aren’t going to have many of your questions answered. Unless of course your question is, “does this movie have anything to do with that rave out in the desert?” The answer there is a resounding no.
This is a good example of a trailer not adequately selling a film. It starts off interestingly enough with a car crash featuring thrilling cinematography from inside the rolling vehicle. But then it lobs a series of disjointed scenes at us featuring privileged people leading their privileged lives. Then there’s a vague hint at a tragedy and the insinuation that a man is losing everything represented by his yelling, “chicken salad” and kicking a soccer ball. He screams, “Is it funny now?” Actually yes it is, but I don’t think it was intended to be, sir.
The structure of the trailer is very strange because it seems like the guy loses everything, gets angry, then has lots of sex with a beautiful woman, gets angry again, and starts fires. Not that the trailer need to explain everything, in fact giving away all of a film’s surprises is the cardinal sin of a trailer. But the haphazard association of scenes and dialogue here makes it difficult to connect emotionally with any of the characters. Independent films unfortunately carry a stigma within mainstream audiences for being pretentious and boring. In order to encourage the average moviegoer to see your indie film, you have to give them something to pique their curiosity, and I just don’t see that here.
But it is not unheard of that the film is far better than its trailer so Burning Man could be a triumph. Unfortunately, there’s no word yet as to if/when the film will see a release here in the states so it may be awhile before we have more to go on than this cryptic trailer.