review by Bobby Blakey
There are so many much needed topics getting the attention they deserve right now that there are movies getting the spotlight as well both old and new. The latest, Burden starring Forest Whitaker and Garrett Hedlund takes on the race subject in true story that sounds powerful and unexpected, but does it capture the essence of this story or is the hate to strong?
Burden follows a powerful and timely true-story of faith and love overcoming hate. Set in a southern community scarred from deep-rooted racism, an unlikely friendship forms when an African American reverend helps a KKK member leave the Klan. I knew what the story was about here but beyond that wasn’t sure how it all played out so walked in relatively fresh. Anytime a film is dealing with race you know there is going to be some heft to the tone and this one is no different.
I’m not sure what I was expecting but the initial set up of it all felt pretty simple with these southern people that didn’t seem to have a hateful tone until their true plan is revealed. This sets off a direction that would have been kind of a surprise had it not already been in the synopsis of the Klan involvement. What I didn’t expect was this was also a love story that leads to changes for the better but not without tragedy along the way.
The cast are great here with the always great Forest Whitaker bringing his A game per usual. His passion always shines through in his performances and this one is no different. The most heavy lifting is from Garrett Hedlund who is tasked with not only bringing the hate filled character to life, but also make the audience believe in his want to change and story that the audience can connect with. He does an excellent job brining this range of behavior and emotion to the forefront.
The gritty tone to the setting and the town itself in itself really hit the overall tone home to get you fully invested in this community and the two sides of the
coin they are dealing with. Despite the powerful story and heavy topic it grounds itself on his journey more than anything else instead of just trying to shove the fight down your throat. It’s sad and frustrating to how relevant this film is still today and knowing this took place in the 90s reminds you that we still have a long way to go to something better.
The ending felt a bit abrupt, but in a good way. The story didn’t throw in a lot of Hollywood style payoffs and instead let the story unfold more naturally and in turn that’s how it ends. His journey comes to a crossroads and when he makes his choice that’s it. Thankfully they took some time at the end to let us see actual footage and info to where these two men are today.
In addition to the film this release includes bonus content including a behind the scenes featurette. Grab your copy of Burden available now from Universal Home Entertainment.