Don Reviews "Burden"
I truly believe that race relations have got worse in the last couple years. As recently with what happened in Charlottesville in 2017, it really amazes me that we still have issues like this on this level. As some of you are aware, I am in an interracial marriage, so I take the race issue very personally. So when I heard about “Burden,” I was very interested to hear this story.
First time director Andrew Heckler helms this film, which stars Garrett Hedlund (Four Brothers), Andrea Riseborough (Mandy), Forest Whitaker (Platoon), Tom Wilkinson (Michael Clayton), Crystal Fox (Driving Miss Daisy), Tess Harper (The Jackal) and Usher Raymond (Killers). Based on true events in 1996, this is the story of a small town in South Carolina where a local chapter of the Ku Klux Clan decides to open a KKK Museum in their abandoned movie theater. Mike Burden (Hedlund) is one of its active members and has been raised in their beliefs as an orphan raised by the chapter leader Tom Griffin (Wilkinson). When Mike starts a relationship with a single mother named Judy (Riseborough), she helps him start to see how much their hate for others is a poison to him to the point where he wants to leave the group. As tensions over the museum rise, protests lead by local Reverend Kennedy (Whitaker) make Mike’s own struggles that much more intense.
“Burden” shows the rural South in a very good way without going overboard, complimenting the overall feel of the film. Overall, I really enjoyed the performances by the entire cast, with seasoned veterans like Wilkinson and Whitaker, and Riseborough. I was really impressed Hedlund, whose portrayal of a man who is trying to get by in life in a tough situation while at the same time dealing with emotional conflicts internally, was incredible.
At about two hours long, I feel maybe ten to fifteen minutes could have been trimmed, but it still kept me interested. I did like the message the film was trying to get across by leaning more on historic accuracy versus political messaging. There are a few violent scenes and good amount of adult situations in this film, but it is done to keep the story realistic, so I will recommend this film as a matinee showing in the theaters.