Slow Burn

  • 2000
  • Movie
  • R
  • Crime, Thriller

All her life, desert rat Trina (Minnie Driver) has lived in the harsh shadow of a family legend: Her widowed grandmother allegedly perished in the Mexican desert with a case of diamonds. While seeking that treasure, Trina's own mother, Catalina (Caprice Benedetti), mysteriously disappeared and Trina wound up being raised by Frank Norris (Stuart Wilson),...read more

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Reviewed by Robert Pardi
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All her life, desert rat Trina (Minnie Driver) has lived in the harsh shadow of a family legend: Her widowed grandmother allegedly perished in the Mexican desert with a case of diamonds. While seeking that treasure, Trina's own mother, Catalina (Caprice Benedetti), mysteriously disappeared and Trina wound up being raised by Frank Norris (Stuart Wilson), Catalina's adulterous lover. Now a jaded young adult, Trina is determined to find the jewels for herself. On the verge of vindication, she's unexpectedly thwarted by escaped cons Marcus (James Spader) and Duster (Josh Brolin), who find the baubles first. Sly fox Trina offers them a ride, stalls for time by claiming car trouble and endears herself to dimwitted Duster. Meanwhile, flashbacks reveal that after doublecrossing her husband Jacob (Chris Mulkey) and her paramour Frank, Catalina had planned to skip off with the jewels. Instead, Trina accidentally shot her. Who will perish as Trina refuses to abandon a legacy that's already destroyed her family, and did the world really need a souped-up modernization of the silent film classic GREED? By the time this parched parable revisits the ironic climax of Eric Von Stroheim's uncompromising masterpiece, viewers are likely to have lost interest altogether. Christian Ford's directorial flourishes lend visual variety, but the film's dramatic conception is overly simplified. In a wrongheaded move, Marcus and Duster are presented as simpletons who're no match for Trina's wiles. Nor does this update make it sufficiently clear that her quest for the lost gems is partially a search for her own identity; it's not what the diamonds can buy, after all, but what the fortune represents that drives Trina. Because we know what the wages of venality are, there are no surprises in store and this exercise in finger pointing becomes an empty cautionary tale.

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  • Released: 2000
  • Rating: R
  • Review: All her life, desert rat Trina (Minnie Driver) has lived in the harsh shadow of a family legend: Her widowed grandmother allegedly perished in the Mexican desert with a case of diamonds. While seeking that treasure, Trina's own mother, Catalina (Caprice Be… (more)

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