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Here’s a British road-trip movie with echoes of Ben Wheatley and an intriguing set-up: two stoned rockers steal a mega-expensive rare vinyl disc recorded by a death metal band that’s believed by satanists to summon forth the forces of evil. But disappointingly, instead of getting comedy mileage out of devil worshippers with bad eyeliner in Newcastle, or off-roading into horror movie territory, Burning Men takes the route of self-serious drama. Groaningly, it kneels down before the fantasy of the brooding male creative genius.
Edward Hayter is Ray, the frontman of Burning Men, a London three-piece too wasted – or perhaps too talentless – to get beyond covering Clash hits. Depressed after catching his girlfriend shagging the band’s drummer and being evicted from his flat, Ray decides to sell his vinyl collection to pay his way to Memphis with bassist Don (Aki Omoshaybi) – buzzy handheld camerawork signposting their crazy, freewheeling lifestyles. After pinching the death metal record at a vinyl fair, the pair take off in their conspicuously beat-up car with a party bag of drugs, first to Norfolk then to Newcastle, proving once again that there’s rarely anything so dreary as watching people getting high on film.
You desperately want Burning Men to take the piss out of charmless Roy and Don as the crap rockers they seem to be. But the solemn script is fully signed up to notion that they have rich inner lives – despite all the available evidence. Ray’s fathomless depth is suggested by his ability to recite lines from William Blake while staring at landscape. And this is a movie with attitudes to women so unwoke that scenes with a pair of gagging-for-it groupies could have been lifted from a Mick Jagger biography.
Source: The Guardian
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