The Burning Plain is a romantic mystery about hope, redemption, and second chances. Sylvia (Theron) is a woman on the edge whose cool, professional demeanor masks a deeply troubled, sexually charged storm within. When a stranger from Mexico confronts her with her mysterious past, she is launched into an emotional journey back to the defining moment of her life. Gina (Basinger) is a housewife trapped in a loveless marriage, who finds solace and passion in an illicit affair. Though separated by time and great distances, these women find their lives linked by the forces of love and fate. (Gary Reber)
Special features include the making-of featurette (SD 43:27), the music (SD 15:33), an HDNet look at The Burning Plain (HD 04:46), BD-Live functionality, and up-front previews.
The 1080p 2.39:1 VC-1 picture is outstanding! Director Guillermo Arriaga used the elements of earth, wind, water, and fire to render visual moods to complement the varied emotional storytelling. The Pacific Northwest scenes in the Portland area are the backdrop for the scenes with Charlize Theron, while Southwestern plain scenes provide the backdrop for Kim Basinger's scenes. The elemental contrast is dramatic, yet the picture is remarkably natural throughout and portrays a vivid reality. Fleshtones are accurate and hues are either grayish blue cast with overcast skies, rain, and ocean, or of an earthly nature. Colors are rendered for natural saturation, and at times, hues are deep and bold. Contrast is well balanced throughout with deep, solid blacks and finely resolved shadow delineation. Resolution is revealing, yet there is an overall softness that permeates the picture. Close-ups of facial features and object textures provide good detail. The imagery is often expansive and cinematic in scope, with effective dimensional qualities. While there is the slightest noticeable film grain, this is generally a pristine picture that is visually engaging. (Gary Reber)
The DTS-HD Master Audio™ 5.1-channel soundtrack is nicely produced and recorded. The sound design effectively complements the storytelling with sensitive dynamics and quiet, subtle atmospheric sound effects that enhance the realism of the scenes. Dialogue is natural sounding, with generally good spatial integration. Surround engage varies from aggressively directionalized to subtle presence. There are rain, wind, and fire sounds that engage the surrounds and embellish the holosonic® soundfield. Discrete sound effects are, at times, aggressively positioned in the surrounds with, at times, effective pans. Everything sounds perfectly natural and without the "produced" artificiality often associated with sound effects. LFE extension is limited, except for a couple of instances. The music score is nicely recorded, with a wide and deep soundstage that clearly delineates the timbre of instruments. This is a wonderful soundtrack that perfectly enhances the storytelling. (Gary Reber)