Burn It All is a movie that wears its emotions on its sleeve. Alex (Elizabeth Cotter) returns home after the death of her mother. She soon stumbles on an organ smuggling ring. Along the way, she relives a past that has scarred her. Writer-director Brady Hall takes on the subject of female empowerment head on. It is a common buzz phrase, but Hall does something a little differently. Burn It All delivers a blunt message instead of doing so subtly.
It is a risky tactic. What starts as sly commentary (an argument between a couple at a gas station) turns into a full blown assault on the viewer (Frank talk of sexual assault). It will be disarming to many at first. As Burn It All progresses, the blunt script makes more sense. Alex has been bullied and abused her entire life. The film is not just a commentary on society; it also character development for the lead. This is also a great way to give greater insight into Alex.
The film sometimes takes on a little too much. It does a great job when dealing with gender inequality. Burn It All does not do as well when it introduces other topics. This is most evident when the idea of small town America is introduced. It is a great idea – small towns are disappearing and have to overlook the criminal element in order to survive. Unfortunately, it is never adequately explored.
Unsurprisingly, the action scenes in Burn It All are well done. Since she is a stuntwoman, Cotter is completely in her element in these scenes. Not only are they well shot, but the fights are filled with smooth choreography and look very natural. In today’s partisan world, dealing with topical issues has become exceedingly difficult. Burn It All takes the interesting approach of hitting the audience over the head with the message. It can be a daunting watch at first. As the movie progresses, it becomes clear why the writing is unfiltered. This is the life the main character has lived – and as hard as it is to watch – it is a look at modern America.
Burn It All premieres in theaters and VOD February 19
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