If you appreciate nonlinear storytelling and big words, this blog post is for you (and so is this movie)

Tonight, my Beloved and I watched “The Burning Plain,” a cleverly constructed drama from 2008 about a sommelier, a crop duster in Mexico and a woman having a steamy affair with a Latino.

[I just had to throw “sommelier” out there. One of the characters actually is a sommelier, but when I used that word to reconstruct the story for my Beloved, whose attention lapsed momentarily, he said, “What? What’s a sommelier?” “You know, the woman at the restaurant in the beginning?” “You mean Charlize Theron?” “Yes, her. She’s a sommelier.” “Who uses the word ‘sommelier’ in everyday conversation?”]

[A sommelier is a wine expert in a restaurant.]

I’m as big a fan of nonlinear narrative as I am of big words, and “The Burning Plain” tells its story in a compelling nonlinear way.

At first, I was impressed with Kim Basinger, who I had assumed was a has-been, but she oozes sexuality and desperation so effectively, I both loved and pitied her.

About halfway through, I figured out what was going on, but by then I was caught up in the characters and wondering how the story would resolve. Brilliant storytelling.

[“Memento,” the story of a man with short-term memory loss told in reverse order, is another one of those movies that compels viewers to watch it a second time to put all the pieces together.]

Though I have no proof other than deja vu and coincidence, I believe linear time is a human construct. I’m not convinced everything actually happens in sequential, chronological order; I think we human beings with our puny understanding simply experience it that way. So to see a movie that plays with chronology and tells an interesting story fascinates me.

As the final credits rolled on “The Burning Plain,” I said the same phrase I uttered at the end of another nonlinear flick, “The Lake House,” a time-travel romance starring Keanu Reeves and Sandra Bullock: “I wish I could write a story like that!”

To which my Beloved, ever the optimistic cheerleader even as he scoffs at my vocabulary, replied: “Why don’t you?”

If I was really clever, I would have written this post in a nonlinear narrative fashion.

But I’m not that clever.

7 responses to “If you appreciate nonlinear storytelling and big words, this blog post is for you (and so is this movie)

  1. Thoroughly enjoyed this. And now I know a new word 🙂

  2. You may not be as clever as you want to be, but I’d say you are pretty clever to write such a good review. I don’t see many films, but happened to see this one. I also thought Kim Basinger did an exactly job.

  3. That was a great post today. I really enjoyed reading it very much. Thank you for sharing it.

  4. Yes, I learned a new word here too. I also learned (from the comics this morning) another new word–extrapolated. I love new words just as you do.

  5. You shot give it should a!

  6. Pingback: There’s magic in this enchanting fantasy story | Minnesota Transplant

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