Burn Burn Burn (2015, directed by Chanya Button)
[No. 37 of 52 in #52FilmsByWomen]
Whenever there’s a death of a relative or a loved one, we are naturally prompted to rethink our own purpose in life and our roles in the lives of others. Burn Burn Burn, a British film delicately balances these thoughts friendship and loss, amongst the structure of a road trip comedy.
Two close friends, Alex and Seph (Chloe Pirrie and Laura Charmichael) are driving across Britain to scatter the ashes of a Dan, a recently-deceased friend at four different places of special significance to him. He had left a series of video messages for them to watch throughout the trip, many of them bringing out repressed feelings and hard truths between the three of them.
One of my favourite things about this movie is that it knows when to be funny (slapstick-y, even) when the characters are mourning the loss of a friend. Even the dead friend Dan is portrayed as a kind of an asshole most of the time, which is rare in a society where never speaking ill of the dead is thoroughly ingrained in our minds. Nevertheless, we do end up feeling sympathetic to Dan. This is probably thanks to the great performance by Jack Farthing who could convince us that Dan’s dickish behaviour comes from him lashing out against his mortality.
The characters of Alex and Seph are also great. They are close friends despite having very different lifestyles and personalities. Alex is the more introverted character who allows only very few close emotional attachments, while Seph is the outgoing actress who likes to meet new people at parties.
Because their differences are only played for drama, and not for laughs, we appreciate their bond and friendship even more. Both of them are confronted head-on with questions of friendship and honesty with each other, and and also with other people in their lives. When one of them chides the other for making a stupid decision, both of their views are relate-able. I felt invested in their quarrels, and I cheer on when one of them gets protective over the other.
Obviously, it makes no sense to wish for a sequel for a movie like this. Though I like these characters so much that I wish I get to see more of them.