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Tuesday, May 18, 2021
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Now streaming: Burden (M)

Luke McWilliams gives his review of the 2018 American drama film, Burden, inspired by true events.

In the small, historic town of Laurens, South Carolina, Mike Burden (Garrett Hedlund), zooms up the ranks in the local Klu Klux Klan (KKK) chapter headed by Tom Griffin (Tom Wilkinson). Soon, however, the Klan open their store; a museum celebrating their history, gaining the attention of local activist, Reverend Kennedy (Forest Whitaker).

After reading an article detailing the Redneck Shop and KKK Museum, writer-director Andrew Heckler travelled to the town to meet Reverend Kennedy and members of the KKK. Heckler kept up his relationship with Reverend Kennedy and his family and finished writing the script in 1998. Twenty years later, Heckler and his actors met their real-life counterparts during development, except for Wilkinson, as the real Griffin was considered too coarse. Wilkinson’s interpretation expresses Griffin’s fatherly qualities and goes someway in showing how one could be indoctrinated into such a group, especially when one is lacking in community, education and means.

Hedlund met with Burden, and the resulting performance is distracting. Whilst Hedlund may indeed have executed a masterful impersonation of the real Burden, his performance, including mannerisms, serve as an obstacle in getting to the heart of the character. It is therefore difficult to empathise with the character’s plight and his motivation to change his life when encouraged by his equally distracting partner Judy (Andrea Riseborough).

Verdict: An amazing story which is unfortunately very relevant, but let down by distracting performances from its leads. 2 stars.

Burden is available to rent via Foxtel Store.

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