Today’s Prayer Focus

Slow Burn

MPA Rating: R-Rating (MPA) for sexuality, violence and language.

Reviewed by: Sheri McMurray

Moral Rating: Extremely Offensive
Moviemaking Quality:
Primary Audience: Adults
Genre: Crime Thriller
Length: 1 hr. 33 min.
Year of Release: 2007
USA Release: April 13, 2007 (1,100 theaters)
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Relevant Issues
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Featuring Ray Liotta, LL Cool J, Jolene Blalock, Mekhi Phifer, Taye Diggs
Director Wayne Beach (“The Art of War”)
Producer John M. Penotti, Andrew Karsch, Ray Liotta
Distributor: Lions Gate Entertainment Corp. Trademark logo.
(Lions Gate Entertainment Corp.)

“Tonight… Believe No One.”

OK, I confess I went to this dreary film to see how Jolene Blalock (from television’s “Star Trek: Enterprise”) does in a feature length film. She held her own along side pros Ray Liotta (most memorable in “Good Fellas” and latest: “Wild Hogs”) and LL Cool J (“Last Holiday”), but I am hoping her next vehicles, “Shadow Puppets” and “First Fear” will prove more substantial.

That said, here’s the low down: “Slow Burn” is a flat who-done-it that tries it’s best to keep the audience in their seats, but only scores in the twist-and-turn category. In fact, it has so many twists and turns that you are trying too hard to figure it all out. Then, about two thirds of the way in, you finally do understand which way this mess is going, but then there is little time left to feel anything for the characters.

Newly elected D.A., Ford Cole (Liotta) is a smooth operator who has come up through the ranks on the Police force to earn the D.A. top spot. He thinks he knows it all, has seen it all, and has all the answers until he meets his match, and love, in the form of lovely woman of color, Assistant D.A. Nora Timmer (Blalock).

Nora is picked up on a cold and rainy night claiming she has been stalked for weeks and finally raped by small time hood Isaac Duperde (Mekhi Phifer). Before he could take too much advantage of her this night, breaking and entering her apartment, she declares to have shot and killed Duperde in an act of self defense. From here, what seems to be an open and shut case becomes Cole’s worst night mare.

Add to the mix the fact that hard nosed reporter Ty Trippin (Chiwetel Ejiofor) is following Cole around this evening hedging for a story on Cole’s investigation of the elusive underworld boss Danny Luden, whom no one has ever seen, which kicks the tension level up a notch.

Enter the scene a Mr. Luther Pinks, who claims to be Issac Duperde’s closest friend, and his story about the relationship between the sultry Nora Timmer and Issac D. is one of passion, hate and betrayal. Pinks contends that the two knew each other a lot longer and much more intimate than Cole wants to know about.

Her intent questioned, Nora plays on Cole’s sympathy and nearly (well, really does) gets away with murder.

And so, here is the conflict of the ages: We are sinners. Our hearts are programmed to sin. If the sin is allowed to grow with no intervention from Christ, there we die, festering in the guile of it all. These characters are the example of sin allowed to expand in an ever widening pool of impurity.

One of the ironies of human nature is that it has a way of rejecting the best and accepting the worst. Why did the crowd ask for the release of Barabbas and the crucifixion of Jesus? (Luke 23:33)

The Scriptures hold the awful truth: “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked.”

Jesus is alive today and willing to come to us, as depraved as we are, to conquer the desperately wicked heart. Yet millions don’t (and won’t) accept Him. His goodness is a rebuke to our badness. His purity always shows up our impurities. His sinlessness reveals our sinfulness and unless we allow Jesus to destroy the evil within us, the evil within us still and will destroy us. The evil inerrant within us wants to destroy Him.

This is the conflict of the ages

“Slow Burn” is not a child-friendly film, is not a family-friendly film, in fact, this is not a very good film. It is liberally sprinkled with foul language, sex and violence. It’s dark story line is reflected in Director/Screenplay writer Wayne Beach’s choice of seedy film stock and most scenes occur at night, in near darkness which has the audience squinting to see through the shadows and nearly gave me a headache.

Unfortunately, there wasn’t much to redeem from this script or story. It isn’t very often I cannot squeeze some essence of decency or morality out of a film, but “Slow Burn” just went up in ashes. This is regrettable, as I really like all three main actors and would go see their other movies again, but this one was dismally forgettable.

If for some unknown reason, perhaps like me you just like these actors and would like to see them in a movie together, you find yourself needing to see this one dimensional flick, prepare to fall asleep before the final curtain, put the kids to bed long before you start it, and rent this one when it comes out on DVD.

Violence: Heavy / Profanity: Heavy / Sex/Nudity: Heavy

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