Burn! / Queimada (1969)

5.0 out of 5

Burn! is an absolutely fantastic and epic political thriller. It is directed by Gillo Pontecorvo and stars Marlon Brando.

The premise is a great one with Brando playing a British agent who stokes the flame of revolution in the 1840s Caribbean by firstly encouraging a slave uprising and then calling on the local intelligentsia to place themselves at the helm of the popular movement. Brando is not motivated by a political idealism but with the hard nosed reality of commerce as the objective is to undermine Portuguese colonial and business activity to the benefit of the British empire and their commercial sugar interests.

The unsung hero of this feature is Evaristo Márquez in his debut role. Despite no prior acting experience he turns in a creditable performance that was in no way eclipsed by the far more experienced Brando.

Burn! is a real masterpiece.

Maurizio Merli header graphic courtesy of Paddy O'Neill of Foxyfide Graphics