Burn! / Queimada (1969)

5.0 out of 5

Queimada, a Portugese governed island within the Carribean during the mid 1800's. British agent, William Walker is sent on a three part mission, to incite rebellion amongst the slaves, turn over the sugar trade to England, and lastly, return the slaves to servitude.

This beautifully directed historical action drama by Gillo Pontecorvo, is nothing short of a masterpiece. As the drama and action manifests itself upon the screen, one sometimes feels as if one is watching historical events unfold before them through the window of a time machine, thanks to Pontecorvo's documentary style of film making. Featuring the great Marlon Brando as agent William Walker, a fabulously complex character who will go to any length to fulfill his mission and first time actor Evaristo Márquez, who gives a striking, strong and beleivable performance as Jose Dolores, the slave leader and friend to Walker. Ennio Morricone's score is both equally beautiful and haunting.

Burn! is a very bold film, a film that strangely does not take sides. Is not black, nor white, but tells history as history should be told on film. Needless to say, Burn! is very compelling and moving cinema and a work of genius.

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