'Burning Palms' written and directed by Christopher B. Landon (Disturbia) is a dark, twisted tale that interfaces five stories where no taboo is left unexplored. Framed as a graphic novel come to life, the film unfolds in five popular Los Angeles neighborhood. Santa Monica, finds Dennis Marx( Dylan McDermott ) and his girlfriend Dedra (Rosamund Pike) waiting at the airport for Dennis's 14 year old daughter Chloe (Emily Meade) to arrive for a vacation. From the moment Emily sees her dad, it is clear that they have a very unique father and daughter relationship..one that Dedra struggles to understand and accept. In Westwood, 'Burning Palms' explores a young couple in love and what happens when the girl (Jamie Chang) performs an unusual sexual act for her boyfriend (Robert Hoffman).
In West Hollywood, we meet two gay life partners (Peter Macdissi and Anson Mount) who adopt a little girl that has a few odd quirks that they didn't expect. In beautiful Holmby Hills we encounter three very mischevious brothers, a pot smoking nanny (Lake Bell) and a maid (Paz Vega) who prays everyday in front of an altar while holding onto her dead baby's umbilical chord. Finally we have a young woman, Sarah Cotton (Zoe Saldana) living alone in Sherman Oakes. This vinette opens with Sarah being raped by a man named Robert G. Kane (Nick Stahl). What happens when Sarah tracks Robert down, is nothing at all what you'd expect. 'Burning Palms' explores incest, suicide, loneliness, sexual guilt, even adoption, in a very original way. The film is dark but at the same time, funny. One of the 'Two Jews On Film' (me) thought 'Burning Palms' worked beautifully. The other, did not.
Go see 'Burning Palms' and judge for yourself. Opens in selects theaters, Friday January 14, 2011