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Slow Burn

Two escapted criminals compete with a woman in a treacherous quest to find her grandmother's buried jewels in a hot, dusty desert.

Genre - Thriller

Director(s) - Christian Ford

Writer(s) - Christian Ford and Roger Soffer

Cast - Minnie Driver and James Spader

Blue Rider's Role - Executive producers and bridge financier

Distributor(s) - Artisan Entertainment, Blue Rider Entertainment, Fries Film Group, Manga Films (Spain)

Release Date - 2000

Synopsis - Greed, lust and violence ensue in this psychological thriller which casts Minnie Driver as a young woman whose search for treasure is not only complicated by the hostile forces of the Mexican desert, but by the appearance of three men.

Frank (Stuart Wilson) serves as Trina's (Minnie Driver) first obstacle, as he tries to discourage her obsessive quest to recover her late grandmother's jewels. Ignoring Frank's advice, Trina journeys deeper into the unforgiving desert, only to realize that someone has beaten her to the diamonds. She soon learns that the gems are now in the hands of two escaped convicts; the conniving psychopath, Marcus (James Spader) and the gentler, brooding Duster (Josh Brolin). They are intent on reaching the U.S. border with their newly-found loot. Fighting each other and the harsh terrain in which they're trapped, the determined woman, the embittered ex-con and his faithful follower are involuntarily bound together for their survival.

As she struggles against the increasing demands of the environment, Trina becomes torn between her insatiable desire to recover the diamonds and her growing attraction to one of the men. When Frank reappears, he brings with him a horrible truth matched only by the tempestuous forces of the desert itself. Soon, the psycho-sexual battle between Trina, her enigmatic mentor, and the two convicts produces a storm to rival the turbulence of the unrelenting desert, from which only one will emerge.

Award Nomination for Slow Burn:
Mark Vicente was nominated for the 2000 Best Cinematography Video Premiere Award for Slow Burn.

Critics' Kudos:
Arturo Garcia Lasca, reviewing the film for Movie Vault, dubbed Slow Burn, "an interesting film about greed, lust and betrayal. The acting was pretty fine [and] the story is pretty nice. I liked Josh Brolin's performance; Driver did a good job too. I liked all of it, except the ending.

DVD Verdict: "I was pleasantly surprised. Slow Burn is a good-looking movie. The picture, though presented in full frame on this disc, looks pretty good. The white of the desert sand provides for some very nice contrast with the wardrobe of the cast. Whites were Fargo white and colors stood out like the garden of candies in Willy Wonka's Chocolate Factory. Also impressive was the makeup. It really looked like James Spader and Josh Brolin were severely sunburned with chapping and blisters to boot. The Dolby 2.0 soundtrack was subtle, yet effective. Anthony Marinelli's score was a nice blend of jazz and experimental orchestration. It perfectly adding suspense and tension."

Diane Selkirk, Apollo Movie Guide: "Slow Burn has an interesting story and Christian Fordís film includes some unique elements. It alternates between being a visually rich art film and an action thriller. This combination is a hard one to achieve successfully, and this attempt brings to mind the exceptional 1999 film, Three Kings Ė which also involved a treasure and was also set on a desert. Josh Brolin and James Spader are believable as bumbling yet devious convicts. This is an ambitious attempt with many worthwhile facets, which make it a reasonable film to choose for an evening of entertainment."

Viewers' Ratings:
As of April 23, 2009, 338 viewers of Slow Burn had rated it at The Internet Movie Database. Women liked it much better than men did. The demographic groups that liked this movie best were women aged 45 and older (who rated it 6.1 out of 10, women 30-44 (5.7) and women 18-29 (5.6).

Major Cast and Crew Credits and Awards:
Director Christian Ford (debut).

Writers Christian Ford and Roger Soffer were the writing team on Kazaam, The Final Days of Planet Earth, Merlin's Apprentice, Alien Dog, Infected, Category 7: End of the World and an episode of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine.

Stars Minnie Driver (Oscar nomination for Good Will Hunting; five awards and 13 other nominations for that film, Tarzan, The Phantom of the Opera, Circle of Friends, Grosse Pointe Blank, The Riches and Take; also appeared in Sleepers, GoldenEye, Hard Rain, Ella Enchanted, Return to Me, An Ideal Husband, Big Night, Owning Mahowny, The Governess, 20 episodes of The Riches, 10 episodes of Revisioned: Tomb Raider, seven episodes of My Good Friend, six episodes of Will & Grace, three episodes of Mr. Wroe's Virgins and 32 other movies and TV projects) and James Spader (Won three Emmys for The Practice and Boston Legal; Cannes Best Actor for Sex, Lies and Videotape; one other award and 16 other nominations for those works, Secretary, Wolf and Jack's Back; also appeared in Crash, Less Than Zero, Stargate, Wall Street, Pretty in Pink, The Watcher, 2 Days in the Valley, Mannequin, Bob Roberts, Supernova, Baby Boom, White Palace, Bad Influence, 101 episodes of Boston Legal, 22 episodes of The Practice and 30 other films and TV projects).

Cast includes Josh Brolin (Oscar nominated for Milk, won five awards and nine more nominations for that film, W, No Country for Old Men, Hollow Man and American Gangster; also appeared in Melinda and Melinda, Mod Squad, Nightwatch, Flirting With Disaster, Mimic, The Goonies, Grindhouse, Planet Terror, In the Valley of Elah, Into the Blue, Into the West, 67 episodes of The Young Riders, 10 episodes of Mister Sterling, seven episodes of Private Eye, three episodes of The Contender and 23 other movies and TV projects); Stuart Wilson (Enemy of the State, The Rock, Vertical Limit, The Age of Innocence, The Mask of Zorro, No Escape, Lethal Weapon 3, Hot Fuzz, Grindhouse, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles III, Death and the Maiden, No Escape, Exit to Eden, The Luzhin Defence, Wetherby, 10 episodes of Anna Karenina, six episodes of Nonni und Manni, five episodes of The Old Men at the Zoo, five episodes of We'll Meet Again, three episodes of Running Blind, three episodes of The Pallisers, three episodes of The Main Chance and 62 other movies and TV projects); Jennifer Ann Evans (Repose, Scream of the Bikini, Criminal Minds); Caprice Benedetti (The Devil's Advocate, Hitch, Shaft, One Last Thing, Practical Magic, Double Whammy, The Hunley, Timequest, three episodes of Brotherhood and 20 other movies and TV projects); Nicole Fellows (Alien: Resurrection, Mad City, Boston Public, Judging Amy) and Chris Mulkey (nominated for Indpendent Spirit Best Male Lead Award and Best Screenplay for Patti Rocks; won Phoenix Film Festival Best Ensemble award for Little Chenier; also appeared in Rain Man, Broken Arrow, First Blood, 48 Hrs., Bulworth, The Fan, North Country, Cloverfield, Mysterious Skin, D-War, Radio, Unknown, The Hidden, Foxfire, Dreamscape, The Long Riders, 17 episodes of Bakersfield P.D., 13 episodes of Twin Peaks, five episodes of Any Day Now, five episodes of Saving Grace, four episodes of Friday Night Lights, three episodes of Batman Beyond and 125 other movies and TV projects).

Executive Producers: Julia Chasman (Quills, Polish Wedding, Shag, Love Jones, 25th Hour, Antitrust, Driving Lessons and The Perez Famly); Jeff Geoffray (Rescue Dawn, Around the World in 80 Days, Then She Found Me, Surveillance, Behind the Red Door, Silver Wolf, Night Angel and 26 other films and TV projects); Walter Josten (won Emmy for The Incredible Mrs. Ritchie; also produced Back in the Day, My 5 Wives, Wake of Death, Three, The Groomsmen, Cord and 33 other films and TV projects); Brian Agnew (Shergar) and Cathleen Summers (Stakeout, Another Stakeout, D.O.A., Class, Mystery Date, The Sandlot, Dogfight, Class and A Change of Seasons).

Producers: Robert Swanson (Kojak, Hotel, Ellery Queen, Barnaby Jones, 167 episodes of Murder She Wrote, four episodes of Salvage 1, three episodes of Starsky and Hutch and three episodes of Ellery Queen); Roger Soffer (Final Days of Planet Earth, Merlin's Apprentice) and Kate Driver (The Kid Stays in the Picture, Beautiful, The Upgrade, At Sachem Farm).

Original Music by Anthony Marinelli (Australian Film Institute Best Score nomination for Flynn; also scored Young Guns, 15 Minutes, The Man From Elysian Fields, Nice Girls Don't Explode, Internal Affairs, 2 Days in the Valley, Timecode, American Gun, My Sexiest Year, Mayor of the Sunset Strip, six epsodes of Human Target and 61 other movies and TV projects).

Cinematography by Mark Vicente (Video Premiere Award Best Score nom for Slow Burn; also shot Sarafina, Midnight Blue, Who Killed Buddy Blue, Father Hood, Dish Dogs, Delinquent's Derby and What the #$*! Do We Know!?).

Editor: Jack Hofstra (Young Guns, The Color of Night, The Stunt Man, The Specialist, Pure Country, The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas, Gone Fishin', Youngblood, The Principal, The Funhouse, The Wash, six episodes of Uncorked: Wine Made Simple and 18 other movies and TV projects) and Troy Takaki (Hitch, Sweet Home Alabama, Children of the Corn 666: Isaac's Return, Fool's Gold, Because I Said So, Jawbreaker, 30 episodes of Tales From the Crypt, five episodes of SeaQuest DSV, four episodes of Desperate Housewives and 21 other movies and TV projects).

Production Design by John DeCuir Jr. (Top Gun, Turner & Hooch, Legal Eagles, Sister Act 2: Back in the Habit, Fright Night, Sleepwalkers, Jo Jo Dancer, Your Life Is Calling, Elvira Mistress of the Dark, The Nephew, Monsignor, Muppet*vision 3-D and 15 episodes of Providence).

Art Direction by George Maya (Inherit the Wind, Primal Scream, 12 episodes of Wildfire).

Costume Design by Elsa Zamparelli (Oscar nom for Dances With Wolves; BAFTA nom for The Last of the Mohicans; four Daytime Emmy noms for The Bold and the Beautiful; also costumed Nothing to Lose, Ace Ventura: When Nature Calls, Last of the Dogmen, Forever Lulu, The Order, The Hollywood Sign and set decorated 345 episodes of The Bold and the Beautiful).

Visual Effects by Jay Mark Johnson (The Matrix, Titanic, Blade, Broken Arrow, White Oleander, Ernest Scared Stupid, A Day Without a Mexican, Outbreak, Four Rooms, Tank Girl and four episodes of Intimate Strangers: Unseen Life on Earth).

Release data:
Released on video in the U.S. on September 12, 2000, in Iceland on January 25, 2001 and in Spain on October 8, 2003.

Filming Location:
Filmed in the Alabama Hills near Lone Pine in Eastern California.

Celebrity Factoid:
Minnie Driver and Josh Brolin became engaged during the filming of Slow Burn, but they called it off two years later.

Internet Movie Database entry for Slow Burn

Slow Burn trailer (in three formats)

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