• Strictly Films

Burden Quick View; Grade: B-


Burden is based off a true story. The film is about a KKK member establishing a KKK museum/gift shop in South Carolina. Reverend Kennedy (Forrest Whitaker) is not too fond of the idea, as he tries to bring awareness of how troubling this idea of ignorance and hate is towards the community. Meanwhile Mike Burden (Garrett Hedlund) a troubled military vet, whom was taken in by the KKK lands the deed of the museum. Mike suddenly gets acquainted with a single mother named Judy (Andrea Riseborough), as Mike grows fond of her and her little boy. While an violent outbreak happens at the museum, Mike was ordered to take out Kennedy. As Mike was ready to take the shot, he stops to see Judy’s little boy in the mist of things. Mike finally comes to the light, realizing the lifestyle he was partaking in was benefiting nobody but hate, as Mike then quits the KKK. Now Mike, Judy, and her little boy are now homeless, as once you quit the Klan, you soon lose everything at your possession. To help Mike towards his path of change, Reverend Kennedy volunteers to take the family in, as he believes it was a sign of God to change this troubled man.


The Cinematography was fine, I felt the best shot of this film was near the end, where Mike was being recorded at a police station. The Score was solid, I enjoyed the music in this film. The cast in this film all in all was pretty good. Mike Burden played by Garrett Hedlund was pretty damn good, as there were excellent sequences of range, frustration, and emotion coming out of this character. Reverend Kennedy played by Forrest Whitaker was good. I loved the character more than the performance itself, as this is the kind of person that inspires the hopeless, into having hope. Kennedy came from a place of forgiveness and love, as he only wanted to see progression out of everyone, rather than partaking in the never ending cycle of hate. Of course many of us would never think of doing what Kennedy did, but that’s what makes him special, he showed by his actions that he wanted change, as change he did succeed in. Andrea Riseborough playing Judy was pretty good as well. I enjoyed the character Judy, as she worked with Mike into becoming a much better individual. She knew he had good intentions, as we saw Mike being great with her young child. All it takes to provide change, is to guide them towards a better understanding in life, as you’re willing to work with them.


I have a couple flaws with this film. I felt Mike Burden’s route to change could’ve been explored a bit more. I think it’s all clear how he became a better person, just felt more details should’ve been given as well. I also felt this one sequence of rain over Mike Burden was honestly corny as hell. Burden was suppose to come out in theaters in the spring time, as we all know the story. It finally got a DVD release, as I was honestly looking forward to it. It’s honestly weird, just how relevant this story is, as to what is going on today. I honestly felt Burden is what people might need at the moment. It does resemble last years A24 film Skin.


The story itself as written may not be spectacular by any means, but it is a story worth telling. There is honestly two stories being told in this film: One showing a troubled man turning his life around for the better, as well as a man teaching the audience how to handle hate. When it comes to Mike Burden, his involvement with the KKK wasn’t influence by just the idea of wanting to join towards their beliefs, but it was really his last resort to a somewhat stable life regarding food and shelter. You see the KKK recruits these troubled Caucasian kids whom have nothing, as well as their homeless. So they take them in, as one might feel finally someone actually cares about them, when really they couldn’t care less about their well being, as they only want them to benefit in keeping this community of hate going. That’s why Mike Burden felt brain washed into partaking in this community. The man did fought in the army as his services were no longer needed, as it resulted in him having nothing. So you can see this man feeling alone and betrayed, as this community whom is open in arms of his kind, was the only thing left to go to.


You can see early on regarding his involvement with Judy, that he has good intentions, he just needed proper guidance to get where he needs to be, which is why Judy is his guardian angel. With Judy all it really takes in order to change somebody for the better, is not only guidance and love, but also emotional comfort. Mike Burden was a troubled soul whom never really had someone to hold and love, so given Judy giving him the time of day just for Mike Burden himself, felt completely new to him as it directed him towards the path in change. Leaving the KKK would mean he would have to start his life over from scratch. With nowhere to go, one man step up to the task and thats Reverend Kennedy. While his family/friends felt the idea was foolish, to Reverend Kennedy’s mindset the only way to accomplish change, he would have to step up towards the incredibly difficult challenge. Mike Burden though stumbled during the beginning of his route to change, Reverend Kennedy didn’t lose hope, as he felt you have to be committed through good and bad in order to achieve his objective. Reverend Kennedy commitment not only brought change for the better in Mike Burden, but was rewarded a great deal as well... That’s what happens when you trust and believe in God.


Through Reverend Kennedy, there also is another story as to handle hate. As one breaks a window of the KKK museum, Reverend Kennedy becomes extremely disappointed. His son is confused why, as Kennedy only replies that fighting hate with hate will not bring change that is needed, but will repeat itself in an never ending cycle. Only thing Reverend Kennedy did was protest outside and preach how only love can defeat hate. Reverend Kennedy’s actions in regarding how to respond acts of hate is not only inspiring, but it teaches a great deal to those that aren’t sure how to handle hate. Only thing you should do is lead your vision and communicate to all perspectives. Reverend Kennedy was able to accomplish so much, just by spreading love, being a helping hand, and have faith things were going to be alright. This character is a great lesson for the audience, God Bless this man honestly. I don’t think anyone is going to be wowed by this film, but it does have redeemable qualities, as well as a story worth telling, that surely will inspire others to become better individuals.


Overall, Burden is a decent film. I recommend this film, can be found on RedBox, t’was a nice $0.60 rental I do say so myself. So the state I’m living in mandates a mask to be worn in public places, except dining out. Wore this cheap fabric mask while renting this film and man I gotta tell ya... It ain’t fun. But the designer mask I ordered awhile ago hasn’t came in yet so let’s see if the experience changes, plus always respect the law, it’s honestly not a big deal wearing one. But I will say: I would NOT recommend wearing this outside in 100+ degree weather... Just wear it in public places, don’t over do it, much love and safety to you all. -Mitch Smietana

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