Liam Graham, Alyson Walker, Richard Mellick, Christie Sistrunk
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…an audacious concoction…
Most Aussie thrillers (think Chopper, The Hard Word, Mystery Road, The Square, Animal Kingdom, Cut Snake and so forth) wear their earthy grittiness like a battered coat of arms, going into battle in the name of straightforward, truthful-leaning storytelling and triumphing valiantly. The low budget effort Burning Kiss, however, is interested in armour of a far shinier, way more colourful bent. This film finds its antecedents in the world of pop art, French crime cinema, and the garish American B-movie rather than in the headlines of local newspapers or the reminiscences of real life criminals. Debut feature writer/director Robbie Studsor announces himself as a filmmaker with a true fascination for overt stylisation with Burning Kiss, offering up an audacious concoction built on expressionistic visuals and unlikely effects cooked up in post.
The film kicks off with ex-cop Edmond Bloom (Richard Mellick), an embittered aesthete left crippled by the car crash that killed his wife six years prior. Searching for the person responsible for the crash under the watchful eye of his messed up daughter, Charlotte (Alyson Walker), Edmond has become consumed by the events of his past. But when mysterious drifter Max Woods (Liam Graham) lands on his doorstep, Edmond is suddenly jarred into the present, and Charlotte soon finds herself caught between the two men.
While the plotting lists a little, Burning Kiss scores major points through its sheer audacity. Studsor ramps up his visuals to often surreal heights, with shots that wouldn’t look out of place on an inner city gallery wall. It’s heady stuff, and when coupled with Studsor’s purple prose and primal storytelling, it makes Burning Kiss a highly unusual and memorable criminal rendezvous.