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  • Alex First

Burning Kiss (MA) - 81 minutes

Updated: Apr 5

Weird and wacky film noir, Burning Kiss is a psychedelic whodunnit in reverse.

By that I mean we know who perpetrated the crime, but the disgraced former detective whose wife was killed concocts a story to make himself look like a hero.

It’s been six long years since the hit and run incident that put ex-cop Edmond Bloom (Richard Mellick) in a wheelchair and took the life of his wife Juliette.

With the killer never identified, Edmond spends his days pouring over clues under the care of his submissive 20-year-old daughter Charlotte (Alyson Walker).

On a hot summer’s day, a broken and remorseful stranger – Max Woods (Liam Graham) – appears claiming to be the driver of the car, begging Edmond for forgiveness or punishment.

Consumed by guilt, Woods brings all the clues necessary to bring himself to justice, including a necklace stolen from the dead body of Juliette, number plates and the whereabouts of the elusive vehicle involved.

With Woods surrendering himself, Edmond can now find the closure he needs by either turning him over to the police, forgiving him or simply shooting him dead.

However, none of these three choices seem to satisfy Edmond, as during the period since the accident his dream has not only been to see the killer apprehended, but to catch him himself and bring him to justice.

Woods becomes a prisoner in Edmond’s home, while the other prisoner in the house – Charlotte – struggles with a different history.

In short, Burning Kiss is mindless nonsense far too caught up in its hare-brained convolutions and manipulations.

For the most part, it is esoteric claptrap, with no shortage of hallucinogenic scenes.

Flashes of light and fire along with nightmarish visions frequently punctuate the narrative.

It is deliberately obtuse and very difficult to follow.

Snippets are revealed throughout, but still it is left to us to try to piece it all together, which is neither easy nor enjoyable.

The acting – by and large – like the script is heavy handed, the chief protagonist being Mellick as the father.

Burning Kiss is not worthy of cinematic release, which was its intent (admittedly on a limited basis) before Coronavirus bit.

Now it is available on Apple TV, Fetch, Google Play and YouTube. 

Writer and first-time feature film director Robbie Studsor may have thought he was being oh so clever doffing his hat to memorable stylistic films, but in my eyes he has merely crafted a barely watchable mess.

Rated MA, it scores a 1 out of 10.

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