Entertainment To-Do List: Week of 2/28/20

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CREDIT: Zach Dilgard/AMC

Every week, I list all the upcoming (or recently released) movies, TV shows, albums, podcasts, etc. that I believe are worth checking out.

Burden (Limited Theatrically)
The Invisible Man (Theatrically Nationwide) – It’s invisible, and it’s spectacular!
Saint Frances (Limited Theatrically)

RuPaul’s Drag Race Season 12 Premiere (February 28 on VH1)
Dispatches From Elsewhere Series Premiere (March 1 on AMC) – Jason Segel’s getting all mysterious.
Better Things Season 4 Premiere (March 5 on FX)
Devs Series Premiere (March 5 on Hulu) – From creator Alex Garland!

The Ron Burgundy Podcast Season 3 (Premieres March 5)

‘Burden’ Paints a Possible Path Out of Hatred

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CREDIT: 101 Studios

Starring: Garrett Hedlund, Forest Whitaker, Andrea Riseborough, Tom Wilkinson, Crystal R. Fox, Dexter Darden, Tess Harper, Usher

Director: Andrew Heckler

Running Time: 120 Minutes

Rating: R for The Prosaic Evil of Hate Groups

Release Date: February 28, 2020 (Limited)

Reformed Ku Klux Klansman Michael Burden has the sort of name that only the hackiest of screenwriters would christen one of their fictional characters. But as an actual person, his moniker is a gift to someone crafting a based-on-a-true-story feature. For every living person in this world, a great deal of existence is about carrying burdens, and for Michael Burden, that truth is especially heavy. An orphan who was raised by Klan members from a young age, all he’s ever known is hatred. When he is finally able to pull himself away from that, he keeps buckling under the weight he has to bear: from the manipulation and emotional abuse he has endured and must still contend with, to the guilt from all the wrong he’s done and must atone for, to the general knot of anger at the pit of his soul.

Burden the film asks the question: is it worth the effort to rehabilitate someone who has left an ideology of hate? The example of Michael Burden (portrayed here by Garrett Hedlund) shows that it is possible, but where does that responsibility fall? In this case, the burden of Burden is transferred particularly hard onto his girlfriend Judy (Andrea Riseborough) and her young son, who somehow see a decent soul begging to break free, as well as the black Baptist Reverend Kennedy (Forest Whitaker), who interprets Burden’s predicament as a sign from God but risks alienating his wife and son with his offers of fellowship to a man they fundamentally do no trust. Taking on this burden leads to lives nearly getting ripped apart because of it.

Writer-director Andrew Heckler has presented us with a striking portrait of faith. Judy and Rev. Kennedy face intimidation and rationalization, but they carry through believing that their efforts are worthwhile. That faith is not simple nor is it easy. On the contrary, it is often frighteningly challenging. But something must be done to stem the intractability of discord. Burden zips through a few beats on its way to get to a fulfilling ending, but it is ultimately a valuable testament to the power of redemption and forgiveness.

Burden is Recommended If You Like: Places in the Heart, Dead Man Walking, the power of faith

Grade: 3.5 out of 5 Deers