Hate and bigotry are a part of the fabric of this country, sadly, and that’s not likely to change. And even if it did, we’d still see movies about racism, especially movies about those who learn to overcome the prejudice in their heart. Burden tells just such a story, and with a cast led by Garrett Hedlund, Andrea Riseborough, and Forest Whitaker it has a chance to make a hard-hitting statement.
Burden tells the true story of a man who was raised within the Ku Klux Klan, with much of his family part of the hate group. With the love of a woman and the help of a Reverend seeking to shut down a KKK museum, he takes the first steps to turn his life around. The film marks the directorial debut of Andrew Heckler, and includes Tom Wilkinson, Crystal Fox, Usher, and Tess Harper in the supporting cast.
SYNOPSIS: When a museum celebrating the Ku Klux Klan opens in a small South Carolina town, the idealistic Reverend Kennedy (Academy Award®-winner Forest Whitaker) resolves to do everything in his power to prevent long-simmering racial tensions from boiling over. But the members of Kennedy’s congregation are shocked to discover that his plan includes sheltering Mike Burden (Garrett Hedlund), a Klansman whose relationships with both a single-mother (Andrea Riseborough) and a high-school friend (Usher Raymond) force him to re-examine his long-held beliefs. After Kennedy helps Mike leave behind his violent past, the Baptist preacher finds himself on a collision course with manipulative KKK leader Tom Griffin (Tom Wilkinson). In the face of grave threats to himself and his family, the resolute Kennedy bravely pursues a path toward peace, setting aside his own misgivings in the hopes of healing his wounded community. From Oscar®-nominated filmmaker Robbie Brenner (Dallas Buyers Club) and writer/director Andrew Heckler comes this dramatic true story of compassion and grace in the American South.
Burden has been on ice since Sundance 2018, which is when I saw it. It didn’t do much for me at the time but maybe it’s worth giving a shot. The performances from Riseborough and Whitaker are strong, although Hedlund annoying sounds like he has styrofoam in his mouth.
Burden opens on February 28th 2020.