Reverse Engineering: Our Review of ‘The Burning Season’

Posted in Movies, Theatrical by - May 10, 2024
Reverse Engineering: Our Review of ‘The Burning Season’

Sometimes love ISN’T enough…

While affected with a slight bit of melodramatic bloat, The Burning Season is still an incredibly effective tale of how the cycles of self-destruction in our lives have a bad habit of following us down the rabbit holes of our lives even when we have the best intentions.

Alena (Sara Canning) and her husband spend a summer up at Luna Lake Resort. JB (Jonas Chernick) runs the place. He and Alena begin a dangerous and passionate secret affair. Summers only. That’s the rule. Until they break it. A sexy and tragic love story – told backwards.

Writer and star Jonas Chernick reunites with frequent collaborator director Sean Garrity to give us an occasionally ugly but always compelling look down into our collective broken psyches and how we can crumble under the weight of our own secrets and desires.

Via the prism of the resort and the guise of vacation, director Sean Garrity does a really good job here in making sure that this entire setting feels like it is taking place somewhere other than the real world.

Canning and Chernick who dominate the majority of the screen time have amazing chemistry together and manage to transcend the simple moralities of the situation.

On paper they are both pretty broken and horrible people, but we’re also kind of rooting for them at the same time and when you throw in the idyllic nature of the setting and back drop for all the action, it’s kind of hard to look away.

Plus when you wrap all this complexity inside the storytelling dynamic of seeing this story unfold in reverse chapters, the story becomes less and less about rooting for our protagonists and more and more about peeling back the onion on why these two people are the way they are.  It all makes for a slightly rough start but an incredibly compelling ending.

Actors Tanisha Thammavongsa and Joe Pingue both do solid work opposite Canning and Chernick as the emotional pillars to these two spiralling people who can’t quite comprehend the dynamic between the two until it’s too late.

At the end of the day, while The Burning Season is occasionally sloppy particularly with Chernick’s breakdown at the beginning of the film, (or towards the end of the story depending on your perspective) not feeling all that earned, it all gets rewarded back at us the audience tenfold by the end of the film.

This is truly a drama that allows us to wallow in the bullshit of misery that we can inflict upon each other in a relationship while still maintaining that flickering flame of romance and hope that we’ve all had in our lives.   It’s all a deft and honest examination in why we are capable of risking our entire existences on that idyllic idea of passion and love that usually blows up in our faces.

This post was written by
David Voigt is a Toronto based writer with a problem and a passion for the moving image and all things cinema. Having moved from production to the critical side of the aisle for well over 10 years now at outlets like, Criticize This, Dork Shelf (Now That Shelf), to.Night Newspaper he’s been all across his city, the country and the continent in search of all the news and reviews that are fit to print from the world of cinema.
Comments are closed.
(function(i,s,o,g,r,a,m){i['GoogleAnalyticsObject']=r;i[r]=i[r]||function(){ (i[r].q=i[r].q||[]).push(arguments)},i[r].l=1*new Date();a=s.createElement(o), m=s.getElementsByTagName(o)[0];a.async=1;a.src=g;m.parentNode.insertBefore(a,m) })(window,document,'script','//','ga'); ga('create', 'UA-61364310-1', 'auto'); ga('send', 'pageview');