×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Burn: One Year on the Front Lines of the Battle to Save Detroit

The pro-Detroit docu "Burn" never once mentions the auto industry, but nonetheless vividly illustrates the city's running-on-empty status.

With:
With: Donald Austin, Brendan "Doogie" Milewski, Dave Parnell, Craig Dougherty, Dave Miller, Jeff Urbas, Chris Palm, Dennis Hunter, Terrell Hardaway.

Co-presented by General Motors, the pro-Detroit docu “Burn” never once mentions the auto industry, but nonetheless vividly illustrates the city’s running-on-empty status, with its rates of poverty, unemployment, illiteracy and arson being among the highest in the nation. Focusing on a handful of firefighters tasked with extinguishing flames in already dilapidated and abandoned residences, the engrossing, courageously lensed pic also never mentions the possibility of large-scale structural solutions to Detroit’s infernal condition, which makes the working-class heroes’ risking of lives and limbs look even more gallant. Theatrical prospects appear unlikely, but “Burn” is plenty hot enough to spark smallscreen sales.

Spanning a year, the film depicts many harrowing conflagrations — some resulting in tragedy — as well as the arrival from Los Angeles of a new fire commissioner whose unapologetically bottom-line-minded decisions brand him as insensitive in some quarters. Interviews with firefighters, who speak articulately about camaraderie, heroism, adrenaline and low compensation, make the docu’s subsequent action even more compelling. Briskly paced film gets added fuel from vintage proto-punk tunes by Iggy and the Stooges.

Popular on Variety

Burn: One Year on the Front Lines of the Battle to Save Detroit

Production: A General Motors, Goldcrest Films, Apostle and TBVE presentation. (International sales: Goldcrest, London.) Produced by Brenna Sanchez, Tom Putnam. Executive producers, Denis Leary, Jim Serpico, Steve Tihanyi, Morgan Neville. Directed by Tom Putnam, Brenna Sanchez.

Crew: Camera (color, DV), Mark Eaton, Nicola B. Marsh, Matt Pappas; editors, Kevin Jones, Morgan Stiff, Miranda Yousef; music, BC Smith, Alessandro Cortini. Reviewed at Tribeca Film Festival (Viewpoints), April 23, 2012. Running time: 86 MIN.

Cast: With: Donald Austin, Brendan "Doogie" Milewski, Dave Parnell, Craig Dougherty, Dave Miller, Jeff Urbas, Chris Palm, Dennis Hunter, Terrell Hardaway.

More Scene

  • Laverne Cox Charlie's Angels

    How Laverne Cox Landed a Cameo in Elizabeth Banks' 'Charlie’s Angels'

    Laverne Cox officially earned her wings, scoring a role in Sony’s “Charlie’s Angels.” But she revealed her cameo almost didn’t happen. When the Emmy-nominee heard that Elizabeth Banks was directing the film, the longtime fan of the franchise (and of Banks herself) reached out about being part of the project. Cox had previously worked with [...]

  • Lena Waithe'The Inheritance' Broadway play opening,

    Lena Waithe, Anderson Cooper Attend Broadway Opening of 'The Inheritance'

    “The Inheritance” pulls viewers in many directions — toward pain and hope, trauma and healing. It’s what brought stars like Andy Cohen, Anderson Cooper, Sarah Jessica Parker, Matthew Broderick and Lena Waithe to Broadway on Sunday — a chance to heal, to remember and grieve. Also in attendance for the premiere at the Barrymore Theater [...]

  • Cybill ShepherdTrevorLIVE, Show, The Beverly Hilton,

    'The L Word' Co-Stars Cybill Shepherd and Jane Lynch Reunite at TrevorLive

    Fans of Showtime’s “The L Word” will be happy to hear that Cybill Shepherd eagerly reprised her on-screen romance with former co-star Jane Lynch on Sunday night at the TrevorLive Gala at the Beverly Hilton in Los Angeles. While accepting the champion Award, Shepherd kissed Lynch not one, but twice. The “Moonlighting” star was recognized [...]

  • Rami Malek, Robert Pattinson and John

    Robert Pattinson Praises Fans for Raising Funds for Go Campaign: ‘It’s So Sweet’

    Robert Pattinson is giving back, but he’s even more impressed that his friends and fans are joining him in the fight. “It’s amazing,” Pattinson told Variety on the black carpet outside Neuehouse in Hollywood at the Go Campaign’s annual gala. “And they’ve done it every year. It’s kind of — it’s so sweet and I [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content