Burning Blue Film Review
This debut picture from D.W.M. Greer, based on his own successful play which drew heavily from his time in the navy, has all the ingredients to be a gripping, heart-wrenching affair, centering as it does around the ‘Don’t ask, don’t tell’ policy concerning gay servicemen in the US military which was present until as recently as 2011. Sadly, it only manages to be disappointing.
It tells the story of two navy fighter pilots who are also best friends, both on course for a big promotion. However, a series of misjudged incidents, including an illicit one-night stand put all of that in jeopardy. What begins as a film depicting the unique work-life balance members that the armed forces enjoy, wastes little time in illustrating how such organisations have their own sets of rules and will do what they can in order to make sure it stays that way. Having said that, with Burning Blue there is a constant feeling of having seen it all before, and a reminder of why classics of the genre such as A Few Good Men and Top Gun have become exactly that.
This in itself is quite surprising when you consider that the picture is based, as already mentioned, on Greer’s very own play, which was a hit with both critics and fans. Maybe the dialogue hasn’t been adapted from the stage that well, but it certainly doesn’t help matters. You can see a lot of it coming a mile off, and although lines such as “life would be a lot simpler if you accept who you are” might come across well at a theatre, when delivered in a movie they come across as too hackneyed to strike any meaningful chord with the audience.
This in turn means that some of the empathy with the characters is lost and could also explain a somewhat uninspired cast, who deliver rather flat performances overall. Greer’s direction is also a little rigid, virtually extinguishing any flickers of emotion at times. Still, the movie does convey to us that life as an officer can change on a sixpence and that nothing should be taken for granted.
Burning Blue is available for digital download pre-order on iTunes, Amazon, Google Play, Microsoft X-Box, Sky Store and Vubiquity from November 7. For the iTunes version go to https://itunes.apple.com/gb/movie/burning-blue/id1149022188?at=1001lnNr.
As Greer is obviously a talented playwright, he should be given the benefit of the doubt here as there is the odd glimmer of hope, and he can surely only get better. Ultimately, this is a flawed piece of filmmaking that fails to make the leap from the stage.