Slow Burn Wayne Beach

Nora Timmer (Jolene Blalock) is an assistant district attorney on the rise in an unnamed American city. Thanks to her, gang arrests are up. One night she stumbles into a police station, claiming that a man raped her and in the struggle she killed him. However, Nora's self-defence story is challenged when the victim's buddy, Luther Pinks (LL Cool J), paints a very different picture, one in which Timmer is the culprit, not the victim, a manipulative woman who may have murdered for her own ends. Caught in the middle is Timmer's boss, district attorney Ford Lowell (Ray Liotta), who is running for mayor, but also sleeping with his esteemed and beautiful assistant. As stories emerge, we learn that a condo project threatens to wipe clean the face of an inner-city ghetto. Big money is at stake. Slow Burn is a thriller about money, politics, race and gangs. Told Rashomon-style with several characters offering conflicting accounts of the same crime, Slow Burn uses flashbacks to build tension. The movie weaves together thorny issues of racial politics as embodied by the bi-racial character of Timmer, who is accepted by both blacks and whites, like a human chameleon. Unfortunately, Slow Burn resembles so many other thrillers. You get the feeling that you saw this or that scene in The Usual Suspects. The flashback structure and use of multiple perspectives are intriguing at first, but ultimately confusing. Liotta performs admirably as the beleaguered D.A. but can't escape the script's clichés. The beautiful Blalock looks stunning on screen, but her performance doesn't carry the film when it needs to. Slow Burn is more like a slow fade. (GreeneStreet /Sidney Kimmel) (Maple)