Burnt Money (Plata Quemada) is an action thriller and a love story, but what is unique about this movie is that the love story is between two men. The main characters in the movie are robbers, but also lovers. This makes them closer and brings an amount of trust in their professional relationship that most thieves never have.
Yet don’t classify this movie as a gay movie. It isn’t. The movie is about two people who plan to rob an armored van carrying money but due to unforeseen circumstances, are not only able to not complete their job, but one of them gets shot. They therefore have to flee the country and lay low before they can come back.
Their nerves get strung out because of their constant confinement and this is where the more personal relationship between the two come into play. The director, Marcelo Pineyro, must be credited with not making the relationship between the two the main theme in the movie, and instead using it as one more factor that explains their state of mind, how unfulfilled sexual desires can lead to frustration that can in turn lead to people doing stupid things.
Burnt Money is definitely not money burnt.
The plot as such is very simple. A bank robbery goes sour, and one of the three robbers is injured. They flee to Uruguay where he recovers, but because of the heat caused by their shooting down police during their escape, they are tied down inside a dingy apartment for weeks on end. They are unable to tolerate the strain of being cooped up inside and decide to go out and party.
There one of them meets an understanding prostitute, which leads to them vacating their apartment and moving in with her. Although the injured robber heals physically, there seems to be some emotional scars that cause him to refuse sexual favors to his partner. This leads to the rejected partner looking to satisfy his needs elsewhere.
But the love between the two men however leads to them kicking the prostitute out of her home. She goes straight to the police who surround the apartment where they live. The ending is however different from what you would expect as is the whole movie.
Although the plot may seem a bit bare, the movie is really gripping, especially because of the superb acting by the two young men who play the robbers. And some of the love scenes will leave you aching inside, so touching is the attachment between them.
A must watch if you like love stories.
- Argentinean Film Critics Association Awards: Silver Condor: Best Screenplay, Adapted: Marcelo Pineyro, Marcelo Figueras
- Glitter Awards: Glitter Award: Best Feature voted by the US Gay Film Festivals: Marcelo Pineyro.
- Goya Awards: Goya: Best Spanish Language Foreign Film: Marcelo Pineyro.
- Havana Film Festival: Best Cinematography: Alfredo Mayo; Best Sound: Carlos Abbate, Jose Louis Diaz.
Directed By: Marcelo Pineyro
Produced By: Ana Aizenberg, Mariela Besuievsky, Diana Frey, Diego Guebel, Gerardo Herrero, Oscar Kramer, Mario Pergolini, Jose Sanchez Varela.
Written By: Marcelo Figueras, Marcelo Pineyro (Based on a novel by Ricardo Piglia)
Cast: Eduardo Noriega, Leonardo Sbaraglia, Pablo Echarri, Leticia Bredice.
Music By: Osvaldo Montes
Cinematography: Alfredo Mayo
Editing: Juan Carlos Macias
Release Date: Oct 1, 2002
Running Time: 125 min
Amazon Customers review
Sophisticated, Erotic, Exciting, Masterpiece of a film – By Grady Harp
BURNT MONEY is another film from Argentina that places that country in the forefront of exemplary film making. After viewing this compelling movie of a retelling of a bank heist that occurred in Buenos Aires in 1965 one wonders why Hollywood has so much difficulty presenting credible and sensual male/male relationships. The chief characters in this story are two lovers (played to perfection by Leonardo Sbaraglia as ‘Nene’ and Eduardo Noriega II as ‘Angel’) who, known as The Twins, are hired to assist in a heist. This event occurs at the very beginning of this two hour film, leaving the rest of the movie to explore the intricate relationship between the lovers as they elude the law in their flight to Uruguay. The physical passion between thes two men is palable, erotic, and as profound as any love story to hit the screen. When the stress of the life of hiding drives Angel to focus on the ‘voices’ in his head, his physical withdrawal sends Nene outside the relationship to satisfy his sexual needs. One of these encounters is with a woman he meets in a bar and results in a confessional talk about his gayness and ultimately ends up in one of the most sensuously graphic sexual scenes since “Last Tango In Paris”. Yes, in this story that is focused on a gay relationship, the sexual encounters filmed are heterosexual ones and very well filmed at that. The physical relationship between Nene and Angel is far less graphic and yet far more sensual for being so. Would that Hollywood could make gay characters so wholly three dimensional as Director Marcelo Pineyro does! The supporting cast includes more beautiful people than Sbaraglia and Noriega: Leticia Bredice and Dolores Fonzi play the sexy female roles and there is a cameo by cabaret singer Adriana Varela whose luminously sexual singing focuses the sensuality of this story completely. Well written, well photographed and well directed, BURNT MONEY starts on a high note and just gathers momentum right to the devastating climax. A superb film.Burnt Money,