So conspiracy theories have been rife increasingly over recent years and theorists visibly bristle when challenged. Our Editor has is currently trying to fund his own documentary based on the theory put forward by the late Kirsty MacColl that ‘There’s a guy works down the chip shop swears he’s Elvis’ proving once again that our Editor is an idiot (‘You’re fired!’ – Ed). Perhaps one of the enduring conspiracy theories is what happened to Hitler in his last days of World War II after he killed himself and Burial frames its own story about what happened to his body by framing its story with a neo Nazi burglar breaking into the UK home of former Russian intelligence officer Brana (Harriet Walter) in an effort to wangle some facts out of her that will support this theory. She manages to overcome her situation by drugging him and we’re into a length flashback.
It’s the dying days of WWII and Brana (now played by Charlotte Vega) is one of a small number of disillusioned Russian soldiers who are under orders to take Hitler’s body through Poland back to Stalin. At the same time there’s a bunch of Nazi’s who want the body in order to hide it meaning his death can’t be verified in order to hopefully inspire the troops to fight on. For security the Russian troops bury the coffin each night but they’re a less than disciplined bunch of varying ability that veers between blithering incompetence, sadistic cruelty or just plain old wet that it’s a wonder any flash forward in the narrative doesn’t see them as Tory cabinet ministers. But the Polish locals rightly suspicious of the troop who have shown themselves as being little better than a bunch of sexually deviant thugs its only Brana and Tor (Barry Ward) who have any degree of integrity and for that Tor finds himself frequently stabbed, shot or battered that they must think that they misread the map and ended up in Liverpool. Ultimately they come to believe that they’re being stalked by werewolves, a name picked by the Nazis hiding out in Polish woods as it sounded super spooky and they dressed in furs and wore horns to ramp up the suspicions of the locals that the woods were inhabited by such. With Hitler’s body being targeted by all sides including a local guerrilla fighter (Tom Felton) the film builds towards a climatic firefight in an old farmhouse with Tor now having more holes in him than a colander but still fighting to the end.
Burial is written and directed by Ben Parker whose debut film The Chamber was a decent claustrophobic affair and like that he has made a suitably atmospheric thriller. But its perhaps fair to say that the film can’t see the wood for the trees with gun battles that lack edge, Russian and German soldiers who understand what each other are saying with this being overcome by having both sides speak in English (something that was unlikely amongst those wartime troops) and Vega, a great actress as seen in the recent successful reboot in the Wrong Turn franchise, is not given enough to convince as a war weary veteran . Nonetheless Ben Parker’s script has a decent central alt-history concept with several worthy themes that take in the themes of the victors in war not forgetting their humanity and mortality and the danger of being in thrall to power and/or violence it’s just that Burial is a little too drab in how it presents it all.
We spoke to Charlotte Vega and Director Ben Parker about the making of the film….
Here’s the Burial trailer…..