Burning Betrayal Movie Review: All sex and no substance makes a hot mess

Burning Betrayal Movie Review: All sex and no substance makes a hot mess

For all the poeticism in the title, Netflix's latest Spanish film is really all about sex. It isn't about the abrupt ending of a five-year relationship between Babi (Giovanna Lancellotti) and Caio (Micael) that takes the former on a whirlwind ride of her life. It isn't about the money laundering scheme that puts her in danger, and also in the close proximity of a Greek god-esque judge, Marco (Leandra Lima). It isn't about the 'is this friendship-is this love' equation Babi shares with her best friend and colleague Thiago (Bruno Montaleone). It isn't about the beauty of women's friendships like the one Babi shares with Patty (Camilla de Lucas). Burning Betrayal is all about sex scenes, and a few disjointed scenes incorporated into the narrative to turn it into a 90-odd-minute film about some random betrayal that none of us really care about.

Cast: Giovanna Lancellotti, Leandro Lima, Camilla de Lucas, Bruno Montaleone

Director: Diego Freitas

Streamer: Netflix

Language: Spanish

The film opens with... a sex scene. However, we realise it is all a dream, as Babi is startled by the sudden presence of her businessman fiance Caio, who cuts short an overseas trip to be in the arms of the love of his life. Bam! We have another sex scene... this time, in reality. A few random scenes later, Babi meets the man of her dreams in the courthouse where Caio is testifying in a case. That man is a judge, who is 'a seeker of truth but is very mysterious', and how do we know that? Babi breaks up with a cheating and philandering Caio and starts a tempestuous relationship with the man who is the presiding judge in a case involving her ex-fiance. And no points for guessing, what happens there... a whole lot of sex. Some in the swimming pool, some near the beach, some on dining tables, some in the shower, and between all of this sex, we are made to realise that Marco's past catches up with him, and on a completely unrelated note... Babi's life is in danger.

After a point, we see through the ruse of director Diego Freitas, who has adapted Sue Hecker's novel of the same name. There is hardly a semblance of narrative, and the twists and turns are so flimsy that it makes us question if the protagonists understand the concept of rational thinking. None of them, barring the one 'good' character that we know will turn 'bad' at some point in the film, exhibit a sliver of common sense. When the never-ending gratuitous sex scenes mostly shot with an overdose of male gaze die down, and the makers decide to wrap up things with a premature flourish, one can't help but glare at the blank screen thinking... well, what just happened?

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