In Burn Country, an Afghan reporter named Osman (Dominic Rains) settles in with his friend’s mother, Sheriff Gloria (Melissa Leo), in Ian Olds’ film about a fish out of water. Based on some of the experience Olds saw while shooting the documentary Fixer: The Taking of Ajmal Naqshbandi, the film explores how Osman pursues truth and justice in a culture not his own.
After befriending an eccentric local named Lindsay (an Olds collaborator by the name of James Franco), Osman finds himself concerned by Lindsay’s disappearance. But the film isn’t really a whodunit, as the search for the truth leads Osman into strange places that have (and don’t have) something to do with Lindsay’s disappearance. In the end, we’re left with a strange little movie that seems more about stretching Osman than telling us a compelling story that sticks with us.