Slow Burn is an American drama thriller film starring Ray Liotta, Jolene Blalock and LL Cool J, which is notable for the extended period between production and eventual release. A crime drama, the film was produced in 2003, was finally given a showing at the 2005 Toronto Film Festival, and finally got a proper theatrical release in 2007.
The movie begins with Nora Timmer (Jolene Blalock), a biracial (African and European) woman, being questioned by Ford Cole (Ray Liotta), the District Attorney. Nora, who also happens to be the Assistant District Attorney, claims to have been raped by Issac Duparde (Mekhi Phifer), prior to shooting him in the head in self-defense. Ty Trippin (Chiwetel Ejiofor), a journalist interviews Ford in his car; Ford anticipating both his first and second questions, surprises Ty by stating them to him before he asks Ford himself. Nora narrates her version of the story to Ford, meeting Issac at a music store, where he came on to her, asking to give her a ride on the rainy night they had first met about a week ago. Nora politely rebuffs his advances, but is left with no other option then to accept his ride in his car, when left stranded in the rain with no cab to respond to her calls. Issac locks the door to his car when Nora tries to leave his vehicle upon reaching her home, only to give her a music cassette as a compliment. Nora tells Ford that Issac waited for her in her house one night, and grabbed her from behind, and he raped her.
The plot thickens when Luther Pinks (LL Cool J), claiming to be an associate of the deceased Issac, shows up to meet Ford and narrates his version of the story to Ford, stating that Issac's death was not manslaughter, but murder. He states that Nora had seduced Issac into falling in love with her, and ultimately becoming obsessed with her. He tells Ford about an 'African violet flower' tattoo on Nora's backside to support his claims. Ford initially believes him, as he himself had seen it, making it evident that Nora had two lovers. Things get more complicated when Isaac's home is set a blaze and Ford receives an odd voicemail from the deceased suggestion a conspiracy involving Nora and 5am. Later Luther tells Ford of a deal Timmer supposedly offered Issac for his cousin who was recently booked on drug charges: if his aunt agrees to sell her home to an interested party his cousin will walk. Luther also reveals Nora's dirty little secret. That she isn't actually biracial at all, but instead is using being a minority to benefit not only her career but satisfy some strange obsession with being black.
- Ray Liotta as Ford Cole
- Jolene Blalock as Nora Timmer
- LL Cool J as Luther Pinks
- Mekhi Phifer as Isaac Duperde
- Taye Diggs as Jeffrey Sykes
- Bruce McGill as Godfrey
- Chiwetel Ejiofor as Ty Trippin
- Guy Torry as Chet Price
It was released in American theaters on April 13, 2007, but performed poorly. It had an opening weekend of $778,123 in ticket sales and closed in just 2 weeks with a domestic total of $1,237,615 and $559,641 from foreign markets for a worldwide total of $1,797,256. It ranks among the top ten widely-released films for having the biggest second weekend drop at the box office, dropping 84.7% from $676,048 to $91,748.
The DVD was released in North America on July 24, 2007 and sold 44,720 units in the opening weekend, translating to revenue of $893,953. This does not include Blu-ray/DVD sales rentals and sales tracking does not extend beyond the first week.
The film has themes of inter-racial dating, "passing" or pretending to be a member of another race, stereotypes included, and using a rape defense to the accusation of murder.
Slow Burn received negative reviews from critics, as the film holds a 12% rating on Rotten Tomatoes based on 33 reviews.
The screenplay is based on a short story by Wayne Beach and Anthony Walton. Wayne Beach converted the story to screenplay and directed the film.
- Slow Burn at the Internet Movie Database
- Slow Burn at AllMovie
- Slow Burn at Rotten Tomatoes
- Slow Burn at Box Office Mojo