BURDEN is an independent sci-fi short directed by Michael D. Lynch. While independent it does not limit itself the way some other indies do. The movie doesn’t cut corners with image quality (it was shot on 35mm), locations (it was shot in downtown Chicago with an extras cast of hundreds), or special effects (it is one of the few indie movies I’ve seen in awhile that actually uses CGI effects for more than just muzzle flashes and opening credit sequences). While a couple of the effects shots come off cheesy, and the story itself could easily be said to be an amalgam of a lifetime of reading comic books, points can still be given to the director for making an effort in areas that most filmmakers fear to tread.
The story is a combination of film noir meets blockbuster superhero movie where a lone super-powered man called Calik is ordered to abandon his post on Earth before it is destroyed by an armada of alien warships. Seeing the good in the people of Earth, Calik shrugs off his duties and uses his powers to defend the planet against the impending invasion. With guest voiceover by Peter Cullen (Optimus Prime from the Transformers TV series and recent Michael Bay movies), Lynch doesn’t spare the audience a second of this 10 minute short, and crams in as much action, pathos, and story as possible.
Michael is a good example of a filmmaker that puts every dime of his budget on the screen, and doesn’t let his status as an independent filmmaker limit the scope of his production. While certainly not a perfect film, the director creates a fully visualized reality and puts more care into a ten minute story than I’ve seen some filmmakers pack into 90 minutes. There would certainly be an audience for a feature length production of BURDEN, and while some filmmakers may balk at the blatant audience pandering (superhero movies are certainly tops at the box office these days), credit needs to be given where credit is due that Michael Lynch knows his audience and has the wherewithal to throw caution to the wind and defy conventional indie norms. In a world where vampire and zombie horror movies are made on the cheap and quick and are overly present in the indie world, he has shunned those genres and gone where not many other indies are willing to go.
FILM SYNOPSIS - Ordered to evacuate Earth on the eve of an Alien invasion, a lone "Hero" named Calik must decide between his sworn duty to flee, or defy his instructions, and battle the imminent threat and attempt to save our world.