Burning ★★★★

This review may contain spoilers. I can handle the truth.

This review may contain spoilers.

no one sells a stabbing quite like steven yeun, you feel that blade dig its way into your flesh, remain amongst your organs as you bleed out into the snow. his muted cries, look of shock and the expressions of true agony lingering as the life slowly fades, dude rocks it. believed completely that he was being murdered. not sure he wasn’t. movie very good. not sure how effective it is at deconstructing the toxic masculinity it portrays, while the central female character is shown through the pov of the male protagonist and therefore has some validity in being kinda nonexistent (this is a movie about perception more than anything else) but it still feels like it’s kinda revelling in the misogyny it depicts, and the fragility and egotism it brings out in its men. while the nuances of its gender politics are to be discussed by someone who is not a cis man, what i feel very comfortable in talking about is the sound design. had a problem with Roma’s overwhelming clutter of sounds in the mix which i feared would turn up here (i’m a little unnerved at any arthouse film praised for its sound design now) but pleased to say that’s not an issue! with headphones, the mix is clear, utilising both ears in different and interesting ways. the sound in larger environments is focused on the direct contact of the protagonists, so background sounds don’t overwhelm the ears. you feel like you’re in his footsteps as you watch him wander through the crowded streets. since this is a film about attempting to immerse yourself in a man’s pov who is, in my subjective reading, completely wrong, it’s important that the film utilises its sound and visuals to sell you on his world, on his perceptions of everything. which makes the realisation that he’s not the hero, that he’s misreading signs and information out of a need to write his own narrative, more jarring as a result. that disconnect between you the viewer and the protagonist festers and makes the back half more interesting than it could have been. and while i do have some issues with its kinda distanced vague readings on its themes, i like how nothing is really resolved. we don’t know if she’s alive, or if he gets caught. because it’s not really about those things, maybe it was never about the girl at all.

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