Bob’s review published on Letterboxd:
4-out-of-4: I'm impressed.
Burning is a slower, more understated, symbolism-rich thriller.
The story is about Yoo Ah-in, an uncertain, isolated guy. One day, while on a delivery job, Jun Jong-seo -- a pretty, flirty model working for a promotional event/raffel -- strikes up a conversation. She says the two grew up in the same area, and further that Ah-in saved her once when they were both kids. He doesn't remember. She says she's visiting Kenya and needs someone to feed her cat while she's away. Ah-in likes her and volunteers, and is happy when she initiates sex. But after her trip she isn't alone, returning with charming, good-looking and well-off Steven Yeun.
I liked the slower pacing of this movie. It created a more thoughtful, mysterious feel -- poetic. It sets up the latter-portion thriller element nicely. Although there's less of interest to Ah-in and Jong-seo, I liked the three leads and think they make an unlikely but believable grouping, one that gives the plot the feeling that it could go in any number of directions. But I appreciated Yeun in particular, who impressed in a way the other two don't, and further who represents the high society that Ah-in stands in contrast to. I liked Yeun's philosophical monologue on finding his "rhythm" in the world -- which was the moment when the clues connected and I realized where things were headed.
I had some minor issues/questions, such as Ah-in's parents, what Jong-seo's intent was (for example, the scene where it's revealed how she learned the "great hunger" dance raises questions), and maybe more to justify Ah-in's act at the end. Was it symbolic of lower-class balance, or something more? I'm not sure. I think some of the cultural symbolism didn't fully reveal itself to me, but I still loved the movie.