Caitlyn’s review published on Letterboxd:
"...the whole while, almost without a second thought—I felt the reality of everything around me being siphoned away."
And so is the experience of watching Lee Chang-dong's BURNING (2018), inspired by a Haruki Murakami short story from which the above quote is pulled.
When introverted Jong-su runs into an old acquaintance, Hae-mi, he is immediately swept up into her world of pantomiming and emotive storytelling. Their romance is threatened almost as soon as it begins, however, when the enigmatic Ben returns with Hae-mi from Africa. As the three find themselves entangled in a bizarre love triangle, the ambiguities of the situation escalate as quickly as Jong-su's jealous infatuation, leaving the viewer increasingly untethered to reality.
Keeping with the spirit of Murakami's work, BURNING is more concerned with setting a tone than tying up loose ends. Viewers looking for a satisfying resolution to the film's mysteries may be disappointed, but those who are patient enough to surrender to its slow simmer will find themselves captivated long after the credits end.