Burning ★★★★★

A slow burning character study with amazing performances and transgressive, beautiful cinematography. The unraveling mystery plot kept me on the edge of my seat and the film is so thematically rich that it will take time to put it all together once the credits roll. Steven Yeun shines as the mysterious and wealthy Ben who seems charming and very nice but our protagonist and the audience can’t help but feel slightly suspicious of his motivations. Ben is definitely the most interesting character in the film and my only legitimate complaint is that the movie is nearly 2 and a half hours and it takes a while to even introduce him to the story. 

Yoo Ah-in is great in the lead performance although his character is fairly flat. He exists as less of a character to study and moreso as a blank slate for the audience to view the story from. Jeon Jong-seo is equally fantastic as Hae-mi in the film. Yeun gives what I would say is the best performance, which isn’t unusual for him because he’s been pretty consistent at knocking it out of the park no matter what movie he is in. 

The cinematography and music stood out more than anything else in this movie with the gorgeous sunsets and settings and camera movement. There are some really beautiful scenes that utilize natural lighting to an impressive degree. Storywise, I love how we are left with so many questions and no concrete explanations as to what happened. We are given enough hints, along with Jong-su to make reasonable assumptions but no proof of anything which makes the mystery aspect of the film unravel in a very suspenseful way and leave you shocked at the end. 

This is a really beautiful film, and I will say that watching it on streaming (it came to Netflix this month!) is sort of detrimental to the look of the film. I am almost convinced to buy it on Blu-Ray just so I can see everything completely clearly because streaming quality doesn’t really do it justice. Surprised this one wasn’t nominated for Best Foreign Language Film this year cause I thoroughly loved it and thought it was a really distinguished piece of filmmaking.

I’ll save my spoilery interpretations of the film for another time but there’s a lot to unpack and I’ll probably be spending the next few days thinking about what I can make of the themes and story

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