Burning ★★★★

NYFF #1

At the Q&A after the screening, Steven Yeun spoke about his particular qualification in being cast as the mysterious, sociopathic “Ben” in this Murakami adaptation. Since Yeun grew up stateside and is primarily in American projects (in which he admits he’s most comfortable) but is of Korean decent, he said that his performance stood out amongst his Korean costars for Korean audiences in particular. He said that you can tell something’s a little different about him even though he’s speaking the same language and looks the same as his costars. This Americanized core suits the otherness of his character perfectly and contributes to the authenticity of the distrust we harbor for his character as viewers. 

Without ruining anything, the film is an ambiguous one, but that definitely won’t keep some from feeling strongly one way or another. Yeun himself takes comfort in that ambiguity over taking sides. I’d have to agree. Perhaps that’s the philosopher’s preference. A schrodinger’s cat kind of situation. 

Aside from one too many masturbation sequences, an early, too-indulgent sex scene, and subpar depictions of women, I enjoyed this. Didn’t feel long at all. Breathes incredibly well. Burns after.

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