Zachary⚡’s review published on Letterboxd:
THOUGHTS ON BURNING
One like myself, can come to the thought that the core performance needed to be stronger. A dissatisfaction would arise with how the central performance was very subtle and nicely understated, but it oftentimes feels limited. Key word being limited as this not only applies to the core performance, but the film as a whole. The main focus of the film is to build up and limit an audience of their bare essentials of a viewing experience. Intentionally, characters' background are kept cryptic and all sense of time is seemingly a non-issue. In a movie where each scene has a clock-like progression and meaningful transition/build-up to the next, it's expected to dislike the film's reluctance to be explicit and forward. Subtlety can really propose a barrier from completely comprehending and gasping the nature of events surrounding a story. It can be dissatisfying.
As much of an exhaustion exercise this sounds in terms of truly unlocking whatever the narrative means and what truly is right, Lee Chang Dong and crew cultivate this mystification and ephemeral quality out of the most exhaustively and intentionally confusing and unexplained elements. It is expected to be dissatisfied with the film's ambiguity, however there is this beautiful mystifying quality to it's story-telling, that it's ambiguity and limited tendencies become tolerable. The toleration of it's ambiguous and limited narrative infrastructure is never a chore thanks to it's boldly mystifying quality. A quality made strong and impossible to ignore by the film's haunting score, the small little visual story-telling, and the eccentrically humane performances all set around this gorgeously filmed setting.
The 2-hour and a half run-time, for such a limiting and secretive movie, never feels like a chore thanks to the meaningfulness of each scene and the mystifying quality surrounding the whole entire movie. All around great film-making.