gcmyles’s review published on Letterboxd:
The borders between North and South Korea are well defined; however, this does not stop the blaring propaganda from finding its way to the rural towns south of the border. Burning plays with the idea of boundaries in a subtle way throughout the film: the boundaries of life and death, being and non-being, worth and worthlessness. Symbolism is rampant with many representations that reflect meaning and issues. The story is based on two separate short stories: one by William Faulkner (Jong-Su's favorite author) and the other by Murakami. Both are of the name "Barn Burning". Though the Faulkner short story seems to be forced in the film, it still adds character.
The clever wordplay adds to a second viewing. For example, Ben tells Hae-Mi to ask Jong-Su what a metaphor is, and later uses a metaphor in order to taunt Jong-Su. It is the subtleties such as this one that make this movie a masterpiece. A masterpiece that ought to be viewed more than once.