Burning

Burning ★★★★★

This review may contain spoilers. I can handle the truth.

This review may contain spoilers.

I cannot believe that this movie wasn't nominated for Oscar. Five days after the viewing, I am still thinking about how great it was done and how many details are there that can give you totally different perspective about what happened.

So here is my interpretation of events. Movie is made from a Jong-su point of view, and somehow it managed to achieve that me as a viewer saw things through his eyes. Jong-su is not a character that someone would really want to be - he is not handsome, successful or especially smart and he also has many problems in his life. Still, with time I somehow identified with him and I didn't question his conclusions. Although he wants to be a writer, he doesn't understand metaphore so at first he took literally that Ben will burn a greenhouse and went to check all the greenhouses around. And at that moment when he was checking it, I also thought same as him, it didn't even cross my mind that greenhouse might be a metaphore for something else. And since I am ususally the first who will think that something is a symbol, this only shows how strong my identification with Jong-su was. Kudos to director.

Later when he sees Ben in caffe, Ben gives him another clue - he says he indeed burned the greenhouse and that it was very near to Jong-su, so he is surprised that he didn't notice. Only then Jong-su begins to realize that he is speaking about Hae-mi, and we know it then too. All the things that happen till the end of the movie only give us more evidence that Ben is a serial killer - he meets another lonely girl every two months, seduces her and then kill her. Jong-su wants to be sure about that fact so he goes to gather more evidence. He asks people was there a well besides Hae-mi's house, cause he wants to know if she lied when she said she fell into a well while she was a kid. Her family says that it's a lie, there wasn't a well, they would know if that ever happened. So at that point we are little unsure again, maybe Ben is not a killer, maybe Hae-mi is actually pathological liar who uses people and she ran away and created new identitiy somewhere else. But Jong-su is so in love with her that he doesn't want to believe she's a liar, he finds more people to ask them about the well, and in the end his mother confirms there was a well. For him that is a prove that Hae-mi was honest and Ben is a bad guy for sure. It also explains a bit for us why Hae-mi liked Jong-su - maybe he was her childhood hero if he rescued her from that well, and she was obsessed with him since then. Jong-su also finds her watch in Ben's place and a cat he believes it is Hae-mi's.

Situation seems pretty clear at that point, so in the end Jong-su calls Ben to abandoned field and kills him. Wait, what was that? Ben expected him to show up with Hae-mi there, he seems relax and he doesn't have weapons? Isn't that weird if he killed her? Oh well, too late now, he is already burning. And we will never know what really happened. But it shows how people can be subjective and ignore the facts that don't confirm their theories. It shows how we need to be careful before we make important conclusions. Or not. Maybe we can just trust our instincts and ignore the facts? These questions are also left for us to answer. A lot of material to think about after the movie credits roll.

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