Burning ★★★★★

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

This review may contain spoilers.

"That's how it works. Don't think there is a tangerine here. Just forget that there isn't one. That's the key."

My new favorite movie. It's a film I've been mulling over in my head since the ending credits. In fact, my wife and I both came to opposite conclusions about Ben's guilt or innocence. I was sure that he was a serial murderer, and that "burning greenhouses" was a metaphor for murder. My wife was of the opposite opinion. But when the film was concluded, I had to admit to myself that I was no longer certain.

This film isn't about Ben. And this film isn't about Jongsu. Or Haemi.

To my mind, this film's focus is to explore what can happen when a person shoots an arrow and paints a bullseye around it. Jongsu came to a conclusion about Ben, and then everything he saw and experienced everywhere was seen through that particular lens. It's like the phenomenon where a person learns a new word, and suddenly they're hearing that word everywhere. And the filmmaker had me masterfully strung along.

I feel that people watch films hoping for a bow to be tied at the end. For everything to be nicely wrapped up. And we are so used to following the breadcrumbs left for us to reach a particular conclusion that we don't consider how our own assumptions affect our perception of the film.

And to mention some of the technical aspects: both the cinematography and soundtrack were mesmerizing, though I was more focused on the former. The acting, of course, was masterful. Jongsu's ragged breathing after the conclusion echoed in my ears well past the credits.

I'm looking forward to a rewatch. Absolutely riveting piece of filmmaking.

Korean Language Films, Ranked

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