Burning ★★★★½

This film so tactfully castigates its
audience on being unwitting or rather oblivious perpetrators of a patriarchal system that enable predators to (disproportionately) get away with their crimes. When Hae-mi goes missing, the constructs of her being are used to dispell any suspicion that something bad may have befallen her, and it works. It works because like Hae-mi, the audience is lulled by Ben's charismatic personality and uninterested in seeing anything else in him.

Although the film leaves most of its elements and themes up to individual interpretation, I don't believe it is ambiguous at all. Ben murdered Hae-mi and many other women before her, this is repeatedly evidenced to us, but his characterization works like mist or a thick fog in the woods - it misguides you - hoaxing you into doubt.

Granted that it truly becomes elucidated when it is whole & complete (post viewing), the film's critical anatomization of society's ineptitude to protect women is very much valid - as we witness how adamant the very few people in her (Hae-mi) life are to dismiss the idea that something has happened to her without checking to see if she's fine, either that or they don't care. If her body was discovered, society would default to questioning the decision(s) she made that "led" to her demise.

This film is less about how unassuming predatory nature can be, and more about the failure to protect people who are victims to predatory crimes of sexual nature, particularly women. These women are not only victims of these crimes, but also victims of a world that fails the memory of who they are/were.

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