Michael’s review published on Letterboxd:
I'm not quite sure how to feel about this film. By all accounts, I should love it. It's an intriguing mystery drama, beautifully shot, and the performances are a stand-out.
The plot, while straightforward on a surface-level (was feeling some hints of a social class thing going on but I didn't care for that at all), was fun to follow along with the second-guessing and interpretation of things. But ultimately, there's a distinct feeling of emptiness to this movie.
While the performances are great, the characters aren't as good as Lee Chang-dong maybe intends. While I'm sure people like that exist, it really pushes the boundaries what a meek male and an eccentric female are actually like. Even Yeun's character, who by all accounts is supposed to be the interesting one, fails to capture anything from me even with his enigmatic swagger.
This failure is especially notable when Burning attempts to create captivating scenes that ultimately fall flat with the final scene as the most blatant offender.
It might seem like I hated this, but I actually quite enjoyed it (seriously, that cinematography). Hell, I still replay the trailer from time to time because it's so alluring. It has such high potential, with what feels like it could've been an all-time favorite for me, but it just doesn't reach it due to the characters.