Burning ★★★★½


I completely understand how the movie might be a frustrating experience for some. The lack of clarity or resolution is likely to burn (sorry) some viewers. I won't even make some pretentious statement how the film isn't for people who like to be spoon-fed morals or clear narratives.

But everything that can be perceived as ambivalence marks what I consider to be the beauty of "Burning."

The movie says nothing, but presents everything. Even the most basic version of the story itself depends completely on the gaps the viewer has filled in their minds. The movie deviates from typical thrillers by focusing less on the physical clues and more on the characters' interpretation of these events and tells. But even then, our understanding of the movie is rooted in our own readings of the characters and whether anything they say can be trusted or taken at face value.

Indeed, the true genius of the film is that even with the incredible dialogue, performances, cinematography, score, etc., we as audience members are forced to wrestle with (though not necessarily definitively decide) on the questions and themes surrounding the characters to make any sense of the film at all.

And even if the movie is taken on a completely thematic level as a metaphor for the clashing ideas and struggles of the ever-widening socio-economic gaps in South Korea, it completely works.

It's a masterpiece of film making and I can't get it out of my head.

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