reibureibu’s review published on Letterboxd:
I really can't get this one out of my head, even hours after finishing it. It's easy to say that a movie haunts you, but in this case Burning is the strongest example recently to do this to me.
I think where it succeeds heavily in creating this sentiment is how it lets on a sense of unease that's microscopic. There's long stretches of silent shots that pan around, and the lack of dialogue invites you to look further. The way the camera scans the scene implies something to be seen, but also a sense of urgency in missing it. Is there anything there to be found? Maybe, but we should look just in case. Why else would the director be making these shot choices?
When there is dialogue, it's very patient. Pauses are often between lines and characters, imparting an awkwardness but also a naturalism to the lines. It's this negative space that urges us to find something to fill it, and combined with the shots mentioned above we are led to seek some "intended solution" for this even if we aren't aware of it. And as the movie goes on, the dialogue becomes increasingly unsettling. What does this man do? How can he afford all this? Where is the girl? What happened to her apartment? Lots of questions are asked and investigating leads us to more.
All of this combined – the voyeuristic camera, the dialogue with empty space, the enigmatic story – create this great sense of unease in an otherwise grounded world. It's the same type of feeling that magical realism evokes, but darker and subdued. Things are so close to being right, but they aren't and it's disconcerting. It's hard to even say what's wrong and I'm not even sure I know what the problem is. But I know there is one and I know I won't be fulfilled until I get my answer.