This review may contain spoilers. I can handle the truth.
Sarah McMullan’s review published on Letterboxd:
This review may contain spoilers.
Taking the threads of a story and weaving them into a complex, nuanced tale lit like a bruise, Lee Chang-dong's adaptation of Murakami's extremely short story Barn Burning is a cinematic gift.
Showcasing an incredible first feature script from Jungmi Oh, and mesmerising performances from Yoo Ah-in & Steven Yuen; this is a film with as many layers to unravel as pieces of plastic flapping on an abandoned greenhouse.
The way Jungmi Oh weaves imagery of death + destruction, hope + dreams into everyday language is artfully done, giving Ben + Haemi, in particular, some interesting lines.
Ben's description of his favourite secret hobby to Jong-su is spine chilling and vaguely erotic. In fact, a lot of his interaction with Haemi + Jong-su give mixed fuck or kill vibes, while his boredom with Haemi (and most of his friends) hints at a darker part of his personality. Jong-su's quiet observation is flattering to Ben; that's why l think he let him in on his secret. He's daring him to write about him and his hobby, daring him to burn it all down.
Been never believes Jong-su will turn him in. Isn't worried if he does - no one will believe him. No real proof. He's very smart in selecting his friends. That Jong-su, this poor, lonely, awkward country kid, could hurt him just doesn't occur to him.