Smoothtacoman’s review published on Letterboxd:
Burning's biggest strength is its ability to force the viewer to make assumptions. The story is so simple, yet almost nothing about it is explicitly explained, you have to assume you know what is going on and run with it. By the end, you are left wondering if your assumptions were even true, they may very well be, but you can never be certain, can you?
A beautifully shot film that leaves a mystifying afterglow, the cast was very talented, and the soundtrack was unique and helped enforce the puzzling tone.
**** you've been warned****
Every clue you get in this film points you towards thinking that Ben is this evil wealthy playboy serial killer. Which is totally plausible but my interpretation is that of a much darker possibility. Ben being a murder seems like the easy answer but, Jongsu's personality displays a lot of red flags as well.
He is a pervert, that jacks off in peoples bedrooms without them knowing, going as far as having another girl have sex with him in the bed of a girl he is obsessed with. He jumps to conclusions without any real concrete evidence, for example, finding Haemi's watch in Ben's bathroom could easily just be a ritual Ben has after sleeping with women (this is not unheard of, think of frat boys getting "souvenirs"). Boil the cat could easily be fake and the cat at Ben's could be a rescue just like Ben said. Jongsu is constantly jealous of Ben yet without ever seeing actual public displays of affection between him and Haemi. He even goes as far as calling her a slut and getting angry with her for taking her shirt off in front of Ben. Sad truth is that Jongsu is constantly portrayed as a lonely boy desperate for the attention that he never got from his parents. Instead, he takes it out his frustrations on someone he is jealous of and wishes he was.
What makes this film so good is that all of what I just said could be completely wrong! Highly recommend this film.