Burning ★★★★★

NZIFF 2018: Film #14

However good you've heard this is, it's actually even better. Lee Chang-dong's second consecutive perfect film, and an absolute masterclass in subtle tension, with a supremely unsettling off-centre feel that permeates its second half and is never explicitly resolved. The film centres around the mysterious L'Avventura-esque disappearance of a central character, and while one particular explanation for what happened to this person is heavily hinted at, my interpretation was entirely different from those of the people around me. Lee allows for this though, by purposefully never resolving the narrative neatly, and ending on an explosive act which I'm not entirely convinced really happened, and is one of many instances which calls into question the reliability of the central character's perspective. I think the legitimacy of much of what we see in the movie is questionable, actually, and I think a second viewing will be a necessity. That won't be a problem for me, however, as this is one of the most engaging, suspenseful, and visually gorgeous thrillers I have seen this year. Comfortably Lee's finest achievement, and a masterpiece of form, this will likely go down not just as one of the best of the year, but one of the decade's most significant achievements in film.

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