Burning ★★★★½

“You think the rain judges anything?..” 

Holy fuck, welcome to the fucking show ladies and gentlemen. South Korean movies just seem like such a cut above the rest. That’s probably because none of the dreck makes it way over here, so us Americans only get the pure unfiltered good shit. But still, South Korean movies stay batting a thousand as far as I am concerned. 

Three things stood out to me in this movie.  
The first two things that really struck me in this film were the ways it used visuals and sound. Visually the movie is gorgeous, using contrasting scenes of brilliant dawn and gloomy dusk. The scene of Hae-mi slowly dancing around, as the sun sets behind her, was absolutely stunning. The sound compliments the visuals perfectly, alternating between near-silence and pounding instrumentals. When the score kicks in, then, the tension gets ratcheted up.

The third, and arguably most impactful thing about this film was Steven Yeun. He plays his part perfectly. He is restrained, meticulous, clean-cut to the point of concern, and couches his true intentions behind layers of metaphor and allegory. He truly embodies a wolf in sheep’s clothing. On the surface he appears charming and non-threatening, perhaps a bit detached, but ultimately harmless. But lurking just underneath is a man with delusions of grandeur. When you understand his true nature, so much of what he says takes on a sinister edge. Steve’s character, Ben, likens himself to a force of nature, and comes just short of referring to himself as a God. I wouldn’t be suprised if Ben thinks of himself as the only real person in the world. Other people to him are accessories, meant to entertain him or benefit him in some way. When they cease to do so, they cease to matter. He is the rain, meant to wash them away in the flood. And what does it matter if they are gone? The rain endures no matter what. Nothing will ever stop it. Nobody will ever catch him. Because like he said, the cops in Korea don’t care about the type of crime he does. And what does that say more about: him, or Korea?

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