The film is a mystery thriller revolving around a woman whose life is intertwined with two men - one rich and the other a courier who struggles to make ends meet.
~~ An adaptation of Haruki Murakami's short story "Barn Burning".
Cast & Credits
Burning is a slow-paced mystery drama that revolves around 3 main characters, all 3 very different human beings, Jong-su is a shy, soft-spoken guy who keeps to himself, Hae-mi is an outgoing, wild and idealistic girl, Ben, on the other hand, is a well-put together, charming and charismatic man, with a psychotic edge, almost alike Christian Bale in American Psycho. This film succeeds in merging 3 extremely different personalities into scenes perfectly, the attention to detail is sublime in Lee Chang-dong’s film. The personalities complements each other in different ways even though they are such distinct individuals, and that’s all up to Lee’s brilliant direction and marvelous script.
Burning is beautiful, the cinematography and the calmness within this film is something to behold. The metaphorical excellence that presents throughout as the film progresses is brilliantly executed. Burning leaves you with questions, and doesn’t feel the needs to explain. It wants the audience to find clues by themselves in small details, through Ben’s facial expressions, through small events that happen throughout the film, and by the end, you are left mostly impressed and also dumbfounded.
I sat in the theatre wondering what was gonna happen next, for such a slow-paced drama to keep me on the edge of my seat like a thriller is an amazing feat.
Burning is no doubt a masterpiece, and the style is very alike Edward Yang’s The Terrorizers, and to a small extent, A Brighter Summer Day. Burning, is no doubt, one of the best of the year so far.
M A S T E R P I E C EI find myself having a different taste than most users here on MDL so I would totally not recommend it if you can't handle slow type of movie especially this one which is 2 1/2 hours long. This movie also contains sex scenes so definitely not for everyone. People with attention span of a goldfish would hate this movie.
Jongsu is an aspiring writer; he also works as a part time delivery man. One day while doing his delivery task he bumps into hae min, who is apparently his childhood friend. hae min said she is going to africa and ask jongsu to look after her cat. Hae min comes back along with mysterious guy named ben. One day ben and hae min visits jongsu, later on ben confessed to jongsu his secret hobby.
It is the definition of slow burn no pun intended, utilizing the time to explore the life of the lead character, his affection to Hae min, conflicts with his family and his view to korean society. The film is a character study and Jongsu is just our extension in the movie. The movie is very philosophical in which the central theme revolves around "little and great hunger"(what we want / what we need), it is also very metaphorical, simmering with ambiguity, it's the best example of less talk see it in action and it also loaded with symbolism throughout. Though being the film a slow burn and with its 2 1/2 hours running time, it is by no means a dull or boring movie. It is a hypnotic experience and throughout the movie you will use your brain a lot as mysteries after mysteries unfolds.
Cinematography is topnotch. It's beautifully shot, able to capture the eerie atmosphere on screen. I also love the shots at dawn, it's enigmatic yet mesmerizing. Music just makes this thriller movie 100x better. It is haunting, builds tension, underlines the mood and evokes characters emotion.
Acting is masterful, might be the best I've seen in years. Let's talk about the lead girl first. Jeon Jong Seo as a free spirited gypsy is just brilliant, the way she pantomime eating orange is very believable, the philosophical element of the movie plays here, that's why that scene is important in the movie. She also not just good looking but also has great screen presence. Yoo Ah In who played Jongsu is equally brilliant. The development of his character is handled really well especially during the later part when his character became obsessed. Steven Yeun is not just a guy from walking dead, the dude can really act. I love the way he made the character more mysterious through his facial expressions.
Perfectly crafted movie, you would feel the labor of love put by a director making movies like this. It's that type of movie that you would get something new every time you watch it. Definitely the best movie I've seen this year and the best korean film I've seen in a decade. This is a masterpiece.