This South Korean psychological drama-mystery is based on the short story Barn Burning from The Elephant Vanishes by author Haruki Murakami. It premiered at the 2018 Cannes Film Festival, where it competed for the Palme d’Or.
Burning | M | Drama | World Film
Jong-su bumps into a girl who used to live in the same neighborhood as him, who asks him to look after her cat while on a trip to Africa. When back, she introduces Ben, a mysterious guy she met there, who confesses his secret hobby.
Burning is a slow burn, but a riveting one every step of the way. On paper it tells a thinly plotted story, but it is shaped into a richly layered mystery with deep interpersonal dynamics. This is backed by a brilliantly crafted atmosphere, mood and tone throughout which allows even the smallest details, an insignificant object or the briefest glance, to feel as though they hold the clues to elucidating the film’s secrets. The central trio of the film all give terrific performances, and the eerie but wonderful film score plays a major part in building the film’s compelling atmosphere too. Burning is a rare cinematic achievement, and one of the best films of the decade.
The novelistic style immediately grabbed my attention and kept me intrigued throughout. An intense subtlety surrounds the film and offers such a rich landscape of intrigue and emotion that leaves the viewer on the edge of their seat, while simultaneously giving away very little. Beautifully written, shot and acted, this is certainly one to watch… and then to ponder while it sits with you long after the credits roll.
The movie lasts for 2 and a half hours, and for the first hour and a half, not much really happens. It’s just an extremely slow romance drama with some jealousy, and admittedly, it has some commentary on some societal problems, but it’s not really all that interesting to me. Then in the last hour, the mystery/thriller part of the plot sets in. It’s still slow, but a bit bitter and more exciting, and the movie does well in being subtle. But the payoff in the end is not good enough. It leaves audiences with too many questions and many possible (ambiguous) answers to these questions.
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And the next film is…
The Final Quarter | PG | Documentary | Non-Fiction
Australian documentary filmmaker Ian Darling re-examines the incidents that marked the final 3 years of footballer Adam Goodes’ playing career.