Burning (2018)

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Burning

I actually saw this over a month ago when it came to theaters but somehow forgot to write a review for it. I didn’t know a whole lot but saw a lot of rave for it and saw promotion on social media for it from the Walking Dead’s Steven Yeun. I didn’t know a whole lot about the film but wow this film is quality. Its a slow burn, mystery that heightens and leaves a burning impression when the credits role. I think it’ll be up there as a foreign feature during awards season.

The film is about a young man in South Korea named Lee Jong-su. He one day reunites with a childhood friend named Hae-mi and falls for her. Life is good at first, though Hae-mi has some secrets to her. One day, during a trip Hae-mi meets a man named Ben who she brings back. Ben is well off, and rich and suave and this bothers Lee. Everything comes to a head, when Hae-mi mysteriously disappears without a trace. Lee tries to get to the bottom of it and is startled when he starts to discover what he sees as the truth.

The film is very well performed on all fronts. Each character has so much going on. Lee seems average but he borders on obsessive and persistent. Hae-mi seems like a care-free spirit but has a downward loneliness. Ben seems like a charmer but may have deep dark secrets when peeled inside. The film is an intentional slow build and is beautiful to look at and presents with a profound nature. A lot of what is seen needs to be deciphered in the viewers mind and the film leaves an impression.

Foreign films certainly deserve their share of love because of the creativity and sheer craft that is but into them. This South Korean film is a stand out of the year and leaves you bewildered and wanting more, even though the film itself is quite long. Go see this film as it is one of the best the year has to offer. The lingering thought of burning down green houses.

8/10

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