Distributor: Well Go USA
Director: Lee Chang-dong
Starring: Ah-in Yoo, Steven Yeun, and Jong-seo Jun
2018, South Korea, 148 minutes, Digital
Language: Korean with English subtitles
Burning is the searing examination of an alienated young man, Jongsu (Ah-in Yoo), a frustrated introvert whose already difficult life is complicated by the appearance of two people into his orbit: first, Haemi (newcomer Jong-seo Jun), a spirited woman who offers romantic possibility, and then, Ben (The Walking Dead‘s Steven Yeun), a wealthy and sophisticated young man she returns from a trip with. When Jongsu learns of Ben’s mysterious hobby and Haemi suddenly disappears, his confusion and obsessions begin to mount, culminating in a stunning finale.
Based on a short story by Haruki Murakami.
NYT CRITIC’S PICK:
“Brilliant… All three leads are sensational (Yeun turns yawns and soft laughter into nightmares), giving performances that retain a sense of mystery that dovetails with the movie’s ambiguity.”
— Manohla Dargis, The New York Times
“A character study that morphs, with masterly patience, subtlety and nary a single wasted minute, into a teasing mystery and eventually a full-blown thriller.”
— Justin Chang, The Los Angeles Times
“The absolute precision of craft, from Hong Kyung-pyo’s unerring camera placement to Kim Da-won’s stunningly variegated and cleverly deployed score, illuminates a trio of performances that are little short of miraculous.”
— Jessica Kiang, Sight and Sound