Burning simmers. For nearly two-and-a-half perfectly measured hours, it turns up the heat without boiling over: a drama becoming a thriller in slow motion, intensifying little by little minute by minute, until finally it reaches a shocking, powerful crescendo.
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There is so much fascinating, underplayed tension running through Burning.... I was a little let down, then, when Burning lost its steam in its second half.
Burning keeps twisting back on itself, charting the path of a man waking up to the world, only to find that it won’t stop messing with him.
Burning is 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.
This is a gripping nightmare.
The degree to which Burning succeeds will depend largely on one’s capacity to identify with the unspoken but strongly conveyed sense of jealousy and frustration its lower-class protagonist feels, coupled with a need to impose some sense of order on events beyond our control.
Burning might not have a huge amount going on below its gorgeous surface, but it drags the viewer along with all the seductive intrigue of a frothy page-turner.
Once again, Lee has crafted a film of wondrous complexity and inscrutability. The more we see in Burning, the less sure we are of what we are watching.
This is Lee’s closest ever film to a thriller, but it defies expectations, offering multiple, murky solutions to a set of mysteries at once.
This is a beautifully crafted film loaded with glancing insights and observations into an understated triangular relationship, one rife with subtle perceptions about class privilege, reverberating family legacies, creative confidence, self-invention, sexual jealousy, justice and revenge.