Updated: Apr 30, 2019
Viewing Feb '19 ///
The feeling that Burning omits is one of engrossing unease, that has truly left me in a state of wonderment. Lee Chang-Dong has expertly invited the ‘active’ viewer in through establishing a protagonist with goals that we can empathise with, whilst also cleverly restricting his dialogue due to his social anxiety, creating moments of silence and reflection upon his subjective. Because of this established empathy, it makes it all the more impactful when Lee Chang-Dong subverts our expectations of the characters, and the plot, twisting and turning the films’ direction to multiple possibilities, asking more questions than it could possibly answer. Mystery runs through its core, immediately positioning you with a character that you simply know nothing about, and drip feeds clues to the direction of the plot, without ever providing any conclusive evidence towards what we believe to be the truth of the film. The story, as good as it is, has been lifted with beautiful cinematography that has effectively created a visual dissonance between Lee Jong-su’s warn out farm and Ben’s lavish upper class lifestyle. Engrossing sound design partnered with an unsettling and repetitive score has boosted the mystery, wholly completing a consistent slow burn mis-en-scene that will feel as lasting as its story does.