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2,034 Ratings


Directed by Lee Chang-dong
South Korea, Japan, 2018
Drama, Mystery


Jong-su, a part-time worker, bumps into Hae-mi, a girl who used to live in the same neighborhood while delivering. Hae-mi asks him to look after her cat while she’s on a trip to Africa. Once back, she introduces Jong-su to Ben, a mysterious guy she met while away, who confesses his secret hobby.

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Burning Directed by Lee Chang-dong
Jongsu doesn’t really understand Haemi’s interest in the ‘Great Hunger’, the Kalahari bushmen’s quest for meaning in life, but the way his resentment of Ben’s privilege and confidence evolves into paranoia and rage matches a global, inchoate anger, especially amongst the young.
January 31, 2019
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It’s a highly discomfiting, richly confounding take on the thriller, with wealthy, viciously indifferent maybe-villain Ben (Steven Yeun) as unsatisfying an object of prey as Jeon Jong-soo’s Haemi is as an object of romantic affection.
January 05, 2019
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Lee Chang-dong’s most alluring film depicts a gauzy youthful ardor that foments obsession and imbues an otherwise desultory aspiring writer with a sense of purpose.
January 02, 2019

What are people saying?

  • John Denny's rating of the film Burning

    A murder mystery without a murder. A ghost story without a ghost. A film where the images are a puzzle to be decoded, or you could just take it on face value. It's a maze. It's a laboratory. And if you don't get it at first don't worry, it's only Life imitating Art.. Something important has been removed from the story that you can't see. Something is on fire, maybe the whole world and the film, the film is Burning.

  • Matthew Martens's rating of the film Burning

    Rather than sweat fidelity to Murakami, Faulkner, or Fitzgerald, Lee, in his most galvanic feature since Secret Sunshine, treats them the same way he treats everyday objects and facial expressions, siphoning a charge from each--while gulping great gobs of current from Steven Yeun's yawn--to power a battery of symbol and suggestion, on which his protagonist's hunger and need greedily feed.

  • HKFanatic's rating of the film Burning

    "Some things sure can sweep me off my feet/Burning down the house." Lee Chang-dong's latest is a moody and methodically paced revenge thriller, and easily one of the best examples of its kind since Na Hong-jin's "Yellow Sea." Even in a crowded film year, its depiction of economic rage and sexual obsession holds a unique staying power. Somehow Steven Yuen turned a yawn into one of my favorite film moments of 2018.

  • ara's rating of the film Burning

    out of the murakami film adaptations i have seen, i feel this one has been the best at representing what it feels like to be in that world. i don't understand the comments saying this film was misogynist. i think we did get a very idealized and distant version of hae-mi, that was very much only seen through the lens of the main character, but the film was from his perspective. romanticization =/= misogyny (cont.. )

  • Filipe F. Coutinho's rating of the film Burning

    The film moves at a glacial pace, never underestimating the immersive power of the mundane experience. Lee allows the scenes to float into one another, carrying the ease insatiably satisfying page-turner. Burning simmers for most of its running time sustaining the mystery without ever resorting to glitzy camerawork, claustrophobic score or, even, a sense of urgency.

  • Duncan Gray's rating of the film Burning

    In a way, it would be a shame to let any review of Burning say anything about the plot: better to let the viewer start the film, with the camera tailing the main character, and then follow the film wherever it goes in terms of texture, theme, and even genre. This is one of 2018's major films, rich in unsettled mystery but lucid/impassioned/careful in its view of a system that can swallow people up, leaving no trace.

  • msmichel's rating of the film Burning

    TIFF '18 Lee Chang-Dong's latest finds the auteur offering an adaptation of a short story by Haruki Murakami that impresses with its mix of relationship drama and thriller aspects Casting is wonderful with all three leads impressing especially Jun Jong-seo as Hae-mi. The film's early feel of lightness and hope is infiltrated by a darkness that grows until its bleak conclusion that keeps the viewer riveted.

  • Michael H. CLAES's rating of the film Burning

    The New Wave is reflected in this complicated equation of 2 Men & 1 Woman. As subtle, but much darker than Jules & Jim. Great trio of actors & soundtrack, revamping of Elevator for the scaffold. ===La Nouvelle Vague transparaît dans cette équation compliquée de Deux hommes, Une femme, moins légère & plus sombre que Jules & Jim. Formidable trio d'acteurs & bande son magique, reprise de Ascenseur pour l'Echafaud. 9/10

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