Flash Movie Review: Burning
I FELT LIKE I WAS WEARING a disguise because he did not recognize me. One night I was about to start my yoga class when an unfamiliar couple walked in. As was my custom, I went up to introduce myself and ask if they had ever done yoga before. Through the conversation, I never let on that I recognized the man; I was friends with him in elementary school. Granted, I had lost a lot of weight, had a beard and was wearing a baseball hat; so, chances were he would not have remembered me after all these years. However, after class I went up to ask both how they felt. At some point during the conversation, I came out and asked if he recognized me. He looked at me for a moment and said no. I chuckled and asked how his sister was, to see if that would jog his memory. His face showed such utter confusion that I chuckled and told him my name. Not only did he stare at me in disbelief, but he asked me what happened to me, that I was so skinny now. It was my turn to chuckle before I answered him. I TOLD HIM EVERYTHING I LEARNED about fitness; I learned after I left high school. That statement got us started on talking about our years together in school. I mentioned that I could only recall us having a gym class together in high school and he said he remembered the class; but he cut it often. I shared with him how I had to cut gym class sometimes out of concerns for my safety. That is not a typical statement, I know; he asked what happened. From what I told him, we each shared our horror stories about high school. The thing that amazed me the most was how my perceptions of him did not match who I thought he was in school. Because of his laid-back appearance and lack of enthusiasm during the school day, I thought he had little motivation. He explained how he found most of the classes boring, naming a few teachers he thought were the worst. When he would cut class, he would go downtown to explore the different museums or go to a particular exhibit or concert. I was so surprised to hear this since I interpreted his actions as a slacker. On the contrary, he was at the city’s main library studying the same school subjects we were, but he really wanted to learn about the assigned topic. What a surprise! It just goes to show, you can never assume you know how a person will turn out from your childhood. It can be seen in this film festival winning, mystery thriller. IT WAS A BIT OF A SHOCK that the employee during her performance was flirting with him. It was a bigger shock when she said she knew him. With Yao Ah-in (The Throne, Voice of Silence) as Lee Jong-ju, Steven Yeun (I Origins, Minari) as Ben, Jeon Jong-seo (Nothing Serious, Mona Lisa and the Blood Moon) as Shin Hae-mi, newcomer Kim Sao-Kyung as Yeon-ju and newcomer Choi Seung-ho as Lee Yong-seok; this drama was a slow burn, pun intended. For the beginning portion of the movie, I kept wondering when things would pick up. Things slowly took place in what seemed to be no particular direction. On a better note, I was fascinated seeing on display the Korean culture and landscape. One could argue there were different stories taking place, that were filled with symbolism and metaphors. Maybe there was, but I am not the type to delve into a movie story’s psyche and try to figure out what the writer and director were trying to say. Korean was spoken with English subtitles.
2 ¾ stars
Posted on April 25, 2023, in Foreign and tagged 2 3/4 stars, cat, childhood, drama, film festival winner, international, jean jong-seo, korean, mystery, steven yeun, thriller, yay ah-in. Bookmark the permalink. 6 Comments.
My 17 year old absolutely loves this movie. It is one of his favourite movies of recent years and he proselytizes about it. I, on the other hand, did not connect with it. It left me cold. But good film-making is often divisive. If you please everyone then you’ve probably made something mediocre.
Thank you for the sharing the two views from you both. Did your son see a message in this film?
I couldn’t remember so I just asked him. This is what he said: “I think generally it’s about lack of fulfillment in life. There’s a lot about patterns and history of violence. But overall the main focus is on characters who feel really empty and lost in the world so they try to make sense of it any way they know how.”
Though I do not fully see it, I appreciate you asking him. Thank you.
Don’t worry: I don’t see it either.
Whew, lol. Thanks for telling me.