Who’s in it?

Steven Yeun, Yoo Ah-In, Jong-Seu Jun

The Basics

Critics have been raving about this import from South Korea, with many calling it a modern classic. And while it may not exactly be a classic, it is a searing, haunting, and intimate portrait about love and relationships in the 21st century. Hotshot Korean Director Chang-Dong Lee (Poetry, Secret Sunshine) marks himself as one-to-watch-out-for with this slow burning twisted thriller.

What It’s About

Burning is based on a short-story by Haruki Murakami, the Japanese master of the surreal spellbinder. If you’re a Murakami fan, you’ll dig all the usual references in the film. It’s got the yummy pasta, the mysterious cat, and the weird and precocious teenage-girl. Yoo Ah-Jin plays Jong-Su, a wannabe writer with a penchant for William Faulkner who runs into an old friend, Hae-Jin (Jong-Seu Jun) during a delivery. “I did plastic surgery. I got pretty” she tells him after he fails to recognize her at first. Lust ensues and then she has to go to Africa, leaving him to look after her cat. When she returns, she is with a handsome rich guy named Ben (Steven Yeun) whom she meets in Africa. Ben is a Gatsby-ian character who drives a Porsche and throws a lot of parties in his swanky apartment. When Ben and Hae-Jin invite themselves to Jong-Su’s house, the latter tells Ben that he loves Hae-Jin. And this is where I’ll stop because this is when things start to get really, really interesting.

The Verdict

Watch Burning if you’re looking for a weird, artsy flick that’s got something to say. Remember that this is not your typical edge-of-your-seat thriller. But also remember that when the plot starts to take heat, it totally blows your head off!