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Arts & Entertainment


Yoo Ah-in, Jun Jong-seo & Steven Yeun

Burning may divide audiences. Is it a hit or a miss? Will audiences love it or loathe it? Many reviewers are raving, proclaiming South Korea has at last created a ‘cinematic masterpiece’, however, the average moviegoing public may beg to differ.

The story surrounds the rekindled friendship between a young man and woman when they meet again many years later. The woman introduces a mysteriously rich ‘Great Gatsby’ style stranger whom she met in Africa into the friendship, and a love triangle emerges. Jealousy, suspicion and foul play follow soon after.

This psychological mystery drama is based on a short story and should more aptly be described as an unashamedly slow-burning character study. At a tediously excessive running time of 148 minutes, the difficulties in traversing a short story to the silver screen are clearly visible.

Awkward storytelling and prolonged character analysis deliver a film which may be a refined movie-going experience for some but an unbearably exhausting cinematic experience for most. A warranted streamlining of the film’s running time down to 90 minutes may have led to more broad appeal.

The minority of moviegoers who watched and were mesmerised by the equally underwhelming yet critically applauded Roma, may be pleasantly surprised or even overwhelmed by Burning. Ultimately film critiquing is such a subjective art that moviegoers should watch this alleged ‘masterpiece’ and judge for themselves. (MMo)

★★ ½