Burning ★★★★★

"There are so many Gatsbys in Korea…"

Burning, the latest from Korean director Lee Chang-dong, has earned worldwide critical acclaim during a whirlwind year of festivals and special screenings, so I needed no convincing to take the drive to Philly to see a showing of the movie on a long holiday weekend.

Sometimes it's nice having no friends or social life to get in the way of great film…

Anyway, wow, we finally have something that can rival First Reformed for film of the year, as Burning is a slow-burn -- forgive me -- of a dramatic thriller that rewards you handsomely for your patience and understanding with knockout performances by Yoo Ah-in and Steven Yeun and a blistering -- again, forgive me -- screenplay based on a Murakami short story.

I would love to go on and on about the script, but I think, like myself, that it's best to go in with almost zero knowledge of what's going to happen.

Here's what I will say, for those who haven't ruined it by reading a review that reveals too much: there is SO much that can be analyzed in this film, from gender and class roles to the ennui of the Millennial generation; plus some of the most gorgeous and ultimately haunting cinematography of any film this year; and a Miles fucking Davis song used in probably the most amazing way I've ever seen.

Again, this movie will shower you with rewards if you are patient enough to wait for them after almost two-and-a-half hours of anticipation. There are images here, much like in First Reformed -- which, I have to admit, still reigns supreme for me -- that will be seared into my brain for a very long time. This is without a doubt one of the can't-miss cinematic experiences of the year.

Five goddamn stars.

Added to The 50 Best (non-documentary) Films of 2018.
Added to My Subjective List of the Best Narrative Films.

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