Burning ★★★★

This review may contain spoilers. I can handle the truth.

This review may contain spoilers.

The first thing that struck me was the naturalism. It is a very soft and understated movie in many ways, but it also very realistic. I don't think I've ever seen anyone spit after smoking in a movie, as they do here repeatedly, but I've certainly seen it in reality plenty of times. In that way it is striking in its naturalism. Overall it is not beautiful although it has its moments of beauty.
After seeing early reviews I have to wonder if many of the reviewers were too tired from everything going on in Cannes to grasp the full plot. Or maybe it's too subtle? It seems that many missed the strong reasons for suspicion of Ben (although I don't think the suspicions can be fully confirmed), so they could only explain the shocking killing at the end by saying Jongsu was jealous. To put it bluntly, Ben's greenhouse burning may not be greenhouse burning at all, it may be his way of talking about murdering his girlfriends. In that case he casually sees them as being as worthless as he describes the greenhouses. At first I thought Ben could be kidnapping them and forcing them into prostitution because of the way he behaved with them nearing the end of their relationships and his mysterious source of income, but in a conversation it came up that his talk about the greenhouses could just be a code. I think that makes more sense. There is some evidence for this - the missing girls, the cat, Ben saying the burnt greenhouse was "too close" to Jongsu for Jongsu to notice - but I don't think Jongsu has enough to determine Ben's guilt. The film is brilliant in keeping it just unclear enough. For me the ending was shocking and did not provide any catharsis or comfort of justice being done and I think that too is naturalism at its finest since in reality violence is not beautiful or comforting.

Will liked this review