Burning Film Review (2018) – Murakami Psychological Thriller

Burning Film Review (2018) – Murakami Psychological Thriller

(This is the Burning film review, which is a 2018 film that is adapted from Haruki Murakami’s short story titled ‘Barn Burning’.)

So you are a fan of mystery drama that is littered with some psychological sections which add even more mystery into the premise. Burning sorts of trying to capture this particular genre, except that it adds in some kind of ‘artsy’ filter into it. With the premised based on a short story by the famed Haruki Murakami, you can be sure that this is not any ordinary story. What’s more, it is directed by Lee Chang Dong, who has won several awards for his past films such as Poetry and Secret Sunshine. Adding to this are some famous cast that includes Yoo Ah In and Steven Yeun, and this film seems to have the materials to make it successful. But is it? Well, read on the Burning film review below to find out!



Jong Su is a young man who is living from odd jobs in a suburban city in Korea. One day he meets his childhood friend, Hae Mi, who said she used to have a crush on him, but nothing materialised between them. Then, she asked him to help feed her cat as she is going away overseas for a while, of which Jong Su agrees. Later, she returns with a mysterious man who seems to have his own intentions in getting near to her. What could he want? And could Jong Su be able to see through him before it’s too late?

Burning film review Yoo ah in and Jong jeong seo

A childhood friend and crush suddenly appearing for no reason…


Burning Film Review

Burning is a slow burn(haha), art house-ish thriller based off of a short story by Haruki Murakami. I can see it turning a lot of people off, even fans of slow psychological thrillers.
Plot-wise, this is one really slow paced film like… Glacial, even for me and I am generally pretty tolerant of slow-paced film. If you’ve ever read a Murakami novel, this film actually does an excellent job of bringing to the life the unique atmosphere that a lot of his novels exude.

Eccentric characters who proceed to find themselves in at times awkward, at times strange situations and some of whom proceed to react in the most mysterious of ways. There are a lot of questions brought up, many theories hinted at and not much really gets answered. The film is very metaphorical and you MUST read deeply into everything for if you take everything at the surface level you will miss a lot of the subtle clues and hints. Just like his books, this film has a way of drawing you in and despite the fact that there might not be that much going on, it still magically draws you in and compels you to watch till the end. Ultimately, like a lot of his books, the ending is unsatisfactory and everything ends a little too abruptly and without much aplomb for my taste but even this was purposeful and served to further irritate my curious brain which was desperately screaming for an answer. Alas, it left me deeply unsatisfied and just like his books, it was meant to. Which is also why I stopped reading them. This film is very open to interpretation and I’m honestly unsure of what was really going on.

The casting for this film was on point. All 3 leads portrayed their characters perfectly. The soundtrack really added to some the more tense scenes and the cinematography was technically masterful and of course beautiful. Very interesting choice of shots and angles.

The pacing really got to me and certain miscellaneous plot points could have gone over faster than they were portrayed but… Perhaps that would have betrayed the meandering atmosphere of the film? It’s 145mins. This film is not for everyone.


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Burning Film Review (2018) – Murakami Psychological Thriller
Reader Rating0 Votes0
What's good
Captures the meandering and bizarre feel of a Murakami novel
Characters are well casted, acted and realized
A plot that subtly sucks you in and keeps you guessing
Very open to interpretation
Interesting and beautiful cinematography
What's bad
Glacial pacing and certain sequences in the middle could be shortened
Inconclusive ending (open to interpretation)
Pretty Good!
An artsy film that delivers and only fails in its pacing!
This is an artsy film that is not for everyone, for its pacing can prove to be so slow that it might bore an average moviegoer. However, if you could retain your attention, then you will be rewarded with perhaps one of the best artsy film in the story, character and cinematography departments.
  [Burning film review score table]


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