Burning (2018)

Director: Chang-dong Lee

Writer: Jungmi Oh, Chang-dong Lee (Screenplay) Haruki Murakami (Story)

Starring: Ah-in Yoo, Steven Yeun, Jong-seo Jun, Soo-Kyung Kim, Seung-ho Choi, Seong-kun Mun


Plot: Jong-su bumps into a girl who used to live in the same neighborhood as him, who asks him to look after her cat while on a trip to Africa. When back, she introduces Ben, a mysterious guy she met there, who confesses his secret hobby.

Tagline – Now Tell the Truth

Runtime: 2 Hours 28 Minutes


There may be spoilers in the rest of the review


Verdict: Slow Burning Mystery Thriller


Story: Burning starts when Jongsu (Yoo) working part time in the delivery job he bumps into an old neighbourhood schoolgirl Haemi (Jun) who asks him to look after her cat while she travels to Africa. Jongsu has his own problems though, with his father facing jail time, leaving him the small farm to operate.

When Haemi returns, she brings the mysterious Ben (Yeun) the only other Korean she meets in Africa, he is older, richer and has a laidback attitude to life unlike most of the Korean’s Jongsu has met. When Ben revives that he has a secret hobby, Jongsu’s life takes a drastic change, as he gets drawn into this world.


Thoughts on Burning


Characters – Jongsu is a simple delivery boy that is trying to figure out a way to help his father out of his prison sentence, while this is going on he looks after their small farm, until he meets Haemi, who opens up his world to something new, until she goes missing he starts to look at life the way Ben taught him. Haemi is the girl from the neighbourhood Jongsu grew up in, she asks him to look after his cat while she travels, she returns with a new man which sees him start to become jealous, until she vanishes. Ben is the mysterious man that Haemi returns with, he is wealthy, older and has a secret hobby unlike anybody else, Jongsu starts to become fascinated in his ideas of the world, which leads him down a dangerous path. These three characters are the main ones that we meet, we barely get into any supporting characters, with every shot being focused on what Jongsu is seeing.

PerformancesAh-in Yoo in the leading role is fantastic to watch, he keeps our attention to his characters decision making by showing us the emotional journey he must go on. Steven Yeun is the biggest global name in this film because of his time on the Walking Dead, he brings the confidence that his character requires to make him feel mysterious throughout the film. Jong-seo Jun brings the bubbly energic performance the film requires from her character with ease.

StoryThe story here follows a delivery boy that reconnects with a former school friend who ends up bringing him into a world with a mysterious stranger, who teaches him something new about the life he enjoys. This is a slow burning (no pun intended) story that builds up the tension in the life of Jongso as he must piece together what might have happened to Haemi after she vanishes, he must also deal with his own person problems after his father is facing jail time, showing the uncertainty of his future. We get plenty of time to build everything up, which in places does drag along at times, though this does lead to the explosive conclusion of the story.

MysteryThe mystery elements are bought to us by wondering just what could have happened to Haemi with Jongsu desperately trying to learn the truth and not having any leads to truly follow.

SettingsThe film uses the settings to create some of the most beautiful shots in film in 2018, we see how the busy city can bring people together and the open spaces can give them peace from the world.

Scene of the Movie –
The Meeting.

That Moment That Annoyed Me It is longer than it needs to be.

Final ThoughtsThis is slow burning story that does delivery everything it promises, it has brilliant performances that control the film which is a joy to watch.


Overall: Burns bright.





ABC Film Challenge – World Cinema – V – Veteran (2015)

Director: Seung-wan Ryoo

Writer: Seung-wan Ryoo (Screenplay)

Starring: Jung-min Hwang, Ah-in Yoo, Hae-jin Yoo, Dal-su Oh, Man-sik Jeong


Plot: Jo Tae-Oh is a young man who was grown spoiled in a wealthy family. He keeps on committing pretty much every crime that one can think of. He tries to buy his way out of everything which almost always works but Detective Seo Do-Cheol won’t let that happen this time.

Tagline – He will stop at nothing

Runtime: 2 Hours 3 Minutes


There may be spoilers the rest of the review


Verdict: Smart Enjoyable Crime Thriller


Story: Veteran starts as we see how Seo Do-cheol (Hwang) and his team operate taking down criminals, his latest target in young businessman and vice-president of the family business Jo Tae-oh (Ah-in Yoo) who playboy lifestyle has been raising eyebrows as he can buy himself out of any problems.

When one of the contractors attempt suicide after lack of payment, Seo starts to investigate Tae-oh to bring down his corruption at a price as he puts his career and marriage on the line to bring them down.


Thoughts on Veteran


Characters – Seo Do-cheol is a detective that has been operating with his team to take down criminals for years now, his latest job made him a connection to a contractor that gets terminated before receiving payment, this gives Seo a chance to look at the vice-president of the company where he must show his determination to expose the truth and bring him down against everyone else’s opinions. Jo Tae-oh is the vice-president of a family company where he has more money then sense which lets him indulge in illegal part of life with his lawyer needing to clean up his actions.

PerformancesThe performances from the whole cast are good, Jung-min Hwang in the leading shines with his determined mindset to bring down Tae-oh. Ah-in Yoo is great as the playboy businessman, he brings out his cockiness in nearly every scene while also being able to snap at any moment.

StoryThe story follows one determined detective trying to take down a vice-president of a ruthless company who pays off anyone that tries to go against him. The story does have plenty of twists along the way and does handle business corruption well, we also get to see how South Korean culture can play into decisions being made by characters. The pace of the story works well to as it never seems to let up even if the film is over 2 hours long.

Action/Comedy/Crime The action in this film is kept for a couple of good sequences while we focus on the crime side of the film for the most part. We have moments of comedy while they don’t take over the film.

SettingsThe films place in a South Korean city where the rich can get what they want and get away with what they want, and the cops must try to take them down.

Scene of the Movie –
The takedown.

That Moment That Annoyed Me You feel we could have had more of Jo Tae-oh action before this crime.

Final ThoughtsThis is a good crime thriller that exposes plenty of truths in the corruption one man had been causing and shows the best of the two men and what they are fighting for.


Overall: Fun crime thriller.