Metacritic score: 89
Burning, from Korean director Lee Chang-dong, has been one of the most critically lauded films at this year’s film festivals, topping many critics’ lists and drawing nearly universal praise. It’s loosely based on Haruki Murakami’s short story “Barn Burning,” which was first published in The New Yorker in 1992 — and thus, though it’s rare for a non-English language film to be nominated for the Best Adapted Screenplay Oscar, it could be eligible for that category, in addition to the Best Foreign Language picture category.
The film is gripping and unnerving, a noir-style mystery about a young man from rural South Korea who runs into an old friend in Seoul and rapidly falls for her, only to find his hopes overshadowed by a mysterious, cosmopolitan rival. It goes in entirely unexpected directions, and it features a cast that includes The Walking Dead’s Steven Yeun. If you love a haunting mystery, it’s one to watch for.