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Saturday, October 31, 2020

Memories of Murder / 살인의 추억 - Movie Review


The Movie: Memories of Murder살인의 추억

The Director: Bong Joon-ho

The Cast: Song Kang-ho, Kim Sang-kyung, Kim Roi-ha, Park Hae-il, Byun Hee-bong

The Story: In a small Korean province in 1986, two detectives struggle with the case of multiple young women being found raped and murdered by an unknown culprit.


The Review:
If Parasite was your introduction to the cinematic world of Bong Joon-ho then this movie is a great way to dig deep into the mind and imagination of one of this generation's most talented filmmakers. The story is based on actual events which makes it even more intense and quite scary considering the case was never resolved. As usual, director Bong has so much to say that he weaves between the lines of the story and embeds into the characters he puts on screen and he does it in such an engaging way that it's impossible not to appreciate.

If Parasite was your introduction to the illustrious career of Song Kang-ho then this movie will take you even deeper into what makes him such an incredible actor and one of my favorites of all time. It's interesting to me how the characters he plays have so many facets to them and they constantly surprise you because they are so human. Playing a detective who disregards the law in an effort to uphold it is pretty much a perfect role for the actor to play as we see how good the man is while he is also willing to push the boundaries of human decency and ethics for the purpose of stopping people who do worse things than he does.

If Parasite was your introduction to director Bong's social commentary in movies then this movie is going to show you a different side of that. Where parasite was mostly about economic disparity and class structure, this movie focuses on ethics and morality when it comes law and order and it evens touches on some of the issues we are still dealing with today when it comes to police brutality and the protest against it. It really made me think about how we idolize violent, rebellious movie characters in law enforcement and celebrate when they go "outside the lines" to get the job done. 

I suppose that's one of the things that makes director Bong such a brilliant filmmaker is how he shows us our own flawed notions of what is good or bad, reshapes them, and makes us reconsider our own beliefs and values. Also, he does it in a way that isn't in your face or didactic, you often don't even really realize what's going on until it's too late. This movie is also a prime example of how the director doesn't pull any punches and doesn't sugar coat anything. The events that took place in this story are horrific, again because they really happened, and Bong makes sure you understand that while also providing entertainment as cinema should.


The Verdict:
Memories of Murder is one of the highlights in a career filled with highlights and the story is one we should all be looking at as a cautionary tale because of how unfortunately timeless it is.


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