Korean Movie Review – Memories of Murder.
Wow! It has been almost 7 months since I have watched or reviewed a Korean movie! Our last review was back in December when I watched Peninsula: Train To Busan II. I just have not watched that many movies lately, something I should probably change! This month we will be reviewing an older film called Memories of Murder, which was based on South Korea’s first serial killings which took place between in Hwaesong 1986 and 1991. We will not go into the details of the real case in this blog, If you are interested there is plenty of material to dig up an dissect on the internet. So let’s get started.
Memories of Murder was co-written and directed by Bong Joon-ho (Parasite), his second after Barking Dogs Never Bite. It stars Kang Sang-Ho (Joint Security Area, parasite) and Kim, Sang-kyung. As detectives with the Korean National Police investigating a string of murders in the rural farming community. The victims are all found to have been raped and murdered after being bound, gagged, and then strangled with an item of their own clothing. No evidence is left by the suspect and it soon apparent the detectives are faced with something never before seen in Korea.
It is apparent during the opening scene that the rural police are so far over their heads that there is little chance the police will be able to catch the perpetrator. Dong Ik (Kim, Sang-kyung), from the Seoul Metrpolitcan branch volunteers to assist the local detectives solve the case. Detective Ki Tek mistakes the new arrival as a local villager or a possible suspect contaminating the crime scene, and a swift drop kick immediately sets up a power struggle between the two.
As the two detectives use diametrically opposite investigative methods. Detective Kang using a more fly by the seat of your pants, style often so caught up in his own ego, that he boasts he can tell if a suspect is guilty just by looking in their eyes, to more paranormal methods, such as utilizing a fortune teller. When all else fails the country cops can just coerce or beat a confession out of their suspects, thus closing the case. Seoul detective Dong Ik uses a more methodical and scientific approach to his detective work, quickly eliminating all of the suspects the local police bring in and get confessions from.
The film does a good job of creating a perfect environment for the killer to literally get away with murder, from the brutally inefficient functioning of government under an autocratic rule, pulling valuable resources away from the investigation to deal with anti-government protests. To the blackout and lockdowns during civil defense drills. Added to the chaotic environment the natural disgust and distrust of the population to the Korean Police force, It wasn’t so much the killer possessed supernatural intelligence to get away with his crimes, but the government and police force itself was working against the very people trying to establish law and order.
If you are looking for a good thriller based on a real-life event, I highly recommend Memories of Murder, it is fast paced, with enough twists to keep you on the edge or your seat. Though there are some scenes that will make your skin crawl this just adds to the enjoyment.
I would suggest not reading anything about the real Hwaseon murders until you have watched the film, at the time of the release of the film the case was still in an open but cold status which adds a certain emotional punch to the ending of the film
If you watch Memories of Murder, or have seen the film. Please stop by our forums and share your thoughts on the film. Click here to go directly to the post.
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