Friday, May 16, 2014

Review: Memories of Murder (2003)

Memories of Murder (Review)
Bong Joon-ho/Song Kang-ho/2003
Where To Watch:
Netflix Streaming
Amazon Prime 

"...the best Korean movie of all time..."

Detective Park Doo-man (Song Kang-ho) and Detective Seo Tae-yoon (Kim Sang-kyung) attempt to solve a string of murders in the boondocks...

Memories of Murder begins in October 1986 when a young woman is found raped and murdered, and Detective Park begins investigating – as a small town detective, the crime is overwhelming. Soon thereafter, Detective Seo arrives from Seoul to help in the investigations. Slowly but surely, the pair, along with several other investigators, begin to piece together and connect the crimes. However, the criminal is extremely intelligent and sophisticated, and the lack of resources make the investigation much more difficult. Memories of Murder breaks procedural ground to create a groundbreaking murder mystery that leads to an ominous, unforgettable ending.

Memories of Murder is an incredible murder mystery film. The story is what you would expect from a crime-drama, but the execution really sets it apart. The story really kept me hooked – I was there with my notepad actively participating in the mystery – remembering every name, location and date just to keep up. The realistic investigations – which may be seen as incompetent, but authentic for the time – blends well with the complex characters. Two arrogant yet completely different personalities clashing during the investigation – one using instinct, the other relying on knowledge. Both of these characters develop very well throughout the film. Furthermore, the film is drenched in some black humor – a film that had me laughing a few times, and smirking very often.

Song Kang-ho is superb. I've said it before, Kang-ho really gives it his all during his performances, and this one is no different; he gives the character so much life, it's almost unbelievable. Kim Sang-kyung is also great, although he displays a different type of energy. The cast is superb, all in all. The film is shot beautifully; the cinematography is stunning, and the camerawork is magnificent. The music is also fantastic; it's one of my favorite film soundtracks of all time. Bong Joon-ho's direction is creative and consistent; the film moves at a fluid pace, and breaks many conventions that still appear today.

Overall, Memories of Murder is superb. It's a masterpiece. In fact Memories of Murder is the best Korean movie of all time, and it just might be my favorite film of all time, regardless of region. If you're fan of the genre, if you're fan of movies, you cannot miss Memories of Murder.

Score: 10/10
Parental Guide: Some violence and blood, graphic images of corpses, and some sex and nudity.

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