Back with another edition, with everything Hallyu , this time it’s a movie that should be familiar to many. Extremely popular, it’s a film that has been watched by people who are not that familiar with Korean films as it is. I once saw a review of it, in the local newspaper here. I was surprised by how a review of a Korean film came about in a newspaper that often cites just Indian or maybe English films. I happened to have a friend who also suggested and gave me this film, to watch and I didn’t regret. So here’s my take on ‘Memories of Murder’
Country of origin: South Korea
Directed by : Bong Joon Ho
Written by: Bong Joon Ho, Shim Sung Bo
Based on : Memories of Murder by Kim Kwang Rim
Starring: Song Kang Ho, Kim Sang Kyung, Kim Roi Ha, Park Hae Il, Byun Hee Bong
Music: Tarō Iwashiro
Released: 2 May 2003
Duration: 127 minutes
Genre : Mystery, Serial Killer, Detective
Local detective Park Doo Man is found to be in a fix, as he has two murder cases assigned to him. Unlike the small cases that are usually handed to him, this time it’s the murder of two women, who were raped and their bodies abandoned in two fields. He is finding it hard to execute the investigation, as the crime scene was destroyed and walked upon by the villagers, and there is zero presence of any sort of scientific or forensic technology. He insists that he can find culprits by ‘eye contact’ and corners a mentally handicapped boy Baek Kwang Ho. He and his colleague beat a confession out of the boy on the murders.
This is when Seo Tae Yoon, a detective from Seoul arrives. Unlike the unconventional methods followed by Doo Man, he follows a more scientific approach, to get the victim. Doo Man and Tae Yoon constantly fight with each other on who the murderer is. But eventually they both realize they have a serial killer at their hands, who is extremely dangerous. The movie then tells the story of how they both try to catch the killer, with the very limited resources they have.
This movie is actually based on Korea’s first serial murder cases in history, with the actual detectives chosen as the protagonists. What starts as a what may be deemed a ‘normal’ crime film , turns into an eerie , chill-to-the-bones serial killer.
What made this film more interesting to me was also the situation and the circumstances on which it was built. Such a slack kind of murder with evidences strewn everywhere , were to happen let’s say today, the criminal could be caught so fast, what with the kind of technology we have today. But things like that were not taken seriously in a village like that. You could literally see curious kids running all over the crime scene, and even the way evidence was collected by officials were not proper. This just made it intensely hard for the case to be solved. Because of this, the detectives, amidst their arguments had to find some certainly unconventional but surprising patterns to how the serial killer works.
There were many instances, when we thought we landed on the killer but it just turned out to be some equally stranger villager doing something else.
All in all, it’s how the film wrapped up, which made the icing on the cake. Till then what could be perceived as exciting and entertaining, just takes a huge turn and let’s the movie end, with our hearts racing.
The actors excelled in their roles, they are characters that you won’t forget that easily. Not just the leads, but all the supporting characters as well. The village setting were totally understandable. For a time and place who do not understand the seriousness of serial killers, crime scenes, it fitted along very well.
And that is what in my opinion, makes this film just so worthy to be one the best crime films I have watched especially in the non-English category. Realizing that this was also worked on around a real story makes it even better.
For the kind of people who want a serious, well made and excellent crime-film, this one is for you.