movies, music and everything else

This blog is about pretty much what the title implies... movies, music and everything else.

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Friday, February 10, 2006


January and February seem to be a great time to catch up on movies from the previous year that you didn’t have time for. This year is no exception. With the current release of THE PINK PANTHER and UNDERWORLD 2, what a better way to spend the evening than watching good movies from the year that was…

MEMORIES OF MURDER is yet another in a list that is getting longer of great Korean films. This is a story of a serial killer in a small town outside of Seoul. A man kills young attractive women. He does this when it rains and there seems to be a link to a song that plays on the radio. A pair of detectives track down this murderer.

This might not sound much different than what you have seen a hundred times before, but it is. Joon-ho Bong (director/co-writer) brings freshness to the stale story of a serial killer. He does not do it by trying to create the “perfect” killer, or have him kill in unique ways, but he creates really interesting people in the two detectives that are tracking down this hunter of women.

Detective Park (Kang-ho Song) is a good man and really wants to be a great detective. In his mind, he already is. He is convinced that he can spot the guilt in a man simply by looking in his eyes. It is a gift. A gift, unfortunately, he really does not possess. In actuality, he is a terrible detective. Once convinced of a suspect’s guilt, he will beat them until they confess, plant evidence (amateurishly), and do this with a clear conscious. He is sure of their guilt and will do what ever is necessary to ensure their conviction. But, with this killer, he is going to need more help…

This help comes in the form of Detective Seo (Sang-kyung Kim), a by the book detective from Seoul. As Detective Seo often says, “Documents never lie.” He is a smart man who is guided by the clues and the facts and is good at what he does. He is the opposite of Detective Park. Disgusted by the methods of the small town police, he takes over the investigation, but has trouble generating results.

After a series of lucky breaks, they are led to a man who must be the killer… or is he?

This is a great look at what drives a person and what is right and wrong. Where is the line and when (if at all) is it okay to cross it? The character of Park was irritating to me for the first potion of the movie and I almost gave up on the film. Thankfully, I stuck it out. He is a terrible cop, bumbling through crime scenes as if his only training was from watching bad crime movies. His methods are always the same… find a suspect, look in his eyes, decide his guilt, beat him until he confesses, then plant evidence to ensure a conviction.

I know that I say he beats people until they confess, and you think that he is a bad man, but think about it. If you were sure that a person was a killer and thought he was going to get away with it, what would you do? Would you let the rules and ethics get in the way and risk the chance of letting a murderer free to kill again? The answer seems simple, but this movie gets into what price it takes on a person to make the “right” choice. There is no easy answer. There is no right choice.

The look of MEMORIES OF MURDER is absolutely beautiful. There is a stark contrast and colors that I find common with most of the Korean films that are emerging. This, along with LADY VENGEANCE, are two of the best shot films out there. There is a mood created by Bong that can be compared to great movies like SE7EN and SILENCE OF THE LAMBS. The rain is threatening and ominous. We know, as do the detectives, that rain equals death in this small town. There is always a sense of urgency. The mood is set up so that in order to create tension, all we need to see is a drop of water falling from the sky. This film is really well handled. Once it takes hold of you, it never lets go and it will stay with you for days after.

There is a warning on the cover of the DVD, but this is not a graphic film, it just feels like one. It takes hold of you and forces you into this world, where you wait with the detectives and hope for something to come and stop this killer. I strongly recommend renting this film. I wish that I had seen MEMORIES OF MURDER before I made my “best of the year” list… it would have been on it for sure.


Anonymous download free movies said...

Great Reviews ! Thanks for sharing with us ! I was thinking of watching this film from long time but didn't get any chance due to my hectic schedule. I can't wait more..certainly go for it.

5:07 AM  

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