George Clark’s review published on Letterboxd:
2003's South Korean crime drama, co-written and directed by Bong Joon-ho, Memories of Murder (살인의 추억), starring Kang-ho Song, Kim Sang-kyung, Roe-ha Kim and Park Hae-il, follows two detectives in 1986 as they struggle with the case of multiple young women being found raped and murdered by an unknown culprit in a small Korean province.
David Fincher saw this and said, "It's great, but can we make it American?", sorry Fincher "Zodiac" is great...but Memories of Murder is better.
There's a strong message coming from the UK at the moment regarding people not feeling safe when they walk home alone. It's quite disheartening and frankly shameful that, as a nation, we still have this going on. The torment and danger one must feel is horrible and at the end of the day, we must do more to make others feel safer.
Now what makes me bring up this point, it doesn't relate to the film right? Well of course it does, why else would I have said it (duh). Memories of Murder showcases this feeling perfectly. The glimpses of the crimes that occur are both shocking and disheartening, showing the genuine terror that can come with a situation like this. The film itself is a powerful, slow-burning portrait of human fallibility. You see the detectives make mistakes that may or may not have led to more murders and that ways heavy on the audience, it shows just how fragile one mistake can be when in regard to a life. It's a great satire of official laxity and arrogance and with its final scene proving chilling to say the least.
The film is incredible. A haunting score and beautiful cinematography by Kim Hyung-gu round out the achievements of this unique and engaging Korean thriller perfectly. How the hell does a film this tonally out there, with characters this slow and at times even cruel and hateful, manage to be so indescribably moving? They grab the audience from the first scene and leave them on edge with its last, paralleled to perfection. The acting on show from the three detectives Kang-ho Song, Kim Sang-kyung, and Roe-ha Kim is brilliant, elevating every situation while building suspense throughout. The film's storytelling strategy is unique and its point-of-view quite variable and disarmingly subjective. It's a real murder mystery, one that I loved and one that'll sicken you to your core. Elaina, you picked a masterpiece!
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