Memories of Murder

Memories of Murder ★★★★½

A deeply human meditation on justice and victimization in modern society, and a clear demonstration of Bong's mastery of tone. Based on actual police reports, the film highlights this clinical nature of reenactment while simultaneously managing to be deeply emotional by focusing on the humanity behind the investigation, the frustration of the detectives and their blatant inability to find the culprit clashing with their dishonesty and skewed view of justice as a public facade rather than legitimate culpability.

There is a unique accessibility to Song Kang-ho, and in fact Korean actors in general, that they seem to be people first, actors by choice, and stars only due to people deeming them so. This human factor plays a huge part in Memories of Murder, as despite the immense exasperation we feel towards the characters and their frankly dangerous stupidity, we also sympathize with their mounting frustration. Bong is an absolute master of balancing the seemingly incompatible, always creating a carefully nuanced experience.

Siegel liked these reviews