Memories of Murder         review by Bobby Blakey

Before taking the Oscars by storm with the film Parasite, director Bong Joon Ho and leading man Song Kang Ho teamed up for the crime thriller Memories of Murder. Loosely based off a true story the film has been rereleased seventeen years after its initial release, and a year after the real culprit was identified. Could this first collaboration between Bong Joon Ho and Song Kang Ho hold up or will it be a case not worth solving?

 

Memories of Murder follows the harrowing true story of the hunt for a sadistic serial rapist and murderer terrorizing a small province in 1980s South Korea where the paths of three increasingly desperate detectives cross as they attempt to decipher the violent mind of a killer in a futile effort to solve the case.

 

Not only had I never seen this film, I had never heard of it. I am so glad they are getting this film a new release to the masses because it is a pure masterpiece. Despite it being early in their careers you can see from this film alone that these two guys were something special together and they have been killing it ever since. The film is a slow paced thriller that plays up more of a character study of everyone involved in a realistic way that is both engaging and often infuriating.

 

Everyone here is so good with Song Kang Ho leading the charge. There is tons of emotion and insanity throughout as the obsession takes over all those trying to solve the case. What is more interesting is the lack of really ever seeing the killer commit any crimes. It keeps your mind wandering and interested like the detectives keeping both the viewer and actors in the same state. This plays up right up until the last shot of the movie that if you get it is so powerful.

 

As mentioned above this comes on the anniversary of the real killer identified thus you might get the idea where this film goes but that final shot is everything. The visuals, the performances, the tension, the mystery and everything inbetween is perfection. This is not only a great film, but a lesson in filmmaking that hopefully will find a new audience with this latest release.

 

I don’t want to give up anything else here so just check out Memories of Murder that had a cool two night run earlier this month through Fathom Events, but is available now on VOD from NEON.

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