(2003) dir. Joon-ho Bong
Until earlier this year, I don’t know if I’d ever seen a Korean film before. Now I have been on a bit of a Korean film bender. Memories of Murder was recommended and loaned to me by some friends. I guess that it had been a huge film in Korea as it is based on a notorious series of serial killings in a small-town in the 1980’s.
The film is a weird mixture of drama and comedy, with the bungling local cops tromping all over clues and the crime scene, people sliding down hills, and police brutality that is so over the top that it is comedic. All said, the comedy is couched in an overall somber mood. Director Joon-ho Bong uses long shots of the countryside to set some of the pacing, and as the murderer only strikes in rainstorms, there is a physical darkness as well.
There seems to be some cultural references to events of the period, riots, etc. that I don’t really have any ability to understand. This seems in some ways to comment upon the period of its setting.
The character of Detective Park, the main detective from the town, seems to be the location of perspective. He doesn’t know what to make of things. He tries to solve things with hackneyed coerced confessions and planted evidence. The corruption is taken at such face value that it seems instilled.
It’s an interesting film.