Friday, February 12, 2010

tm Does the QT 20 Part 17: Memories of a Murder

Memories of Murder (aka Salinui chueok; dir. Joon-ho Bong - 2003)

Despite the Hallmark/gotta be a rom-com, title, this is a very good movie.

Taking place in small-town South Korea, there’s a serial killer loose. The local cops are unable to solve it and public pressure is mounting; they are generally more inclined to force/beat confessions out of suspects so early confessions turn out to be deadends. A cop from Seoul arrives to help with the case; he’s not a fan of the rough justice of his new partners and they’re unhappy being saddled with an outsider.

The dichotomies are there – good cop/bad cop, city cop/country cop, solving the case by pounding the pavement or using your head, etc. but the movie never polarizes the characters. The main cops are nuanced and neither one is being set up as a straw man for the audience’s sympathies.

This director also did The Host and shares many actors with that movie. Memories has some genuinely chilling scenes but not sensationalized. It doesn’t answer all the questions that it poses about the characters, motivations, etc. but those that it does, it lets them unfold.

tm sez: 8/10

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