Based on an actual crime case, Memories of Murder takes place in 1986 South Korea as two small town cops and a special detective from Seoul try to solve a string of serial murders and rapes in the province of Gyunggi.
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Bong's powerhouse directing and unique tone really come alive in this film, juxtaposing the absolute emptiness in the doomed search for a killer (and their own identity) with the humor of the quiet moments. In the process, there's a sense we're watching a truly epic journey, both all-consuming and timeless. Truly, a great film.
Masterfully told, full of humor and dread, this movie is quite an accomplishment. It's based on a true story. There is a Statute of Limitations on murder in Korea, which has passed. Quite tragic. Also tragic is not having modern equipment to analyze DNA.
A Masterpiece, plain and simple. Atmospheric, tense and brutal, but also manages to tread black humour in there. I particularly love the quick-loud style, with moments of dead silence, and then quick, explosive moments of activity. You can just feel the fog of ambiguity running through.
Even better than its accidental Western companion piece, Zodiac, MoM is one of the most ambitious works of popular narrative in the last 20 years: from its tonal evolution that mirrors the characters' intro to "evil", the expressive switching of perspectives, its implicit capturing of an era's confusion, & one of the most convincing & involving depictions of man's confrontation with the void—and therefore himself.
I thought it was solid. I did especially enjoy the ending, including the final moments as well as the final 15 minutes or so. Whereas other comments below say that the atmosphere was "tense", I never picked up on that particular vibe. In fact, the film felt more or less goofy to me, but eventually revived itself.
did i ever write that this is like, one of the great serial killer movies ever? that i have seriously tried my hardest to get everyone i know to watch it at least once because it's sooooooo good. it has amazing acting, cinematography, story line, character development..you should see it. you should. you should see it.