Memories of Murder (South Korea; 129 min.)

directed by: Joon-ho Bong
starring: Kang-ho Song; Sang-kyung Kim; Roe-ha Kim
Salinui chueok
Michael says: "This challenging film of the misuse of power by the police during a dictatorial regime is further proof of the rise in the Korean film industry. In 1986 a small village in South Korea was plagued by its first serial killer. MEMORIES OF MURDER takes a harsh look at the investigation by local police and a detective sent in from Seoul in an effort to solve this series of crimes.

"After two young women are raped and murdered with chilling similarity, the police force in rural Gyeong-gi province are eager to solve the crime. The films starts out with comic buffoonery as the police, ill-equipped to handle the crime, are helpless to keep villagers from trampling over the scene, and at a loss at how to solve it. The methods they employ lead them to suspects who are far from likely, yet by brutal inquisitions and torture, they force the confessions the need. The detective from Seoul, whose principals and methods are more lofty, put a stop to the random flailing about, but as the murders continue, they prove to be just as ineffective. Frustrations rise and in a shocking climax, the viewers become as hopelessly lost as the police.

"In only his second directorial effort, Joon-ho Bong crafts an engrossing police procedural that also frustrates and enrages with its portrait of a society whose politics prevent an effective investigation from being launched. Visuals are underscored by some great camerawork and lighting of cinematographer Hyeong-gyu Kim. Lead actor Kang-ho Song delivers a strong performance that veers from silly ineptitude to cruelty and misuse to power, to a helpless understanding of the ways of the dictatorial regime. 4 cats"