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Memories Of Murder [DVD]

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Memories Of Murder [DVD] + The Chaser [DVD] + A Bittersweet Life [2005] [DVD]
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Product details

  • Actors: Kang-Ho Song, Sang-Kyung Kim, Roe-ha Kim, Jae-Ho Song, Hie-Bong Byeon
  • Directors: Joon-Ho Bong
  • Producers: Seoung-Jae Cha
  • Format: PAL
  • Language: Korean
  • Subtitles: English
  • Region: Region 2 (This DVD may not be viewable outside Europe. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Classification: 15
  • Studio: Studiocanal
  • DVD Release Date: 24 Jan 2005
  • Run Time: 131 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (26 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B0002W12US
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 13,113 in DVD & Blu-ray (See Top 100 in DVD & Blu-ray)


South Korean crime thriller based on real events. In a small town outside Seoul, over the course of six years between 1986 and 1991, ten women were brutally raped and murdered within a 2-kilometre radius. The killer was indiscriminate in selecting his targets: the victims ranged from a 71-year-old grandmother to a 13-year-old schoolgirl. As time went on, the methods of the killer became bolder and more well-planned. Other than the victims, he left not a shred of evidence. Despite a police investigation involving over 300, 000 police officers and the interrogation of over 3, 000 suspects, no one was ever indicted for the crimes. The film, which has been compared to 'Silence of the Lambs' and 'Seven' for its powerful and unflinching depiction of a serial killer, has also been seen as a scathing political allegory for the state of Korea itself.

Customer Reviews

4.3 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

19 of 20 people found the following review helpful By Trevor Willsmer HALL OF FAMETOP 50 REVIEWER on 20 July 2005
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
Memories of Murder is the best film I've seen from Korea's 'new wave' so far. Inevitably marketed as a cop thriller, this story of the botched investigation into South Korea's first serial killer is much more of a character-driven drama. As the bodies mount up, the local cops are joined by a city cop, setting the scene for a clash between brute force - Kang-ho Song's local tortures suspects and plants evidence because that's the way things have always been done - and intellect - Sang-kyum Kim believes that documents never lie and relies more on tracing patterns.
To a degree, the narrative betrays a similar tension, with chases and beatings alternating with throwaway scenes highlighting the sheer incompetence of the investigation (the local police haven't bothered to read the forensic reports and they even try to frame the only witness, while they're unable to prevent more killings because the manpower they need is diverted to suppressing pro-democracy rallies). But it's not that simple: no sooner has one approach been finally been comprehensively disproved than the other is found equally lacking, and as no progress is made the detectives turn on each other and then themselves. It takes a while hitting its stride, but when it does it delivers some powerful blows, and the look of hopeless impotence on Kang-ho Song's face that ends the picture is the most haunting image I've seen on film this year.
The extras are fewer than on the Korean disc, but the deleted scenes are interesting. The disc I got had one minor glitch - when tryng to skip back a few seconds to catch the odd subtitle I missed, it would skip further back than desired for some reason - but it's not enough of a problem to avoid buying the film.
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21 of 24 people found the following review helpful By Dr. R. G. Bullock on 13 Feb 2007
Format: DVD
The film is set in a provincial Korean town surrounded by an arable, almost treeless landscape with distant hills. A number of women are murdered in a bizarre and sexual way and these are investigated by the local 'CID' consisting of two detectives who appear to be unaware of the proper procedures. The senior of the two is a great believer in getting suspects to look into his eyes and uses his intuition to determine their guilt - that, plus the planting of a bit of evidence helpful to his case. A real detective is brought in from Seoul, an intense young man who initially makes some sharp observations which make you think he is going to sort it out. The bucolic fuzziness gets to him as well and the three career on their investigation with almost unbelievable ineptitude. They fight, they burst into people's homes without showing their ID and generally terrorise witnesses, whether suspects or not.

Gradually the vaguely slap-stick feeling of the beginning darkens into something much more serious and powerful and the protagonists achieve some sort of self-knowledge. The heightening of the drama is emphasised by the use of darkened landscapes and an atmospheric score. There is a nice twist right at the end which skews your perspective on what has happened.

A minor irritation - why can't they get this right? - is the difficulty in reading the subtitles on a bright background. All they need is a grey, transparent box. There are some gruesome pictures of corpses but nothing worse than in "Waking the Dead" on TV.
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13 of 15 people found the following review helpful By radio atlantis on 26 Feb 2006
Format: DVD
what with the likes of 'oldboy' and the completely off-the-wall 'save the green planet' korean cinema is carving a niche for itself. 'memories...' shows two rural detectives as they attempt to catch a serial killer, soon to be joined by another from the city. the inevitable clash of styles quickly becomes apparent, but soon we see that nothing seems to be turning up results leading to frustration from all involved and the inevitably ludicrous theories (baldies, anyone?). mixed in with the tension is a rich vein of humour as frame-ups are attempted. also loved the second cop's intro - a nice guy but can get upset at times.
this film says a lot about korea at that time as investigations are foiled by lack of backup (they're suppressing a pro-democrary rally, and we see one of the local cops in action at one themselves). tragic and blackly comic, a great film (though i have have dvd glitches too)
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Andy B on 26 April 2010
Format: DVD
After a series of rapes and murders in a small town in South Korea the local detectives bungle crucial evidence and their tack is taken over by A more competent Seoul Detective. The film has a high degree of unease but the gruesome images are also balanced by a devilish sense of dark humour. Song Kang-ho the lead actor in the film went onto star in the south Korean blockbuster The Host and more recently in "Thirst". Get your hands on this film it's a milestone in Asian cinema.

From Wikipedia

"Memories of was the second feature film directed by Bong Joon-ho, following his 2000 debut film Barking Dogs Never Bite. The screenplay was adapted by Bong and Shim Sung-bo from Kim Kwang-rim's 1996 stage play about the same subject. Song Kang-ho and Kim Sang-kyung star as two of the detectives trying to solve the crimes.

The film won the South Korean film industry's 2003 Grand Bell Award for best film, while Bong Joon-ho and Song Kang-ho won the awards for best director and best leading actor respectively.

While a total body count was never mentioned in the film, a total of 10 similar murders were committed in the Hwaseong area between October 1986 and April 1991. Over 300,000 policemen took part in the investigation and over 3,000 suspects were interrogated."
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