Do-jung (played by Bin Won) is a rather simple young man that is constantly finding himself in trouble because of his friendship with local small-time hoodlum Jin-tae (Ku Jin). One night, Do-jung follows a young girl home after a drunken night out. When her dead body shows up the next morning, the police sense an easy case and arrest Do-jung for the crime. Do-jung is unable to remember the night in question and unwittingly signs a confession sheet condemning him with the crime. At this point we follow his unnamed mother (Kim Hye-ja) as she goes to great lengths -some of which are unimaginable- in which to prove her sons' innocence.
Directed by Bong Joon-ho (who also wrote & directed 2003's masterpeice 'Memories Of Murder'), this is a wonderful character study of the love between a mother and her only son. The shocking nature of some of the scenes are interspersed with absurd, straight-faced humour which constantly gives the dark subject matter even more depth and humanity. The performances are superb throughout but special mention must go to Kim Hye-ja. She is simply sublime. Each scene she plays unto itself with little regard for what came before or of what is to come later, this is the sign of a pure actress giving a performance of genuine emotion & gravitas without ever succumbing to the histrionics that other, more well known actors, would surely provide.
This is as good a film as I've seen all year (and believe me, that is too many to count) and is proof along with the harrowing chinese war drama 'City Of Life And Death' that the asian film market is currently in great health.