Memories Of Murder [DVD]
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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.
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That is all.
The bottom line is that if you've watched Korean films before you would feel at home with this one. To mix humour and drama is something that people that has never watched a Korean film will find weird or annoying. Just let yourself go, laugh if you feel like it, even if you feel is inappropriate.
Not the best example of Korean film making, but definitely worth a watch,and at that price you can't go wrong. Look out for the deleted scenes as well, you will find out a lot more about the true story behind the film and context.
I wouldn't recommend this film as a first Korean film to watch though.Go for Oldboy [DVD]  instead. Just don't look at the reviews first because some of them will spoil the film for you.
Starting in 1986, the film tells the story of an unscrupulous and brutal local provincial police officer Park Doo-man, who is investigating the murder of two young women, but has neither the resources nor experience to effectively tackle the case. He is joined by a more experienced detective from Seoul, Seo Tae-yoon. Their methods are, ahem, somewhat different, with Park first trying to fit up a young mentally disabled man, (until Seo points out that his physical disability would have made it impossible to have tied the knots associated with the murders). Eventually, following several more murders, the trail leads to a factory office worker who seems to fit the profile for the killer.......
The crimes themselves are not shown in any detail and the film focuses more on the characters and methods of the police involved in the enquiry.
------MAJOR SPOILERS! -------
"Memories of Murder", is based on the real and notorious first ever confirmed serial murder case in South Korea, where 10 women were raped and killed over a 5 year period around the provincial city of Hwaseong. A woman who survived an attack between the third and fourth victims was able to give the police a description, however, Although the police investigation was massive, with more than 20,000 potential suspects and witnesses interviewed, the case was never solved. The statute of limitations on the case expired in 2006, although the Hwaseong police department have kept the case open.
-----END OF SPOILERS---------
It is very well made, looks very good with a suitably downbeat feel and Song Kang-ho is very impressive as the provincial police officer.
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.
"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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