There are some untold questions as it appeared to be rushed at first, but later it maintains its pace perfectly.
Memories of Murder
Joon-ho Bong has pulled off a sensational 120 minutes of a film that you just can’t afford to miss. With mystery, distress and tension, Memories of Murder, comes close to being one of the finest foreign thrillers that I’ve got my hands upon in recent years. It’d be a shame to put down a film such as this, only because it brings in so many bags of savour along with it.
There are a few scenes initially that need to be critically forgiven, only because it needed to be dealt with in order for the film to mould itself up together. I was skeptical at first, but the film ended up giving me little to pick on after the beginning. With Joon-ho Bong’s films, there’s more than just a regular site to cinema that you’ll come across – there’s so much that you would get to learn. Take The Host in consideration as well; both these films were proudly portrayed to their masses and delivered beautifully because of the subtlety in their tone and overall presentation. The film is gifted with darkness, heavy rain, the musk and cinematic representations of its Polaroid beauty. This may have nothing to do with the film, but completes the atmosphere and depicts its true personality.
As an audience, there’s a tendency for us to get puzzled with the way in which the film would be heading. There are some untold questions as it appeared to be rushed at first, but later it maintains its pace perfectly. I still didn’t understand why Det. Seo Tae-Yoon (Sang-kyung Kim) visited the crime scene in the first place or why the killer played his cards in the way in which he did. There’s a difference in the way in which this thriller presents itself. It draws its chapters working its way through the investigation rather than the psyche of the killer. You wouldn’t ever understand why the killings dress themselves in the way in which they do, the highly unusual M.O. or as to why it all started in the first place. Memories of Murder connects itself differently, through observations, guess work, and the obvious trail of links; yet, managing to break open with style, timing and flair.
With music by Tarō Iwashiro, there isn’t much that you’ll remember really – which surprisingly drives as a high positive for the film. Musical appearances were only brought around when required and were left alone in silence when it wasn’t called for. Dialogues were given its priorities (correctly) and the OST timed itself to follow up a rush of a heart beat from time to time. As rightly known by us all, certain volumes of tension are greatly deserved in order for a thriller (or a mystery) film to perform. The film begins to unfold its ways towards this direction only after the first real murder takes place outside the factory. It proves its strength thereafter and maintains a promising delivery.
Memories of Murder is rightly benefited by Kang-ho Song’s performance. I’ve seen him play his part in a few films in recent years and I could see a drastic difference to his later films (along with the unchanged company of Joon-ho Bong). There’s life and sincerity present in his efforts along with his gentle naïve nature to please his own humble inflated ego. Det. Park’s character couldn’t have been altered in any other way to suit the film’s needs. I was highly overwhelmed by the consistency in the journey of Det. Seo’s individual personality. You wouldn’t have realized the pattern in transformation that was headed by principles and morals (at first) followed up by a boundless effort towards the case that finally led to frustration, grief and the eagerness to catch the suspect at whatever cost. It seemed as if the two detectives managed to switch their identities towards the end of the film; wonderful to observe the narrow path of change.
I was quite unhappy to learn from the start (as the credits rolled up my screen) about the way in which Memories of Murder would come to end. I wouldn’t want to spoil it any further for you, but it could have had a heavier impact had the filmmaker not announce the most crucial detail of the film before the film had even got a chance to play its first few cards. Not only does Joon-ho Bong have the vision to grasp the non-linear techniques in filmmaking, he also has the knack to deliver a diverse and a fresh style to a thriller experience.