Friday, February 24, 2012

Memories of Murder by Joon-ho Bong

The time has come for me to turn to South-Korean cinematographers, because most of the things worth seeing from the beginning of the 21. century come from this small Asian country. Before seeing this masterpiece, I've had a unique pleasure of seeing just a couple of Korean films, like Old Boy, Sympathy for Lady Vengeance, Sympathy for Mr. Vengeance (all 3 by Park Chan Wook), Silmido, Brotherhood of War... Koreans had me at Old Boy, but I wasn't quite sure what to expect from this one. It was highly rated, as well as Old Boy, it was Korean, as well as Old Boy, it was a thriller, as well as Old Boy... I was afraid I'd be too much like (if I mention the name of that film again I will slap myself) the other Korean thriller that I liked.

Boy, was I wrong. The only thing my previous experience with Koreans has in common with "Memories" was the fact it was in Korean. Oh, yeah, it was also surreally awesome. I don't like to use the term "awesome", but that is the only word that can describe what I've seen. One can see a number of influences, but also a kind of uniqueness, that gives this masterpiece the timeless value. Everything just seems natural, but not too natural. Everything is believable, but yet entertaining in a way, but also thrilling and a bit scary. I've never seen any director play with emotions and switch between genres so swiftly and effectivly. It takes a high amount of talent and hard work to make this the way it turned out. It's like there are three different movies, all of which with a different message, motive and idea behind it. One does not feel that any part of the film shouldn't be there, even tho segments defer a whole lot.

The story revolves around series of murders that take place in a province of Gyanggi in 1986. . Two local cops are on the case, but their stupidity and primitive ways show no results in finding the killer. The killer rapes his victims and leaves them tied, with underwear in their mouth and most of all... dead. New cop arrives from Seoul to work on the case. He also attempts to return order to the local police station, which is runned by fools. This is where the rollercoaster ride starts. One never knows what's gonna happen next or what's gonna follow. A highly dramatic scene is followed by a humorous scene with stupid cops, trying to get to justice using their idiotic ways and etc. The characters are quite colorful. They're all very different and their role in the case changes through the film, but the transformations are believable and sometimes even funny. They're all masterfully played by Korean actors (i'm not gonna be an asshole and lie about how I've known of them before seeing this film).

This film isn't really easy to spoil, but people who go ahead and spoil this film for someone should be sent to jail before any form of trial takes place. I'm sure I haven't ever seen this kind of movie before, with this kind mixture of genres. It's a lot like some Asian dishes, with all sorts of sauces, that makes food sweet, salty, hot and bitter at the same time. But the result is lovely and totally worth checking out and reseeing it at least once a year, just so that you can tell that the shit Hollywood is feeding us with is really what it smells and seems like. Leave your predjudices behind and dive into the ocean of Korean filmmaking. You won't regret it for one second.

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