If you are a huge fan of David Fincher’s Zodiac, Bong Joon Ho’sMemories of Murder will blow you away. This 2003 South Korean suspense thriller, centers around two detectives trying to track down serial murders in a small town in Gyeong-Gi province, south of Seoul.
This a film where you will find no uniformed officers, photographers, forensic experts or gadget-equipped super cops. Don’t be surprised. The film opens with the discovery of the first victim, a woman, in a ditch. The victim’s hands are bound behind her back and her neck has marks of strangulation. The rest of the film follows how two local detectives, Park Doo Man (Song Kang-ho) and Detective Seo Tae-Yoon (Kim Rwe-ha), as they try to decode the complex murders that follow one after another.
The film radiates with mystery, distress and tension. The specialty of this film is the unpredictability of plot twists. As you watch the film, you might feel that you know who the killer is. But then after few minutes, you are left wondering. Unlike most dark thrillers, Memories of Murder is lined with fine humor. But behind all the hijinks, there lurks a sense of despair and fear.
As the story develops, Park Doo Man and Seo Tae-Yoon- subtly swap their investigative tactics in the film. If compared, Park Doo Man is more of an old-school detective whereas his rival Seo Tae belives in strong evidence. His methods are intricate and innovative, unlike Doo Man. It is interesting to watch how the two main characters, eventually come together. Perhaps, due to the growing desperation and agitation of the unsolved murders.
Just like David Fincher’s Zodiac, Memories of Murder isn’t merely a telling of facts about a serial killer, but it is chronicling of a brilliant police investigation, sans the glamour. It breaks open frame by frame with flair and detail. The shots are impressive. The musty alleys, the dark tunnels and the sleepy neighborhood enhances the plot, and provides the film with an unsettling backdrop that emphasizes the killer and his crimes.
Why should you watch the film?
If you love a good old-school detective movie, Bong Joon Ho’s Memories of Murder is an absolute must-watch. This a film is a cliffhanger right up to the credits. Joon Ho delivers a fine thriller with just the perfect amount of thrill, suspense and humor.