There are films, then there are masterpieces. Films that will stand the test of time. Stories and images that you simply can never forget. This is Bong Joon Ho’s Memories of Murder, which has just been remastered! Based on the shocking true series of rapes and murders that shook a tiny Korean province in the 1980’s. The film is also a searing look at two policemen: one city cop (Inspector Suh – Sang-kyung Kim – What‘s with This Family) and one provincial cop (Inspector Park – Kang-ho Song – Parasite), who have two very different styles, but are both desperate to stop the murderer. I will keep this review spoiler free, but there is an answer to this case for those who care to search for it.
Synopsis Memories of Murder
In a small Korean province in 1986, two detectives struggle with the case of multiple young women being found raped and murdered by an unknown culprit.
The first time I saw this film was 16 years ago when my brother had first moved to South Korea. Through his Korean wife I learned about the historically less than stellar reputation of the Korean police. The local police in Memories of Murder are cops that will not hesitate to beat a confession out of a suspect, and make evidence work for the crime. They are not bad men, but they will do what they think is necessary to get the crime solved. Enter into the picture Detective Suh from Seoul, who is determined to solve the crime using facts and evidence. They all clash at first, but soon the group have no choice but to band together if they have any hope to catch the killer.
Memories of Murder, without a doubt, is Bong Joon Ho’s masterpiece. Parasite is an incredible film, but it’s hard to beat a film that manages to be a drama, crime procedural, buddy comedy and a thriller in one. It captures the lives and relationships of ordinary men who are desperate to stop a rapist and murderer. While at the time of it’s release in 2003 it did not receive a wide viewership in the United States, it would go on to be considered one of the best crime dramas ever, with deep, thoughtful characters, careful plotting, and twists and turns that will keep you guessing until the very end. What I especially loved is that each character is so achingly human. You will not agree with every choice they make, but you will understand their desperation.
Thankfully this important, gritty, thrilling, crime drama has been properly remastered and preserved for the future. And it’s about damned time. Memories of Murder is now available on VOD so be sure to check it out!