Memories Of Murder

Memories Of Murder

***

Reviewed by: Angus Wolfe Murray

This would be hilarious, if it wasn't so unsettling. The basic premise is that cops nominate the perpetrator of a crime and then beat a confession out of them.

Nothing new in that, I hear you cry, and since this is a South Korean film, it would be easy to dismiss it as a local custom, if it wasn't for Gutanamo Bay and other Western abuses of human rights.

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A dead girl is found in a field drain and the policeman in charge of investigating the crime, which may be the work of a serial killer, is a palpable fool, with a partner whose only means of communication appears to be a flying kick to the chest. Later, these two are joined by a more experienced detective, who hardly speaks.

At first, they pick on a village idiot, with the mental age of a child, and when that doesn't work, pick on someone else and then someone else. The cops haven't a clue, of course, and that's the joke, but in order to hide their inadequacy, they shout a lot and behave like bullies, which is not so funny.

The film is well made and the humour delicately balanced between corruption and farce. If you can imagine Shiri as a comedy, you are half way there, except it is never entirely without its serious side.

Ultimately, director Bong joon-ho deserves praise for treading a fine line and never losing the plot.

Reviewed on: 13 Aug 2004
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Foolish cops investigate South Korean serial killer.
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Director: Bong Joon-ho

Writer: Bong Joon-ho, Kim kwang-rim

Starring: Song kang-ho, Kim sang-kyung, Kim roe-ha, Song jae-ho, Byeon hie-bong, Ko seo-hie

Year: 2003

Runtime: 129 minutes

BBFC: 15 - Age Restricted

Country: South Korea

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