Memories of Murder (2003)
December 30, 2019 8:50 AM - Subscribe

1986 Gyunggi Province. The body of a young woman is found brutally raped and murdered. Two months later, a series of rapes and murders commences under similar circumstances. And in a country that had never known such crimes, the dark whispers about a serial murderer grow louder. A special task force is set up in the area, with two local detectives Park Doo-Man and Jo Young-Goo joined by a detective from Seoul who requested to be assigned to the case.
posted by ruben (6 comments total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
From wikipedia:
As in the film, at the time of its release, the actual murderer had not yet been caught. As the case was growing closer to reaching the statute of limitations, South Korea's leading Uri Party sought to amend the law to give the prosecutors more time to find the murderer. However, in 2006, the statute of limitations was reached for the last-known victim. More than 13 years later, on 18 September 2019, police announced that a man in his 50s, Lee Choon-jae, had been identified as a suspect in the killings. He was identified after DNA from the underwear of one of the victims was matched with his, and subsequent evidence linked him to four of the nine unsolved murders. At the time he was identified he was already serving a life sentence at a prison in Busan for the rape and murder of his sister-in-law.
posted by ruben at 8:55 AM on December 30, 2019 [1 favorite]

Saw this more than a decade ago. Gripping.

I still recollect the last scene. But in light of recent real-life developments, does it still work?
posted by Gyan at 11:25 AM on December 30, 2019

This is an excellent film. Bong Joon-Ho has such a spectacular understanding of tone in storytelling.

I remember noticing how this movie seems to have a weird, ever-present sense of humor in its subtle ironies, rhythm, and little reversals of expectation, but doesn't cross the line into what you'd call "comic relief." It's not even levity really, the film builds in tension with these things, but I read a lot of scenes and character exchanges as being sort-of-jokes in structure. Horror and comedy have a really strong relationship in that way, I think - Jordan Peele uses a similar kind of language. It's really effective.

The photography is also brilliant. So lush and gloomy. It's been years since I watched it and I remember some of the environments vividly.
posted by Phobos the Space Potato at 12:01 PM on December 31, 2019 [3 favorites]

The thing that really struck me about this film was the sense of time and place. We see a lot of Seoul in Korean cinema, late 80s semi-rural Korea less so.

My understanding is that while industrially Korea exploded after the 60s, rural areas and other things took much longer to modernize, for example the fact that they have to ship DNA evidence all the way to a US lab in the film. As an American viewer, you end up with a feeling of a place that is entirely of its time, yet somehow anachronistic.
posted by JauntyFedora at 2:09 AM on January 2, 2020 [2 favorites]

I remember noticing how this movie seems to have a weird, ever-present sense of humor in its subtle ironies, rhythm, and little reversals of expectation, but doesn't cross the line into what you'd call "comic relief.

I think it's more that the movie starts out somewhat light and vaguely humorous as the detectives first start out investigating the case in the "rural backwater", as if the location and the sense of it being out-of-date came with a sense of lesser importance to them that slowly faded as the film went on and the extent and manner of the crimes and the elusiveness of the murderer became more apparent. It gives the movie a feel of growing dread and some sense of there being something more involved than can be readily seen. It seems a comment on Korea and its modernization in that way as much as a crime drama.
posted by gusottertrout at 2:58 AM on January 2, 2020

So I rewatched this last night. It's really an amazing film.
posted by miss-lapin at 1:37 AM on January 5

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