Memories of Murder ★★★★

Directed by the respected Joon-ho Bong and starring the well known Song Kang-ho, this is a South Korean film based loosely on Koreas first known serial killings back in 1986. Though no body count is mentioned in this movie, the amount of murders in real life amounted to 10 and happened between 86 and 91.

Anyhow, the film follows detectives Park Doo-Man and Cho Yong-koo, who are seemingly lacking in IQ, and have a rather brutal way of dealing with suspects. Their investigations into the serial killings don't go particularly well, and a third detective, Seo Tae-Yoon from Seoul, comes to help. After further deaths the detectives start to find more leads...

Thought this was a really good film and was extremely suspenseful and dark with plenty of dollops of humour throughout. Where the film really excelled though was in the character development that resulted in a bunch of well fleshed out, three dimensional people who you genuinely cared about and believed in their actions. The mood of the film was also slowly built with a steady but effective tempo throughout and, all this combined, demonstrated the proficiency of the director. Add to this a marvelous and rich score, and some great cinematography - especially out in the paddy fields - and we have the result, which is an emotionally and psychologically rich police procedural serial killer movie that's up there rivaling the best in its genre. If I had anything negative to say about it, it's that I thought the humorous elements may have been slightly overdone and possibly detracted from the overall serious tone of the film. But all things considered, this is a rather minor point and is probably just me being overly picky.

The performance from Song Kang-ho really impressed me, as it has done in just about every movie I've seen him him, and he's probably up there with Byung-hun Lee, Min-sik Choi, Takeshi Kitano, and ahem.... Jackie Chan as one of my favourite Asian actors. He always seems able to create a rich character that always comes across as likeable regardless of his often many faults. The other performances in the film were also strong and to be honest I don't really have a bad word to say about any of them.

A really good nights viewing and a much deserved 8/10

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