Memories of Murder

Memories of Murder ★★★★★

For exmaple, a Buddhist monk who shaved the hair down there.
It's a perfect crime.

In most cases, the term "correlation doesn't imply causation" holds true. False statistics or assumptions occasionally lead to absurd beliefs and ignite deplorable acts. Memories of Murder's elaborate humour stems from the aforementioned, acutely credent misguidances where ludicrous torture becomes a desperate carthasis.

Bong Joon-ho's longtime accompanist Song Kang-ho's methodology of investigating the first serial killer case South Korea has ever witnessed might as well be called: "Creating a murderer." The amount of irreversible time he and his partner spend on rehearsing the perfect confession from conspicuous suspects partially reflects their alarmism, taking into account the duress they are put under. A slight overestimation of skill perhaps played a significant role in failing miserably as well. Kim Sang-kyung's meticulousness surely complements his partners weaknesses in usual crime thriller fashion, nonetheless it's Bong's decision to draw them so distinctively in order to harken back to their features and consequently pose them against their greatest strengths in the end. Their perculiar chemistry oddly holds a film together that isn't perforce primarily centered around the actual event it's based on and extraordinarily manages to uphold its intrigue given the commonly interchangable formula of its kind.

There's a reason people say I have shaman's eyes.

Kim Roe-ha's foot as a mean for torture and drop kicking suspects; he loses his foot. Song Kang-ho's self-proclaimed ability to detect culprits with his bare eyes; his success rate equals zero. The inclination towards, by no means, subtle contradictions are once more evident when seeing Bong's quick cuts to antithetic beats as responses to prior circumstances. The detectives rely on american state of the art technology for semen analysis; cut to them pushing a car in a rural environment. Song Kang-ho is asked to identify a rapist; cut to him having sex with his wife. The gathered ensemble dissects the victim's body in the autopsy room; cut to sizzling sirloin during their after-work dinner. These witty directional choices paired with the equipollent, ingenious dialogue account for Memories of Murder's levity until, naturally, Bong proceeds to flip the tonality upside down.

He's the master of mood transition. What used to be a film enriched with despaired attemps to catch a murderer, morphs into a downward-sloping misery of utmost dread. Characters adapt their partners manners. Once a relentless detective, Kim Sang-kyung stands on the verge of turning felonious, in front of the dark tunnel, one step away from obscurity; his dedication has devoured him. Song Kang-ho on the other hand has abandoned his unmoral procedures, gaining rationality akin to Kim Sang-kyung in the beginning.

Memories of Murder is one of many crime thrillers, but its singularity strikes upon scrutiny. Thus, frankly the best I have seen.

Bong Joon-ho

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