Memories of Murder

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"Do you get up each morning too?"



It wasn't until after I had found out that Memories of Murder was based on a true story that a feeling of looming dread started consuming me. When I had finished watching the movie last night, I could feel the dread lingering near me like a wolf stalking its prey and, after finding out the news (that it was based on a true story) this morning, the wolf sank its teeth into me, and I haven’t been feeling “all there” since then.

Seriously, has anybody seen my fucking arm?

Directed by Bong Joon-ho (Snowpiercer), Memories of Murder focuses on two detectives, Park (Song Kang-ho) and Seo (Kim Sang-kyung), and their attempts of solving the identity of a serial killer that brutally rapes and murders women in South Korea. Memories is based off of a true series of murders known as the Hwaseong serial murders and, even though I’m not sure how much of the factual events leaked over into the movie, it all provides for a very grim, dark, and effective experience nonetheless.

If it were released today, I’d say that Memories would be like a crazy hybrid of True Detective and Zodiac (it gets a lot of comparisons with this one) and it’s not difficult to spot the influence that Memories would later have on those two projects. Like those two, Memories is realistic, gloomy, bleak, full of dread, and it focuses on people trying to solve the identity of a serial killer with a gruesome M.O.

Park and Seo, the two leads here, are polar opposites when they’re first assigned to work with each other. Park, who has never had a big case before, doesn't take things as seriously as he should. Seo, on the other hand, is quiet and thinks more with logic than with emotion (as opposed to Park). Memories is more about the two lead detectives working on the case than the actual case itself (but it still focused on it enough for me to care about it). Seeing Park and Seo’s arcs change over the course of the movie (with Seo slowly turning into Park and vice versa) made Memories, despite the content, oddly gripping and real. The huge pressure of the case gets to these men and drills into their heads so forcefully that, once it’s all over, they will remain changed men for the rest of their lives.

Memories of Murder is a movie that dives into the darkest recesses of the human mind. After watching The Woman Who Wasn’t There yesterday and following it up with Memories, I've thoroughly convinced myself to just stay indoors for the rest of my life because most people are truly terrible. Seeing this news story this morning was both shocking and sad and it shows the destruction that human beings are capable of carrying out. That story made me rethink what I had seen in Memories and how much of an effect the whole movie really had on me.

Memories of Murder left me feeling uneasy as well as having a feeling of disgust towards people in general because most of them are dangerous, unpredictable, and, most of all, scary. With all of the recent events going on in the world, my eyes have been opening up wider and wider as I take a look around me and realize just how fucked up everyone is and this makes me wonder if that's a good thing, or a bad thing.

Where are we all truly heading as a society?

And what the hell happened to this review?

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"Ernest Hemingway once wrote, 'The world is a fine place and worth fighting for.' I agree with the second part."

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