Memories of Murder - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

Memories of Murder Reviews

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October 21, 2016
4/5 Ratings for Memories of Murder
FRESH : 60%
Crime 60% Drama 10% Mystery 30%
October 19, 2016
Beautifully shot and staged film that deconstructs the conventions of the genre.
October 14, 2016
Bong Joon-Ho's style is incredibly refreshing.
July 31, 2016
A great police procedural murder mystery meets crime thriller with very modest horror elements. Excellent writing and the expected darkly comedic screwball elements typical of Asian cinema.
July 21, 2016
Hard to rate as it telling the story of a real life incident....Didn't like the way it ended...
½ July 6, 2016
Memories of Murder is an excellent crime/mystery film. As a big fan of the genre, this movie entertained me from start to finish. It was intriguing and terrifying at the same time. As soon as the second murder occurred, I started to feel the greatness of this film. I was on the edge of my seat, and I never got lost from start to finish.
After seeing Memories of Murder, I think I have to reconsider my No.1 Bong Joon-Ho film. My no.1 favourite Bong Joon-Ho film has always been The Host. But seems like there is a new contender for the No.1 spot.
½ July 2, 2016
This is a fantastic film! A crime-thriller set in South Korea in 1986, it follows a couple of detectives who are trying to catch a serial killer. The acting is excellent, and the cinematography is gorgeous. Though it is generally quite serious, there are moments of black humour throughout to break the tension, it's really well-balanced. This is yet another great film out of South Korea that I have seen, there have been some truly amazing films coming out of there for the last decade and a half. Highly recommended!
June 6, 2016
Basé sur l'histoire des premiers meurtres en série de l'histoire de la Corée du Sud. Une superbe réalisation (le même réalisateur que l'excellent Snowpiecer) et le travail des acteurs est très efficace. Encore un preuve que le cinéma sud-coréen est probablement le meilleur cinéma au monde
May 29, 2016
Best movie I've ever watched.
March 19, 2016
Shifting the focus away from the crimes and onto the desperate measures to detect them, this is a compelling mix of docu-dramatic realism and stylised character study.8/10
February 23, 2016
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January 31, 2016
A true serial killer story with a lot of good comedy injected for effect. Korea is under military rule and the practices of the detectives reflect that. It is only when a detective from Seoul is bought in to help do they start to make some headway but his frustrations with how things are done slowly bring him down to the level of his new colleagues. Only after watching this do you realise that the serial killer story is really just a background to the main messages that this film is trying to get across. Very good film.
December 20, 2015
A total knockout film. A piece of art which has everything one goes to cinema for. From funny to hilarious and then dramatic, emotional, sad and finally shocked. It's a movie without any ending and the one that attaches a hook to you brain and won't let it go. From the publicity posters to the editing, writing and acting this movie is a thoughtful work.
At times it would seem like reading an old novel and at times it would seem like watching a nemesis film. There are many flavors which work because of the terrific acting jobs everyone has done. Every character is a perfect fit. Both of the lead cops are opposite to each other and then the shift in their personality to take each other's place. The suspense is very strongly kept through out the movie and there is a ground breaking background score to lift it to new heights. The chase seen from the woods into the village and then the factory site is very thrilling. Another scene involving the train accident is also placed right.
There would not be any department or field this movie could be less then great at.
Kang-ho Song, is the best thing in the movie. His portrayal of an aggressive cop is top notch. He brings all the humor and then the intensity in the movie. Sang-kyung Kim, also gave wonderful performance. A cop with less known background which is civilized and honest to his job and then loses his control over the event.
A movie which will be on your favorite lift forever.
December 17, 2015
Superbe film à découvrir.
Super Reviewer
½ December 16, 2015
Bong Joon-ho uses a real Korean serial killer story as the basis for this always absorbing, terribly ironic and tragically hilarious crime drama that is both an intelligent social satire and a sharp political commentary, and he never ceases to surprise us until the very last shot.
Super Reviewer
½ December 11, 2015
The hunt for a serial killer in a small Korean town in the 1980s with a new detective from the big city wanting to use modern policing methods and his good old boy partner using more unorthodox ways. Powerful. Makes you wonder how any clever killers were caught back then.
½ December 3, 2015
I thought it was acted and directed well, but wasn't super gripping. It had a strong lead up to the ending which worked well though.
December 1, 2015
Sometimes, no matter what we do, we just don't win. I think the one thing I got out of this that other people don't really point out is the political perspective. Throughout the film, there is an undertone of city vs. rural, development vs. backwardness. This undertone then underscores the hopelessness and frustration of the situation. Even with all that technology, questions are still left hanging. The impotence of man.
½ November 9, 2015
Superb plot and character developments, really involving, hilarious, must watch!
Song Kang-Ho also deserves special mention for his great work!
September 3, 2015
Okay, I'll preface this by saying that South Korea is a master of cinema; the whole Korean cinematic industry has made a fantastic job in showing the world what filmmaking is all about.

This movie is a prime example of that.

Sarinui chueok, or Memories of Murder for the rest of the world, is not just a police-procedural movie, okay? It's not your typical murder-mystery thriller. This movie is all about characters, human characters, all-too human. This movie will show you, in a superb manner, the complexity of the human being.

That's what makes this movie so complex: it deals with the nature of human beings against something they do not understand, it takes characters to places where they'll lose their minds; it will strip its characters from their pragmatic ego's, from their self-centered personas. It will show humans at the turn of their most obscure side. It will show you what happens when humans step into the Dark Side of the Moon.

How? Well, the answer is simple. Take a South Korean lazy-corrupt officer (detective Park) along his even more lazy-corrupt-and-aggressive partner (detective Cho) to investigate the most hideous serial killer of that time (1980s) in a very small town. Let them show you their sleazy ways. Let them show you their incompetence when it comes to work, serious work that is: you're investigating a series of murders!

These men will torture suspects just for the simple reason that "they heard he committed the murders", that's how bad they can be.

Let's take it even further, just to show how far their corruptness can go: they will plant evidence just so they can convict a suspect of a crime, even if that suspect is mentally disabled.

These two guys are just a complete mess when it comes to working. However they think their crooked ways are the right ones. Detective Park usually says: "I can simply look at a man's eyes and find out if he's guilty or no", that's he's way of thinking, you get the idea now?

So we have two incompetent-corrupt officers of the law. Now bring an outsider (detective Seo), an officer straight from the capital and a serious man about his work - because they investigate murders, it has to be very serious work. This man will show them his pragmatic ways of working: "documents never lie" he would normally say when referring to the evidence. This man does not torture suspects; he will only follow the evidence. This man knows his stuff.

What happens when these opposing forces meet? A complete mess is what happens, to say the least. Detective Seo will slowly show these two lazy-asses how to run an investigation, and despite his efforts to show how scientific procedures can help you bring down a serial killer, these two dirt-bags will try to show this pragmatic detective how their ways are the right ones, how esoteric methods can beat science, how rumors are more valid then congruent pieces of evidence, how, just for the fact that South Korea is a small country, the methods used by other countries, such as the U.S., won't work in that country: "Korea is of the size of my penis, that's why we investigate with our feet, because you can walk the whole country in day" detective Park said to detective Seo.

So we have two characters that take major roles: detective Park and detective Seo, and they make a great contrast for the plot.

Now we have to talk about the one person who will bring this to a nice triangle: the murderer; who is he? It doesn't matter, he is just a McGuffin used to let characters develop their worst sides or their better sides - again this movie is just about characters, about the way humans behave under extreme circumstances. Still we get to spend a lot of time with all the suspects and their different personalities.

So all you have to concentrate on is what the main characters do or say throughout the movie since everything will be vital for the plot.

You get to enjoy the moments where you see detective Park spend time with his wife: we get moments intimacy, moments where they talk and he shows some jealousy because his wife - a nurse - gets requested the most by patients at the hospital, and we get to see where most of detective Park's not-so-clever-ideas come from, ideas such as "going with a psychic" to find out who the murderer is.

The characters in the story are just as real and perfect as they can get, and the serial killer story hits the jackpot of story-telling. So what about the directing of the movie? Admirable is the adjective I'll use to answer. You can't really expect much from director Bong's sophomore attempt at filmmaking with a near-broke studio, right? Wrong. Director Bong made wonderful use of camera work; take one of the first scenes of the movie: we get a nice long shot that shows us what mess of a crime scene the detectives had due to their incompetence and terrible communication.

We get some beautiful takes of the landscapes with great natural lighting, and thanks to the opportunistic weather at the time of filming, we get some wonderful takes that really captured the depressed feeling that director Bong wanted to project to the audience.

The movie itself has a great sense of humor at the beginning, since the movie itself satirizes the South Korean system, all the way from the press, police force, political views, and the way we sometimes tend to think. But near the end of the movie we start to feel a brilliant change of humor, from a witty sense of humor, to a very serious thriller, we start to see the characters get more serious in the plot; we start to feel the tension of the plot as it reaches its brilliant ending.

This way of making the seriousness of the plot change makes the movie all the more better: you get moments of laughs and you get moments of tension.

This change, however, does not only happen in the plot, it also happens to the characters - the two main characters - take detective Park for instance: corrupt, incompetent, lazy, and stupid at times, turns out by the end, in a beautifully executed scene (train track scene), we get to see him coming clean and admitting that he does not know who can be guilty of a crime by just simply looking at their eyes.

Detective Seo, the pragmatic, flat-footed detective, on the other hand, starts to succumb to the nasty ways of detective Park: he starts to lose his nerve and even slaps the poor mentally disabled suspect, who happens to know the identity of the killer, in an attempt to get the kids testimony for evidence. It doesn't end well for the mentally disabled kid... We also see detective Seo beat the living hell out of the main suspect just because he is so sure he's the killer, but then the evidence (the documents) shows him that he is not the killer; all this will just push detective Seo to the edge of madness. Now all this is shown in that one masterful/powerful scene along with detective Park's moment of clarity: one sees the light, the other sees the darkness; talk about good writing and good directing.

The movie's ending is just sublime, it will leave you make you think more about the whole movie... gives me the chills just by thinking of that last close shot at detective Park's look, you can really feel him all the way to the end of that scene.

The audacity for directing, writing, and cinematography in this movie is just fabulous, one couldn't ask for more.

This movie was hailed by Tarantino in one of his interviews as one of the most interesting and complex movie he had ever seen, and damn right it is!
This movie was made for all type of audiences, it's fun, interesting, intriguing, and cathartic. You will be missing out on one of the best movies of modern times.

Fun fact: one of the studios that produced the movie: Sidus, was near bankruptcy when the movie was filmed, and due to the movie's unexpected success the studio went back on track and is now a major studio in South Korea.
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