Starring: Song Kang-ho, Kim Sang-kyung, Kim Roi-ha
Director: Bong Joon-ho
Running Time: 131 mins
Memories Of Murder is a South Korean film about a team of detectives who attempt to solve the mystery of a series of brutal murders in a small rural town.
Just the second film from director Bong Joon-ho, Memories Of Murder takes a true-life crime story and delivers it on the big screen in exhilarating fashion. Complete with riveting detail, complex twists and immense unpredictable, it’s a great thriller, but it goes further thanks to gorgeous cinematography and fantastic performances across the board.
There’s a lot that makes Memories Of Murder such a riveting watch, but it’s the way in which it tells its crime story with such gripping detail. In similar fashion to the likes of Zodiac, Memories Of Murder is both a brilliantly cinematic thriller that doesn’t spare any details, working through its plot methodically right from the beginning.
Of course, that style means the film isn’t full of high-octane action thrills, and certainly isn’t the most heart-stopping film from director Bong. However, its methodical, detailed approach makes for an immensely intriguing and ultimately satisfying watch, with the film able to pull off thrilling misdirections as well as some brilliantly complex twists.
So, as a crime thriller, Memories Of Murder is an immensely entertaining watch, combining gritty detail with brilliant tension and exhilarating twists. However, this film is more than just a murder mystery, thanks to a collection of gripping performances that turn the protagonists into so much more than just police detectives on a case.
Although the screenplay is relatively light on back story and character development, the blend of the film’s simple yet effective characterisation and the fantastic performances from all, especially Song Kang-ho and Kim Sang-kyung.
Song and Kim play off one another brilliantly as both an odd detective couple, but also as rivals, with their differing methods clashing as they seek the same aim of catching the serial murderer. It’s a fascinating dynamic that few crime thrillers make use of, but it makes for gripping viewing by adding an extra level of intrigue beyond the central mystery.
And finally, Bong Joon-ho’s visual style is spectacular here, using dynamic cinematography along with an earthy and intimate style that lends the film both its sleek, thrilling edge as well as grittier vibes. Once again, a good crime thriller doesn’t have to be a visual masterpiece, but Bong takes Memories Of Murder up another level, using visuals to great effect and making the film just as eye-catching as it is intriguing.
Overall, I absolutely loved Memories Of Murder. Not only a gripping, detailed and satisfying crime thriller filled with twists and turns, but also a tense and intimate drama with a sleek visual look. Complete with fantastic performances across the board and excellent directing, the film is a brilliant watch from start to finish, and that’s why I’m giving it a 7.9.