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The Next Reel • Season 11 • Series: Bong Joon-Ho • Memories of Murder • Member Bonus

Memories of Murder • Member Bonus

“How can a detective have such a bad eye for criminals?”

South Korea’s first serial killer wasn’t caught for over thirty years after killing at least 14 people over a five year period. The panic and sense of law enforcement’s inability to catch the killer clearly left its imprint on society and artists. This film was, in fact, adapted from a play that came before it after all. Join us – Pete Wright and Andy Nelson – as we return to our Bong Joon Ho series for this month’s member bonus episode looking at director Bong’s 2003 film Memories of Murder.

It’s more than just South Korea’s Zodiac

There’s a lot going on in this film as it primarily follows three detectives working to find the killer and stop the constant flow of victims. The film examines small town police work as it compares to city police work. We see how the militaristic government at the time affected law enforcement, notably with their torture during the interrogation of suspects. And with Bong Joon Ho, we also get his goofy comedy, which doesn’t always seem to fit in the story. It’s like Hot Fuzz and Zodiac in some strange amalgam.

But the story’s there, and that’s why it’s a strong film, even if the comedy comes off a bit out of place. With his second film, director Bong shows how effective he is at cinematic storytelling, even when we still get a sense that he’s not yet defining the overall scope of the story as strongly as he could.

The cast is great as always with the wonderful Song Kang-ho as our lead and Kim Sang-kyung as the city detective coming to help. It’s a technical masterpiece and we have much to discuss in this episode.

So check out this film, make sure you’re a member, and tune in to the episode. It’s a great conversation. The Next Reel – when the movie ends, our conversation begins!

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