MEMORIES OF MURDER
Directed & Written by Bong Joon-Ho
Produced by Kim Moo-Ryung
Cast: Song Kang-Ho, Kim Sang-Kyung, Byun Hee-Bong, Song Jae-Ho, Kim Rwe-Ha, Koh Seo-Hee, Jeon Mi-Seon, Park Noh-Sik, Ryu Tae-Ho & Park Hae-Il
2003/130 mins/Color/DTS ES
1.85:1 anamorphic/Korean/Korea/NTSC Region 3
Review from the CJ Entertainment DVD
Detective Park Doo-Man (the excellent Song Kang-Ho from THE QUIET FAMILY, FOUL KING, JSA and SYMPATHY FOR MR. VENGEANCE) and his aggresive partner are investigating the rape and identical brutal murder of two young female. This is the first time that something like that happens so the police force don't really know what to do. They use bad evidences, brutality and threat to get someone accused of the murders so they can be heroes. Things gets outta hands when they are trying to redo the whole murder scene for the press, it is clear that the poor retarded boy they are accusing is innocent... even though he can clearly describe one of the murder.
Things are finally about to chance when Seo Tae-Yoon who's a member of the Seoul police force volunteers to help out. Unlike Doo-Man, Tae-Yoon (superbly played by Kim Sang-Kyung) is the total opposite. He's meticulous, clever and takes the whole thing very seriously. At first there's a rivalry between the two but in the end they work together since they have a common goal... to catch the killer.
Based on real life events that took place in the Gyunggi Province between 1986 and 1991 where many women were raped and murdered, MEMORIES OF MURDER is a strong and effective thriller. This was the first case of a serial killer in Korea... now dubbed the "Korean Jack the Ripper" case since the killer was never found or arrested. But Bong Joon-Ho's film is much more then just a thriller, it is also a look at Korea at the time... the social situation of the country, the way the government was suppresing its citizens, the military force clearly in place, the intense media frenzy and inability of the police force to really do anything.
Bong Joon-Ho (who debuted with BARKING DOG NEVER BITE back in 2000) gives us one of the best film of 2003. MEMORIES OF MURDER was the biggest money making hit in South Korea in 2003. It was also critically acclaim by the critics and the festivals it played around the world. Joon-Ho's film is masterfully crafted, intensely well written based on historical documents and superbly acted by all the cast giving strong performances. The film also looks stunning, with amazing cinematography taking full advantage of all the beautiful Korean landscapes.
As always, CJ Entertainment has given us another amazing DVD edition. The film is presented in its original 1.85:1 aspect ratio and it is enhanced for 16x9 television. This is a razor sharp transfer with absolutely no imperfection. It features all around rich and nicely saturated colors, no artifacts, no hallows, no compression. One of the most beautiful disc I have seen. Even though its a rather quiet film, the effective and well balanced DTS ES track gives it all the atmosphere it need. Its really punchy and loud when it needs to be. There is also a 5.1 Dolby Digital EX track which sounds amazingly good good. We get easy to read and very accurate white English subtitles. On the first disc there is two commentary tracks but alas they are only in Korean... with no subs. A shame really 'cause i'm sure they are very interesting. The film is separated in 19 chapters and comes in a keep case with a very nice but Korean only booklet. The menus are beautiful and feature animation and music.
The second disc is fully loaded with extras... the problem like all Korean disc is that there is no English subs. What we get is interview with the director Bong Joon-Ho, cast, crew, lots of behind the scenes, we are introduced to some of the cast and their rehearshal and how they got the role. We are also introduced to most of the supportive cast. We get to see how they build and choose the sets, locations, costume design, make-up, cgi fx, the musical score. There's a color and a black & white still gallery, a couple of deleted scenes with or without commentary but no subs, the veery good trailer, tv spot, an extended look at the photo shoot for the film's promo artwork, a behind the scenes at the world premier, the promotional tour and more! A very good two disc set but a shame of the lack of subs on the second disc. A limited edition was released but it is now out of print, it came in a hard cover box set with 4 post cards and a books with the Storyboards for the film.
This Film Features:
Review by Kim Dubuisson. All Right Reserved. 2004. ©
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