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Memories of Murder (2003)

Salinui chueok (original title)
Not Rated | | Action, Crime, Drama | 2 May 2003 (South Korea)
In a small Korean province in 1986, three detectives struggle with the case of multiple young women being found raped and murdered by an unknown culprit.

Director:

(as Joon Ho Bong)

Writers:

(as Joon Ho Bong), (play) | 1 more credit »
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Cast

Credited cast:
...
...
...
...
Sergeant Shin Dong-chul
Hee-Bong Byun ...
Sergeant Koo Hee-bong (as Hie-bong Byeon)
Seo-hie Ko ...
Officer Kwon Kwi-ok
...
Baek Kwang-ho
...
Park Hyeon-gyu
...
Kwok Seol-yung
Young-hwa Seo ...
Eon Deok-nyeo
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Bong-gi Baek ...
Cop Dressed as Woman
Hyeon-gi Choi ...
Farmer
Jong-ryol Choi ...
Doo-man's Father
Deok-jae Jo ...
Investigator
In-sun Jung ...
Girl in Ending Scene (as In-seon Jeong)
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Storyline

In 1986, in the province of Gyunggi, in South Korea, a second young and beautiful woman is found dead, raped and tied and gagged with her underwear. Detective Park Doo-Man and Detective Cho Yong-koo, two brutal and stupid local detectives without any technique, investigate the murder using brutality and torturing the suspects, without any practical result. The Detective Seo Tae-Yoon from Seoul comes to the country to help the investigations and is convinced that a serial-killer is killing the women. When a third woman is found dead in the same "modus-operandi", the detectives find leads of the assassin. Written by Claudio Carvalho, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Country:

Language:

|

Release Date:

2 May 2003 (South Korea)  »

Also Known As:

Memories of Murder  »

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Box Office

Budget:

$2,800,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$4,487, 17 July 2005, Limited Release

Gross USA:

$14,131, 31 July 2005
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

| | (Filmfest Hamburg)

Sound Mix:

Color:

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

In order to make his character Detective Seo look properly worn-out by the stress of the case, actor Kim Sang-kyung deliberately limited his food intake and slept fewer hours. See more »

Goofs

Several characters are seen wearing white iPod-style earbuds. Earbuds of this style did not exist before 2001. See more »

Quotes

Detective Park Doo-Man: Fuck, I don't know.
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Connections

Referenced in Big Bad Wolves (2013) See more »

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User Reviews

 
A Masterpiece that you cannot miss
21 August 2006 | by See all my reviews

Beginning in the fall of 1986 and continuing for the next four years South Korea was haunted by the nation's first recorded serial killer. Preying upon women in a remote rural community the killer was both vicious and meticulous, strangling his victims with their own undergarments and leaving nothing of any use to the police investigating the crimes. The killer was never caught.

I do not envy any director trying to make a true crime film, particularly not one so high profile and so recent that the crimes still live on in the public consciousness. Stray too far in one direction and you devolve into saccharine sentimentality, go the other direction and you risk crass exploitation. Director Bong Joon-Ho avoided both of these traps by charting an altogether different route: he has made a film that is not about the killer or the crimes or the victims but one that is purely about the police officers charged with the case and the devastating emotional toll it took on their lives. In charting his unusual route Bong has created a bleak masterpiece, one that took home a stack of film awards in its native land but which has been largely neglected on these shores until now.

The film begins with the first body discovered, a woman strangled with her own stockings, raped, tightly bound, and hidden in a drainage culvert. The detective in charge of the case is Park Du-Man (Song Kang-Ho) and it is immediately clear that he is out of his depth, that the entire local police force, in fact, are out of their depth. The crime scene is chaos, crowded by reporters and locals trampling over potentially vital evidence. Park himself is not what you'd call a systematic investigator, scoffing at the scientific approach and trusting in his supposedly unerring eye at picking out criminals just by looking at them. He relies on swagger and bravado and the brute force of his uneducated assisting officer Jo Yong-Gu.

Serving as a foil to Park and Jo is Seo Tae-Yun (Kim Sang-Kyung) a detective from Seoul who has volunteered to assist with the investigation. Seo is the polar opposite of Park - methodical and rational - and it takes mere moments for the two to clash, clashes that lead to the two of them overlooking some key pieces of evidence.

As the film progresses and the body count continues to rise you can feel a sense of desperation slowly settle over the department. Under educated, under manned and woefully under equipped the local force is simply not up to the task. As the realisation that they will not find the evidence they so badly need begins to set in Park and Jo resort to planting evidence to bring in suspects Park picks out with his 'keen eye', suspects they then set out to extract coached confessions from. The process inevitably leads to public humiliation. Soon even Seo begins to lose his faith in reason and just as things bottom out they finally catch a break and settle on a prime suspect, one who truly appears likely to be their man. But can they make it stick? What sets Memories of Murder apart from the crowd are the rich performances from its leads and the sure hand of Bong Joon-Ho. Bong knows exactly what he wants to do with this film and he steers the ship with a firm hand. He has a keen eye for imagery but he consistently avoids the cheap resolve, the quick hit, in favour of a slowly building mood and the film is all the stronger because of it. Song and Kim are both stellar in their roles, giving their characters much needed depth. You can feel their frustration and helplessness continually growing and when the final crushing blow is delivered you can feel their utter despair at being abandoned by a system that they have given their lives to. Bong isn't just asking how this could happen, how someone could be as evil as this killer, but how could a government allow this to happen? How could the police not be given the tools and manpower they so obviously needed to protect the people? The DVD release has been given the standard Palm treatment. The transfer is strong and presented in anamorphic widescreen. The film is presented with both the original Korean language track in 2.0 stereo and an English dub in both 2.0 and 5.1. The English subtitles are solid, clearly translated and easy to read. The disc also includes a reel of cast and crew interviews discussing their characters and the creation of the film as well as an extensive reel of deleted scenes.

Memories of Murder is a minor masterpiece, a film that moved Bong immediately onto Korea's A-list of directing talent. It is richly detailed, beautifully performed and disturbing in precisely the way that people need to be disturbed in from time to time. Don't miss it.


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