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Review: Memories of Murder

Went back to IFC Center this morning to see Memories of Murder, South Korean director Bong Joon-ho’s 2003 police procedural—though that label is, perhaps, misleading, since the narrative is less concerned with uncovering the identity of the serial killer than it is with exploring the psychological toll the investigation takes on the various officers pulled into its orbit. Amidst the rather sizable ensemble, two key figures emerge as thoroughly captivating dual protagonists: a somewhat dimwitted small town cop who relies too heavily on his instincts, and a hotshot detective from Seoul who only trusts physical evidence. The inherent conflict between these two characters and the gradual evolution of their relationship elevate the film, allowing it to stand out in an overcrowded genre that was already far too formulaic and predictable back when it was first released fourteen years ago.

[Originally written August 27, 2017.]

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