Coming to theatres for a Limited Engagement from Oscar winning writer/director Bong Joon Ho and Neon is the true story of a serial killer with MEMORIES OF MURDER.
Detective Park Doo-man (Song Kang-ho) is called to a field where a young woman is found murdered. Upset that the forensic team does a horrible job, it will be hard to find the killer. Then another woman is found, and he decides to question the handicapped Baek Kwang-ho (Park No-shik). The only way to get an answer is to have his partner Cho (Kim Roi-ha) use his special horrible techniques to get the answers they want.
Enter from Seoul is Detective Seo Tae-yoon (Kim Sang-kyung) who volunteers to come and help solve the crimes. Almost immediately he realizes that there is another victim out there. Telling Sgt. Koo Hee-bong (Hee-Bong Byun) his thoughts, they begin their search and find exactly what Seo expected. Looking for clues, Officer Kwon Kwi-ok (Go Seo-hee) tells them about a theory she has regarding a song played on the radio. Going from one suspect to another, nothing is adding up.
Until the next victim sends the crew over the edge in panic. They are led to Park Hyeon-gyu (Park Hae-il) who works at the local factory near the field. Getting no where with him, they have no choice but to let him go. Park and Seo talk out what they can do next until they realize that perhaps there is a witness they had not considered. As the night goes on, one more girl has been murdered and Seo blames himself deciding that maybe its time he take the law into his own hands.
When all the leads take them nowhere, the crime remains unsolved as year later, Park returns to the scene.
Kang-ho as Detective Park is a man who prides himself on being able to look in the eyes of a person and tell whether they are lying or not. The problem is in this case, he seems to be losing his touch which means he relies on other methods that are not law enforcement approved. His problem with Seo turns out to be based on hating an outsider coming in but must put that aside if they are going to catch a killer.
Sang-kyung as Seo comes in and watches the detective around him while he digs deeper into the reports of what has been happening. Putting the pieces together, he becomes obsessed with one suspect to the point of losing that part of himself that set him apart from the others. Not getting along with Detective Park only lasts until they put their theories together and go forward.
Roi-ha as Cho is the kind of cop that everybody hates and gives good cops a bad name. His temper is ridiculously out of control, but he always relied on Park to keep him in check. With the arrival of Seo, a change takes place in the squad room. Byun as Sgt. Hee-bong has had almost enough with Park and Cho’s ridiculous tactics and turns to Seo who seems to take things more seriously.
Seo-hee as Officer Kwon Kwi-ok is a young woman who is taking in everything around her. Once she finds a clue on her own, she is hesitant to share until realizing she must help find the killer. No-shik as Baek is a mentally disabled young man who is treated poorly by the police to get what they wanted when all they really needed to do what just talk to him as a friend.
Other cast include Song Jae-ho as Sgt. Shin Dong-chul, Jeon Mi-seon as Kwok Seol-yung and Yeom Hye-ran as So-hyeon’s mother, Tae-ho Ryu as Jo Byeong-soon, Woo Go-na as Kim So-hyeon, Ok-joo Lee as Oh Nam-joo, Jong-ryol Choi as Gwang-ho’s father.
Neon is a film production company that is best known for such films as I, TONYA and one of the most incredible Oscar winning film PARASITE. With a total of 12 Academy Award nominations, Neon appeals to audiences that are looking for in-your-face storytelling. For more information please visit www.neonrated.com.
Talking about the style of MEMORIES OF MURDER, the writer/director says “First of all, I thought of the victims’ families. I asked myself many times whether or not I had the right to make this movie. Writing the screenplay was so difficult that I even resorted to knocking back some stiff drinks sometimes.”
Continuing, “I struggled over how I could remain responsible to the victims’ families. In most thrillers, death is merely a game or a puzzle, but in MEMORIES OF MURDER, death is accompanied by sadness and anger. This movie will make you feel how profoundly terrible and tragic murders are. I am genuinely saddened by the deaths of these women. Not only do I feel rage toward the murderer, but I am also enraged about the circumstanced that allowed these women to be killed. I hope the audiences who watch the film will feel as I do.”
MEMORIES OF MURDER is the true story of a serial murder cast in South Korea during the 80’s. Compared to the Zodiac murders in California, this film takes us on a journey of how the police mishandled the case and by the time they managed to put the pieces together, the murders stopped – or did they.
The film takes its time in the telling but then again writer/director Bong Joon Ho is not in a hurry. Its almost as if he wants to make sure we understand every little bit of the evidence and not get distracted with the shenanigans going on around the case. As a mother and grandmother, let me tell you I absolutely looked past that and focused on what was being discovered minute by minute.
The cast is exceptional and brings MEMORIES OF MURDER to audiences that might not have known the history of this serial killer in South Korea.
In the end – for two detectives everything is new!