This blog post is a part of the Filmspanarna challengeathon. I was challenged by Movies-Noir to watch Memories of Murder. The base for the challengeathon is basically to challenge a fellow blogger to watch something out of their normal comfort zone.
Cutting to the chase I can say this was pretty spot on for me. South Korean and Asian cinema in general has been one big crater of absence in my life, period. I had a brief stint of watching the classic stuff when studying Film history at the university. Back then I even plowed as much of Akira Kurosawas films I could get my hands on in my spare-time. Derzu Uzala was the one of his under-the-radar films that stuck with me. Other than that I’ve mostly given myself poor excuses to avoid Asian cinema without sticking my toes to deep in the pond except for the occasional Ringu (very scary) or The Good, the Bad and the Weird (nice setup but quite forgettable in the end).
So for this challengeathon I was handed Memories of Murder by Swedish blogging colleague Movies-Noir (I worded the headline just to screw with him, thinking I hated the film hahah). The plot is about a local police crew trying to solve a serial murder/rapist case in a smaller South Korean town.
The closest resemblance I have for this film is that its a compressed south korean season of True Detective. Since it came out in 2003 I more or less assume they were inspired by this film because it feels very True Detectivish. Both plot, character and setting.
Something that irked me when watching it though is that the initial hour is pretty comedic. It’s something I recognize from earlier bit visits to modern Asian films. It’s mainly a character thing where the main characters feels a bit too cartoony compared to the overall tone of the film. I can’t help to think that these traits are enhanced through having to read the dialog through sub-titles.
As for the film in general I think it’s really good. It’s by far one of the most ambitious modern films I’ve ever seen. Overall it has a minimalistic approach (besides the main actors) that suits the film perfect without making it to bleak. Which easily could have been the case with this one.
Below are the rest of the participants posts, a lot of the ones in Swedish have translation widgets so feel free to check them out as well.
The Velvet Cafe (in English)