Memories of Murder Movie Review

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Not too long ago, South Korea got its first taste of a real serial killer, a man who committed a series of so-called "perfect crimes," which involved the rape, murder, and strange tortures of various women across the Korean countryside. Memories of Murder is a movie about some of the ridiculous police work that ensured the killer would never be captured.

According to the press notes, thousands of suspects and hundreds of thousands of police were involved in the massive investigation, leading one to wonder not just why they never caught anyone, but just how many police officers South Korea needs. Not enough, I guess. Murder is two hours of botched and bumbled investigations with civilians traipsing across crime scenes, stakeout cop cars failing to start, and innumerable suspects getting away due to bad policework and the occasional torture of a suspect.

Joon-ho Bong directs the film in straightforward fashion, with minimal flourish save for the flashbacks and conjectures of various women being murdered. He also leaves things frustratingly open-ended (though not surprising, as the case was never solved), which can make the over-two-hour running time feel like a bit of a waste of time. A variety of Korean regulars don't do much with their roles as various cops and magistrates -- and the rough English dubbing makes them sound even more like buffoons than they're likely meant to.

Still, this film is worth checking out if for no other reason than a singular scene in which the lead detective, having learned that none of the perpetrator's pubic hair has been found on the victims, spends his days checking out men's groins at the local bath house in order to see if any of them is shaved. That, people, is how you solve a crime.

Aka Salinui chueok.

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Memories of Murder Rating

" OK "

Rating: NR, 2003

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