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- Nau of Sands
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Memories of Murder is a korean police movie by a young directoe Joon-ho Bong (it is considered his first movie actually), unlike others asian detective stories, this one plays the card of realism instead of action.
It is based on the true story of a police inquiry about a serial killer, where korean police showed much unpreparation and amateurism. It even seems that it is now bound to enter in the mediatic club of unsolved crime mysteries, with Jack the Ripper and some others, as this link suggest it =>limitation
The film is centered on the inquiry more than on the murder themselves.
The events take place in a very rural area of Korea, a small town where not much usually happens and where everyone knows everyone.
The local police has to face a strange murder case, that quickly turns to be a serie of bloody murders done by a sexual maniac.
The leading investigator on the case is Hee-bong Koo (Hie-bong Byeon) who belives at first that he will solve the case thanks to his knowledge of the region and some "efficient" interrogation of suspects (police asks questions in he basement of the police office, to avoid sound being heard outside), he is soon "helped" by a young officer sent from the capital Seoul. This new detective Park Doo-Man (Kang-ho Song) is more educated and leads the inquiry with more methodic means.
A rivality quickly rises between both men, sharpened by the fact that the Seoul inquirer has some results and makes the things definitely progress, while the local policeman is puzzled and gets to more and more basic method, such as gossips, astrology and so on.
The arrest of the village idiot who admits the murders after some torture, rehearsal of the text he has to say, 100 % built evidences and some other great deeds does not arrange things as it makes lose time for the inqirers and totally discredit them to the eyes of the public. The medias get in the story and reveal that the police was unable to keep the initial evidences - murders scenes were plundered by curious villagers, items related to crimes destroyed.
The method of the inspectors lead to no result, and more and more they have to rely on luck, hoping for the murderer to make a mistake. Every detail is take into account, the radio music, the weather, gossips from the girls of the local school, but things do not get better.
Suddenly a trail seems to lead somewhere, and it may at last be possible to arrest a suspect man under plausible motives... Â
This movie is brilliant, because it is developped on many directions. It could have been a simple charge against the police methods, but it is far more than that because both the detective turn to be interresting, dedicated to their work and the first victims of their mistakes.
It has some funny moments, but tragic well too, and the police inquiry is very well drawn, with a lot of suspens going on. We are definitely on the side of these policemen seeling the truth, or at last the beginning of an evidence. Far from being ridiculous, they eventually show great intelligence and bravery in their investigation, and develop more modern tool such as the use of DNA tests, something rather new at the time. They eventually surprise us as the process of the inquiry is at last mastered.
I give it a 6/6, I found it really good, and it changes from unrealistic detective stories, even if it has some links with Public Ennemy (another korean detective story, as I have always said ^^, some themes are in common with a different treatment).
Of course, it is only based on a true story and lots of things have been changed to make it a movie with a beginning and a end.
By the way, concerning this ending, I think it is one of the most incredible and beautiful I ever seen in a movie, and all the more that it was a great challenge seen the lack of ending of the true story (but no spoilers here).
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