Sunday, August 5, 2012

Memories of Murder

In a small village outside Seoul, South Korea in 1986, a little girl is found raped and murdered in a drainpipe, with another one found in a field nearby soon thereafter. With the first apparent serial killing in the country's history, the local police staff seems ill-equipped to handle the investigation, with the two lead detectives (Song Kang-ho, Kim Rwe-ha) preferring brutal interrogation techniques over criminal profiling and thought. As a few more murders take place, a detective from the city joins the case and the three begrudgingly work together to try to solve the increasingly frustrating case. "Memories of Murder" is an excellent true crime story from director Joon ho-Bong that tells its difficult story with great style and flare. So many of the scenes are pitch perfect, such as one involving a  miscommunication during a stakeout in the rain, or the shocking finale, and the actors so greatly inhabit their complex roles. Real life crime stories are hard enough to tell, to begin with, and especially grisly ones like this would leave many storytellers steering for happy endings. "Memories of Murder" is a thriller that refuses to offer easy answers, and conducts itself with impeccable tone and style.