A suprisingly powerful film from the director of the amusing Barking Dogs Never Bite, this film about a serial killer has the tone of Se7en but without the weirdness. More importantly, Memories of Murder has addressed the debate about integrity in police methods with the greatest effectiveness since Orson Welles made Touch of Evil. Song Kang-ho (JSA, The Foul King) is, as always, dynamite as the cop who is obsessed with this case.
Every Korean who sees this film knows, even if I didn’t, that this is based on a true story (and from what I can tell is scrupulously faithful to the real events), so there’s no reason for you not to know (even if I didn’t). The interplay between the city cop and the country cops is well-balanced, and the pacing is sleekly maintained to keep you on the edge of your seat as it works the thriller atmosphere and keeping an aura of authenticity.
Not just the best Korean film of the year, or the best film of the PIFAN festival (though it actually didn’t appear in the festival program), but one of the great films of 2003. Certainly the best Korean film since JSA and …oh enough superlatives already… this is a ripper and not to be missed if you get the chance!