DVD Review: Mother

30 Sep


As far as I’m concerned, Bong Joon-ho is a man who can do no wrong. In the last decade he has directed four outstanding films that have defied expectations: the social satire BARKING DOGS NEVER BITE, the police procedural MEMORIES OF MURDER, the monster movie THE HOST and his latest offering, the suspense thriller MOTHER.

Hye Ja-kim stars as the titular single mother of the 27-year-old mentally disabled Do-joon (Bin Won). When he is arrested for the brutal murder of a school girl, his overbearing mother will try everything to prove her son’s innocence, even if it means solving the case and tracking down the real killer on her own.

The police and other state officials are portrayed here as they’ve always been in Joon-ho’s films, borderline-incompetent people who have been given too much power and want to wrap things up as quickly as possible. Just as in MEMORIES OF MURDER, we get to see a ‘spot inspection’, a Korean practice where police and the accused go to the scene of the crime and reenact the murder. Much like in MEMORIES, it quickly dissolves into farce. The wicked sense of humour that runs through MOTHER helps counter some of the deeply disturbing territories the film travels into as the mother learns more about the girl who was murdered and closes in on her killer.

For fans of the director, this film won’t disappoint. It has all the stylistic touches and tone of his previous efforts and is a welcome addition to his oeuvre. For those who haven’t explored the delights that Bong Joon-ho has made, this is a recommended place to a start.
A gritty, humorous, crime thriller with a knock-out of an ending.

DVD Features: Making of, Interview with Bong Joon-ho, Behind the Scenes, Trailers.

-GJB

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