Memories of Murder. 2003. South Korea. Directed by Bong Joon-ho. Screenplay by Bong, Shim Sung-bo. With Song Kang-ho, Kim Sang-kyung, Kim Roe-ha. 35mm. In Korean; English subtitles. 131 min.
Bong Joon-ho (Parasite, The Host) offers his own grimly sardonic take on the hardboiled noir procedural, using police blotter and news accounts of South Korea’s first known serial killer to meditate on civilization and its discontents. A slick Seoul detective is reluctantly thrown in with a detective from the sticks to investigate a series of brutal murders of women, but their work leads only to maddening dead ends. What causes a man to snap and unleash violence and terror on a small community? And what if that community’s response is an impotent mix of authoritarian conformism and bumbling ineptitude?