South Korea Release date: 28th May 2009
Watched on Sky+ Monday 17th December 2012.
PLEASE NOTE: THERE MAY BE SPOILERS IN THIS REVIEW.
This is another film I heard about around the time of its release but it never made it to any screen near me until it turned up on TV the other week. I have to admit I did put off watching this one until I was certain I was in the mood for it. A critically acclaimed Korean film with subtitles has to be savoured after all! The critics were right by the way… It’s really good!... I’ll tell you why after this very brief summary.
A mother (Hye-ja Kim), we never know her name, works in a store selling herbal medications (from what I can gather). She’s generally there alone and so keeps a close eye on her son, Yoon Do-joon (Bin Won), who usually hangs out across the street. After a run-in with some speeding golfers, Do-joon and his friend, Jin-tae (Ku Jin), end up in trouble with the police. I should point out here that Do-joon is quite a simple-minded young man. The pair of them are released and Do-joon decides he’s going to meet Jin-tae for a drink. Of course Jin-tae never turns up and Do-joon manages to get home on his own quite drunk. The following day his mother is shocked when she sees him dragged off by the police. It appears a schoolgirl, Moon Ah-jeong (Hee-ra Mun) had been murdered the night before. Do-joon can’t remember the events of the previous night, but even so, ends up signing a confession. His mother is totally convinced of his innocence and is determined to prove as much… But how far will she go?
I must say I found this a really great watch! Aside from the many cultural nuances, of which there are many, I found it a riveting tale with some very nice twists. Beautifully shot with a very nice musical score by Byung-woo Lee, I found it easy to follow (despite the inconvenience of subtitles). All the performances were excellent but I must pull out Hye-ja Kim for her tremendous portrayal of this driven woman, a great piece of work! Over all, it’s hard to find much wrong with filmmaking like this; Hollywood take heed! Definitely well worth a look.
SteelMonster’s verdict: HIGHLY RECOMMENDED
My score: 9.0/10
IMDb Score: 7.8/10 (based on 13,117 votes at the time of going to press).
MetaScore: 79/100: (Based on 30 critic reviews provided by Metacritic.com at the time of going to press).
Rotten Tomatoes ‘Audience’ Score: 86/100 ‘Liked it’ (based on 14,133 user ratings counted at the time of going to press).
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