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Memories of Murder

4.3 out of 5 stars 67 customer reviews

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(Aug 09, 2005)
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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

As an amnesiac rediscovers her husband and daughter, all three are threatened by a twisted woman.


A South Korean thriller based on a true story, Memories of Murder comes across like a hybrid of Silence of the Lambs and One False Move. A pair of rural detectives, Park (Song Kang-ho) and Jo (Kim Roe-ha), chafe when a Seoul detective named Seo (Kim Sang-kyung) gets involved in their big case: Korea's first known serial killer, who's killed two women on rainy nights. Seo is dismayed by the rural cops' interrogation methods, which consist of beating suspects until they confess--and they aren't above planting evidence or "helping" a suspect remember the details of his crime. While Park and Jo seek clues from fortune tellers and magic charms, Seo struggles to build a case from hard evidence and the forensic approaches only just starting to take hold (the movie is set in 1986). Shots of the victims and jolting moments of violence give Memories of Murder a dose of gruesomeness, but the movie has more on its mind that exploitation. Visually stylish and psychologically astute, Memories of Murder is as much a portrait of cultural change as a serial killer mystery. --Bret Fetzer

Special Features

  • Cast & Crew Interviews
  • Deleted Scenes
  • Previews
  • Weblinks

Product Details

  • Actors: Kang-ho Song, Sang-kyung Kim, Roe-ha Kim, Jae-ho Song, Hie-bong Byeon
  • Directors: Joon Ho Bong
  • Writers: Joon Ho Bong, Kwang-rim Kim, Sung-bo Shim
  • Producers: Jae-Won Choi, Jong-yun No, Kang-bok Lee, Moo Ryung Kim
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Closed-captioned, Color, Dolby, Dubbed, NTSC, Subtitled, Widescreen
  • Language: English (Unknown), Korean (Unknown)
  • Subtitles: English
  • Dubbed: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: Unrated
  • Studio: Palm Pictures / Umvd
  • DVD Release Date: August 9, 2005
  • Run Time: 132 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (67 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B0009XRZQK
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #10,540 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Memories of Murder" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: DVD
Since a synopsis would be redundant here, I'll confine myself to praise alone.

Each positive comment that precedes this is accurate. I watched this movie yesterday. I couldn't take my eyes off it. Everything taking place onscreen was riveting, from the simple act of walking down a dark lonely road in the rain, to a wild chase by three desperate detectives. This movie held me in thrall.

As a new viewer of Asian movies, I try to analyze the reason I tend not to be interested in western works any longer. I finally came to the conclusion that it has to do with the accessibility of the players. They seem to be people first, actors by choice, and stars, by the public making them so.

In Memories of Murder, I saw this human factor almost too painfully. By the end of the story, I was in tears. Even now, the mood prevails. It's been so long since these crimes took place, and I don't know absolutely that they remain unsolved, but I think it's the case, and I think about that.

The actors have become the people in my mind, and the horrible sense of defeat that becomes palpable eventually, is heartbreaking. When one relates to the inroads made on the health; mental and physical; of the detectives, who are ultimately portrayed as tireless and completely dedicated to the case, you realize that you've watched something that is historic. You have seen the probable truth.

The way this movie draws you into it, so that you are walking through dangerous rain, with a warning shout in your throat, points to the brilliance of the director and the players.

It is difficult to say, "I love this movie", just as it is hard to say, I love Silence of the Lambs, because love is a peculiar word to use for such fare.
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Format: DVD
Heads up, everyone! Despite the fact that Nancy Allen is listed here by amazon.com as starring in this film, she most definitely does not. The film being advertised here as due to be released on DVD in August 2005 in the U.S. is a Korean film originally released overseas in 2003 under the title "Salinui Chueok," its title in English being "Memories of Murder." It's an amazing, unique, intense, sometimes hilarious, always fiercely intelligent murder mystery from the powerful young Korean director Joon-ho Bong and features a 100% Korean cast speaking Korean (with English subtitles). Nancy Allen only wishes she'd been in this movie!

A few hours ago I was in the grip of insomnia and was playing around with Comcast On Demand to see if there was anything worth seeing that I hadn't seen already when I noticed a section under Free Movies called "Palm Pictures," a section I hadn't explored before. I clicked on "Palm Pictures," then on "Palm Festival," saw "Memories of Murder" listed, read the brief synopsis, and figured, what the heck, there's no better time to watch a Korean film than 2 a.m., so I went for it, figuring it wouldn't be a tragedy if I wound up dozing off ...

Not a chance! I was wide-eyed with my mouth open from beginning to end. Never even made it to the fridge. Forgot all about eating, drinking, or even breathing at times, and sleep was definitely not an option. Once the end credits rolled, I was hurtling toward my computer with one question in my mind: "Who is this astounding dude Joon-ho Bong, and where oh where can I buy a DVD of this movie?"

Well ...
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Format: DVD
This is a movie everyone should see. Funny, engaging, violent, heartrending were thoughts that came to me after seeing Memories of Murder. These are not usually the diversity of emotions I've seen in most movies, and even rarer in crime dramas, but they reflect an extremely well-done movie by Joon-Ho Bong.

At times, it's early pacing can feel slow, much slower than an average crime drama. Bong allows us into the world by taking a decent amount of time to familiarize us with the environment: a boring, quiet country beauty that he paints for us long, deliberate shots presented very early in the movie. The soundtrack, a quiet but moving score, adds to an environment and a feel that is very real, very universal. But as soon as the action starts picking up, the movie ramps into a full-on thriller, as it becomes a race against time and feels very much like some of the best crime drama/thrillers I've seen. At the same time, there is something intangible, something very (for lack of better words) sad and melancholic that permeates through many parts of the movie. Dilapidated factories, protesters, corruption, periods of senseless violence suggest a deeper meaning within the movie, a desperation and hopelessness of that time in Korea.

But thankfully, Bong keeps this underlying part of the movie simple without becoming unnecessarily preachy. Although it is important to contextualize this film within a certain era of governmental corruption and crime in Korea, it certainly does not require an extensive knowledge of the turbulent time period in Korea. Personally, I did not find it's overall sentiments propagandizing or overwhelming, rather they were quietly presented.

I could go on about more specific parts of the plot, but it is a movie which I do not want to spoil. Simply put, it has all the elements of a great movie. Highly recommended!
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