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Mother is a devoted single parent to her simple-minded twenty-seven-year-old son, Do-joon. Often a source of anxiety to his mother, Do-joon behaves in foolish or simply dangerous ways. One night, while walking home drunk, he encounters a schoolgirl who he follows for a while before she disappears into a dark alley. The next morning, she is found dead in an abandoned building and Do-joon is accused of her murder. An inefficient lawyer and an apathetic police force result in a speedy conviction. His mother refuses to believe her beloved son is guilty and immediately undertakes her own investigation to find the girl's killer. In her obsessive quest to clear her son's name, Mother steps into a world of unimaginable chaos and shocking revelations.
Just as South Korean director Bong Joon-ho's previous film, The Host, subverted the traditions of the giant monster movie to examine the effects of a crisis on a unique family, his latest effort, Mother, embraces the tropes of the murder mystery for an unsettling and affecting story of parental love taken to its extreme. Popular South Korean television actress Kim Hye-ja gives a powerful performance as a downtrodden acupuncturist whose mentally challenged son (Korean A-lister Won Bin) is accused of murdering a local schoolgirl. Bullied into a confession by the local police (led by Yoon Je-moon of The Host), the young man faces incarceration at a mental hospital unless his mother can discover the killer's true identity. Her inquiry leads her into classic noir territory, with perceived truths blown apart at every turn; in typical Joon-ho fashion, these discoveries are marked by moments of shocking violence, dark slapstick humor, and moving familial drama, which come together in a genuinely unique perspective on the nature of truth and commitment. The official South Korean submission for Best Foreign Language Film at the 82nd Academy Awards, Mother is yet another entry on a growing list of exceptional motion pictures from one of the international scene's most intriguing filmmakers. --Paul GaitaSee all Editorial Reviews
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The movie was a little slow in the middle but quickly returned to a fast pace. It is about a son that has some mental issues and is suspected of a crime He is believed to be innocent but police do not think so though. His mother will try to protect him at all costs. There are several plot twists and turns in the movie.
She generally holds this movie together, even with the contrived storyline, which is easy to pick early on in the movie. Well shot, and enjoyable.
The tone is what I like about Bong's movies. From the moment the titular Mother walks out of a field and does an improptu dance over the credits you should be able to discern this fact. Unlike the previous Bong movies this is a more measured and quiet film compared to the others as well following the mother along her investigations as to whether her mentally dim son actually killed a school girl who herself might have had incriminating photos on a phone that got her killed. Along the way she gets one of her sons thugish friends (who she initially thinks could be the killer) to interrogate two boys, and fights with her son when He remembers that she tried to kill him when He was five. Where the story goes is a revelation of the mothers crumbling psyche and regret she has over past issues.
Apparently Bong wrote the film after knowing Kim Hye-ja for several years and she definitely performs the her part well as a sad little woman who has outbursts that mirror her sons violent reactions. The whole cast is just excellent though mixed with a set of actors returning from Bong's previous films my favorites being Jin Gu as Jin Tae, the sons friend and Yoon Jae-Moon as the weary detective investigating the movie.
In the end everything works because of Bong's direction and writing from the humor to the horror. The pacing of the movie is perfect creating one of the rare thrillers that doesnt feel the need to mistake noise for thrills, and ends not on an action sequence but a sequence of regret played on someones face, kind of like Memories of Murder.
If you haven't seen this movie, do so soon. It as all of Bongs movies are well worth your time.
For fans of the movie the Blu-Ray is thankfully well produced. There have been stirrings online about image issues between the original Korean Blu vs. Magnolia's in the area of contrast boosting but aside from some aliasing I didn't really see any problem with it. Soundwise the disc definitely gets excellent marks from me. Extras are also extensive with numerous featurettes ported from the Korean disc and subtitled like a making of, one of Kim Hye-ja, extras casting, the cinematographer and music composer. For fans of the movie this is the disc to buy, supplemented by an excellent set of features.